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Preview of Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers

 

 

Chicago Cubs hats & merchandise With the departures of Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm and the injury of Matt Garza, starter Jeff Samardzija suddenly becomes the ace of the Chicago Cubs.

And it’s true, as the records show, that he is recently the most consistent guy in the Cubs rotation.

He will show his ability as ace tonight at Dodgers Stadium; that is how Chicago (43-60) kicks off its six-game road trip in the West Coast.

Of course, nothing will get easier for the Cubs for the rest of the season when four of their key regulars were traded out of Chicago. They reach a mark of losing 60 games Wednesday and leveled their recent homestand at 3-3 triumphing against the St. Louis Cardinals but being defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Samardzija (7-8, 4.19) got his last victory on July 23 at Pittsburgh, sandwiched by two no-decisions. His ERA was low at 1.42 in those three starts. Never faced the Dodgers as a starter, he only made two-game relief appearances of 3.1 innings including a victory in 2011. A win tonight will tie his personal best in number of wins as he won a career-high eight games in 2011.

The Cubs relievers having eaten up 12.1 innings in the last three games, a day rest should help to their recovery from fatigue yesterday. Shawn Camp gave up five runs on seven hits retiring no one Tuesday. Left-hander Jeff Beliveau conceded two runs in 0.1 innings Monday before hurling another 1.2 innings Wednesday.

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A win for the Cubs tonight can snap their consecutive loss of two games. They got the best out of the Los Angeles Dodgers (56-50) in Wrigley Field earlier this season winning two in a three-game set. David DeJesus drew a bases-loaded walk off reliever Jamey Wright to score the winning run in 11 innings on May 6 to take the rubber game.

Chad Billingsley, the other losing pitcher of the Dodgers in that series, will make his start tonight. On May 4, he (6-9, 3.89) handed the Cubs four runs on eight hits in six innings including a two-out solo home run to Joe Mather.

Surprisingly, the veteran’s home record cannot match with his on the road. The right-hander is still seeking only his second win at home, posting a record of 1-4 (4.32 ERA) in 50 innings at Dodgers Stadium. In his last start, he blanked the Giants in 7.1 innings to give the Dodgers 10-0 win in AT&T Park.

The Dodgers, being in a tight race with the Giants for the first place in the National League West, were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game set at home and are half-a-game behind the Giants in the Division.

In spite of having acquired third baseman Hanley Ramirez and left-fielder Shane Victorino before the trade deadline for boosting their offense, the Dodgers were handcuffed by the Diamondbacks’ pitching, scoring only four runs in the first two games before being blanked 4-0 on Wednesday when their lineup totaled a minimal of two hits including one from their starting pitcher, Stephen Fife.

 

 

By: Patrick Au Yeung
MLBCenter.com Chicago Cubs Correspondent
Twitter - @Cubs_sportsdesk

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