These were the top two teams going into the season by projections, but since then their paths have diverged. We all know about how great the Cubs have been both at the plate and on the mound, but I at least didn't really haev a clue what has been happening with the Dodgers aside from remembering injury problems in the spring. Their offense has gotten off to a slow start, ranking eleventh in wOBA and tenth in wRC+. Their walk rate is okay, they're just not getting enough hits, and even when they do the power hasn't been there. The only particular anchors in the lineup are Carl Crawford and Howie Kendrick, though at least their PAs have been relatively limited. As a whole, their defense looks just fine (+18 runs, fifth in the NL). So what happened with their pitchers? My first guess was that Clayton Kershaw's numbers were dragging the staff as a whole up to look better than they are, but that's not the case. Of their five main SPs, only Scott Kazmir has a FIP north of 4.00. The main thing that jumps out to me is that Alex Wood and Ross Stripling have ERAs that are far higher than their FIPs. The bullpen looks fine for the most part, though back-end guys Pedro Baez and Chris Hatcher have been hit pretty hard. Sounds like it's probably just a sequencing thing. The Dodgers are only 4.5 games back on the Giants, but either way the odds are pretty good that the Pirates are going to have to face one of Madison Bumgarner or Clayton Kershaw in the WCG, to the woe of Gatorade coolers throughout Pittsburgh.
- OBP: Chase Utley (.381)
- ISO: Trayce Thompson (.255)
- HR: Corey Seager/Pederson (8)
- R+RBI: Seager (55)
- wRC+: Thompson (135)
- BSR: Thompson (1.9)
- SP K/9: Kershaw (10.9)
- SP BB/9: Kershaw (0.52)
- SP FIP: Kershaw (1.49)
- RP K/9: Baez (10.72)
- RP BB/9: Kenley Janson (0.45)
- RP FIP: Jansen (1.81)
- WAR: Kershaw (4.1)
I would have loved to see this offense get a crack at Kershaw.
- OBP: Ben Zobrist (.451)
- ISO: Anthony Rizzo (.254)
- HR: Bryzzo (11)
- R+RBI: Kris Bryant (74)
- wRC+: Zobrist (168)
- BSR: Javier Baez (1.9)
- SP K/9: Jake Arrieta (8.87)
- SP BB/9: Kyle Hendricks (1.95)
- SP FIP: Jake Arrieta (2.71)
- RP K/9: Hector Rondon (14.33)
- RP BB/9: Rondon (1.10)
- RP FIP: Rondon (1.09)
- WAR: Fowler (3.2)
Fowler is out of the lineup today, according to Maddon he has a sore heel.
K/9, BB/9, ERA, FIP, Projected ERA listed for each pitcher
Monday: Alex Wood, LHP (9.64, 2.81, 4.03, 3.34, 3.23) vs Jason Hammel, RHP (7.83, 3.50, 2.17, 3.37, 3.87), 4:05 PM CT
Wood has been solid across the board this season, the only peripheral that deviates is his 65.0% strand rate, which is probably the biggest reason for that FIP-ERA split. He was scratched from his start on Friday with triceps tightness, which is always something scary to hear about a SP. He also battled through some forearm tightness in the spring. There are no other recent warning signs to necessarily point to though, as he struck out 13 in his start previous to the scratched one.
Tuesday: Scott Kazmir, LHP (9.36, 3.43, 4.84, 5.14, 3,78) vs Jay Carrieta, Destroyer of Worlds (8.87, 2.78, 1.72, 2.73, 2.60), 7:05 PM CT
Kazmir signed with the Dodgers for 3/48 in the offseason, but so far it's not looking so great. He's striking out batters at a better rate than his career norms, but he's also giving up eleveny billion HRs. Even if you adjust his HR/FB rate down his numbers still are pretty meh, as his walk rate has also spiked. Two lefties in a row could be a good boost for Soler's recent hot streak at the plate.
Bolsinger was supposed to be in the rotation going into the season, but suffered an oblique strain in spring training that kept him out for the first month and a half of the season. He got called up in mid-may and was tagged for three runs in a short outing against the Angels, was sent back to AAA, then got called up again for a better start against the hapless Reds. He throws a *ton* of curveballs, which will proably put Soler and Baez on the bench.
Thursday: Kenta Maeda, RHP (8.05, 2.68, 3.00, 3.51, 3.33) vs Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7.32, 1.95, 2.93, 2.77, 3.52), 1:20 PM CT
Maeda's had a solid season overall, but there's been small-sample size driven chatter that he can't pitch well on four day's rest, apparently different than that they do in Japan. He's not a guy who goes super deep into games, so hopefully the Cubs can grind up his pitch count early. He was hit in the hand by a comebacker in his last start, but nothing was broken and he seems to feel fine.