Van Slyke RF
M Ellis 2B
After splitting the series with the Yankees and seeing off Mariano Rivera on his farewell tour, the Dodgers now head to Chicago to play four games at the ivy covered Wrigley Field to begin the new month of August. The Dodgers had a spectacular July going 19-6, and they now take a 10-game road game winning streak into Thursday’s game against the Cubs. The Dodger offense was squelched by former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees bullpen which included a perfect ninth by Mariano Rivera. Clayton Kershaw pitched 7 scoreless frames, but Ronald Belisario and Paco Rodriguez couldn’t hold the scoreless game in the ninth. A bad call on a check swing by Lyle Overbay and a misplay by Mark Ellis who collided with Yasiel Puig ended up netting New York three runs in the top of the ninth. It was all for naught though since Rivera quickly and cleanly shut down the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth.
Now the Dodgers get to play the Cubbies who are in fourth place in the National League Central. The Dodgers hope to gain some ground on Arizona who are facing Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers tonight. Ricky Nolasco, who has had seven days of rest, will take the mound in game one for the Dodgers. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.13 since joining the Dodgers. Nolasco hasn’t won since his Dodger debut back on July 9th in Arizona, and last time out he wasn’t involved in the decision after allowing 2 runs on 2 hits and striking out 5 while walking 4 over 5 2/3 innings. In his career against the Cubs, Nolasco is 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA. At Wrigley Field, Nolasco is 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 4 games and 3 starts. He’ll have to watch out for former Dodger Dioner Navarro who is 7-for-13 against Nolasco with a homerun and a couple of doubles.
The Cubs will counter with lefty Chris Rusin. Last time out against San Francisco, Rusin pitched 7 scoreless frames while only allowing 3 hits and striking out 3 and walking 2 in the no decision. This will be Rusin’s fourth start of the season and his first career start against the Dodgers.
Last time the Dodgers were at Wrigley last season is when Matt Kemp suffered his first hamstring injury which eventually
snowballed into a laundry list of injuries thereafter. Kemp may not even return until September. His ankle sprain seems to be worse than first thought. Kemp has been on the disabled list three times this season.
The Dodgers haven’t lost a series since June 14-16 when they lost to the Bucs in Pittsburgh.
Hopefully the ivy doesn’t get in Yasiel Puig’s way!
The game will be broadcast at 5:05 p.m. on Prime Ticket. Go Blue!