Now that the trade deadline madness is over, we can concentrate on Baseball again. For now at least. The Dodgers will look to extend their winning streak to a season high seven games on Friday evening as they play the Chicago Cubs in the opening game of a three game series. The Dodgers are coming off a sweep of the Braves and should be in high spirits as their eight game home stand trudges on.
The Dodgers have not seen the Cubs this season, and will not go to Wrigley Field until September. The Cubs are in their usual last place position in the NL Central and have basically traded everyone away. I don’t think I could name one Cub right now save Starlin Castro.
Dodgers LineupGordon 2B Puig CF Gonzalez 1B Hanley SS Crawford LF Kemp RF Turner 3B Ellis C Haren P
And the Cubs just traded reliever James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio to the Braves for a catching prospect during the July 31 trade deadline. The Cubs are still the Cubs. The Dodgers should win these three games.
So the Cubs will have rookie right hander Kyle Hendricks take the mound for the first game. The 24-year old Mission Viejo native will be pitching in front of his family and friends. Hendricks was originally drafted by the Rangers and was traded to the Cubs in the Ryan Dempster deal.
Hendricks has made just three starts this year and is 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched. He’s whiffed 14 and walked 6. According to the scouting reports, Hendricks has a good fastball that can touch 95. He also has a plus changeup, and throws an average slider and curve. Supposedly he has good command of his pitches.
The Dodgers will counter with Dan Haren. The veteran right hander hasn’t pitched since July 23 when he allowed five runs on four hits and walked three against the Pirates at PNC Park. The Dodgers skipped his turn in the rotation by using their off-days. They did that because Haren has been struggling. Haren has been horrendous in the month of July, posting an ERA of 9.47, and opposing hitters are batting .329 against him. Please tell me Haren can beat the Cubs. I mean it’s the Cubs for crying out loud. Just humor me here.
Although Haren hasn’t won since June 30th, and has lost his last four decisions. Overall this season he is 8-7 with a 4.49 ERA in 21 starts. He’s whiffed 92 and walked just 26. But he’s given up 134 hits and 21 home runs in 122.1 innings pitched.
Against the Cubs he is 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts. However he’s held the current Cubs to a .175 (10 for 57) average against with an OPS of .400. This should be a good test for Haren. He should be able to beat the lowly Cubs right? Right?! Because if Haren can’t beat the crappy Cubs, then his issues are far deeper than any of us could have imagined.
Can Haren turn it around? How will Hendricks do pitching in front of his home town friends? Can the Dodgers keep the good times rolling? Stick around here to find out. We’ll have the recap for you after the game.
Game Time – 7:10 PM