Streaking Cubs look to continue dominance of Dodgers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs made a strong showing on their first extended road trip of the season, taking two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers to start it off.

Looking for a fifth consecutive victory, the Cubs return home Thursday night. And once again they get things started against the struggling Dodgers.

Chicago lost three of its first four games this season but is 10-3 since. And following a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, the Cubs have won four consecutive series. That capped a 5-1 trip that started by holding the Dodgers to two runs in each of the three games.

After outscoring the A’s 26-3, the Cubs lead the NL in average runs (5.82), and rank among the major league leaders in team ERA (3.24).

“Great road trip for us, great series (in Oakland). We know we’ve got a big homestand back at Wrigley, so we’ll be ready to go,” veteran Eric Hosmer, who clubbed his first home run as a Cub during Wednesday’s 12-2 rout of the A’s, told Marquee Sports Network.

“We’re getting good work done. We’re having a good time doing it. We’re creating our own energy. It’s fun to be around.”

Chicago’s scheduled starter for Thursday, Jameson Taillon, was placed on the 15-day injured list hours before the game due to a groin strain. The Cubs recalled right-hander Javier Assad from Triple-A Iowa to make his first start of the season. Assad, who is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA in two relief appearances for the Cubs this season, will oppose the Dodgers for the first time of his career.

The Dodgers opened this season 5-2 but have dropped eight of 12 since and are 3-4 on the road in 2023.

“We have been inconsistent,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said.

“It’s not preparation, it’s not work. It’s not familiarity for me. I think that guys have a good rapport. So, I don’t know, I expect it to be more consistent.”

While the Dodgers’ bullpen has a collective 5.01 ERA, their starters have a solid 3.76 ERA, with opponents batting .233 against the rotation. Scheduled Thursday starter Michael Grove (0-1, 9.00) might be considered the exception after allowing 12 runs over 7 1/3 innings in his first two starts. However, the right-hander yielded only a Patrick Wisdom home run and a single while fanning and walking two over 5 2/3 innings versus Chicago on Saturday in his only prior meeting with the Cubs.

Wisdom went 4-for-13 and homered in each game at Los Angeles last week. He hit .333 with five homers and nine RBIs during the six-game trip. Meanwhile, ex-Dodger Cody Bellinger, who homered in Chicago’s 3-2 win on Sunday against his former club, is batting .378 with 11 runs scored and six RBIs in the last nine contests.

Los Angeles star Mookie Betts went 3-for-12 against the Cubs last weekend but missed the last two games while on paternity leave. Roberts said that when Betts returns, he could be at shortstop as the Dodgers are minus regular starter Miguel Rojas (hamstring) and versatile Chris Taylor (left side) is also dealing with an injury.

–Field Level Media

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