Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs Series MLB Betting Preview
By Mike Rose
Off a near sweep of the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Chicago Cubs return home to the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field in search of a second straight series win. Up next on the docket will be the Los Angeles Dodgers outfit that took them out behind the woodshed and served up a good ‘ol fashioned beating when the teams last met in last year’s NLCS. LA has held the upper hand of the recent rivalry in winning eight of the last 10 meetings with all but two of those games combining for low scorers.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs
Dates: Monday, June 18 – Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Dave Roberts’ squad got out to a wretched start to their 2018 campaign, but since the calendar turned to the month of June, Los Angeles is playing like the team many envisioned at the outset of the season. In winning 11 of their 14 June games ( $655 ), the Dodgers enter this series to be held in Wrigleyville only 1.5 games in back of the front running Arizona Diamondbacks. That deficit was close to 10 only a short month ago!
Chicago had a shot to take over sole possession of the NL Central lead on Sunday night, but came up short in yet another shutout. Putting zero runs on the board is something Joe Maddon’s troops have done a bunch over the last week. Of their six played games against Milwaukee and St. Louis, they were shut out three times! That said, Anthony Rizzo and his mates combined for 26 runs in the other three.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Monday, June 18, 2018, 8:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Kenta Maeda vs. Tyler Chatwood
The book on Maeda has been easy to read this season. Back him in Chavez Ravine and fade him till the cows come home when toeing the visitor’s bump. Within Dodger Stadium, the righty checks in 2-3 with a 3.41 ERA. When on the road, his ERA jumps up to 3.86 and ground ball to fly ball ratio down to 1.62. Those numbers would be even worse if his last four road starts didn’t take place in Miami, San Diego, San Francisco and San Diego again. He owns a lifetime 4.44 ERA on the road and has never pitched at Wrigley Field in hot weather. Chicago’s sticks should eat Monday night.
Regardless of whether the Cubs offense gets going once again, they might need to hang a crooked number on the board just to come out on top with Chatwood on the bump. The righty has been a huge disappointment since being signed as a free agent this past offseason. He’s 3-5 against the MLB betting odds with a 4.12 ERA and .233 BAA. Not terrible. However, his numbers would be so much better if he could figure out a way not to issue free passes. Chatwood’s walked and struck out 58 batters through 63.1 innings – that’s an 8.2 BB/9 people! How the over has only cashed in seven of his 12 starts is beyond me.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 8:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Rich Hill vs. Mike Montgomery
Hill is set to come off the DL for this start, again. The veteran has been on and off the designated list all season. When healthy, he’s been nothing to write home about in going 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA and .303 BAA. In other words, he wasn’t missing bats evidenced by the 30 hits allowed through 24.2 innings. Though he registered better than a K per inning, he also issued 13 walks. The lefty last took to the starting bump back on May 19, and the last thing a rusty arm wants to see right out of the chute is an offense that leads the league in runs scored per game against southpaws ( 6.4 ).
Montgomery is making it known that he deserves a spot in the Cubs starting rotation. The spot starter/long man has been nothing short of a godsend for Maddon since Yu Darvish hit the DL. In his four starts made since, Montgomery has conceded a grand total of 13 hits and 3 ER with as K/BB ratio of 14:3 through 23.2 innings. He came one out away from throwing a quality start in each outing! He haw however had a rough go of it versus LA evidenced by his career 4.15 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 2:20 p.m. ET ( MLB Network )
Ross Stripling vs. Jon Lester
Like Montgomery for Chicago, Stripling has been the same type of saving grace for Los Angeles. The righty is 6-1 with a miniscule 1.76 ERA and opponents are only batting .224 against him. Since getting blown up in his first start after getting yanked from the pen due to Clayton Kershaw’s injury, Stripling has tallied quality starts in five of his eight made starts. He allowed two or less ER in each of them, and the Dodgers have come out on the right side of the scoreboard in each of his last six made starts.
Aces gonna ace! Lester has a down 2017 season. Some might say he was simply hungover and fatigued from the Cubs championship run the year prior. That’s not the case in 2018. The lefty has far and away been the best arm within Chicago’s rotation in going 8-2 with a 2.28 ERA and .207 BAA. Though 17-7 versus left-handers, Los Angeles has only plated an average of 4.0 runs per game against southpaws. He owns a 3.89 ERA and .220 BAA lifetime against the Dodgers, and the Cubs have won five of his six home starts. The finale of this series should play out to an excellent pitcher’s duel.