The Los Angeles Dodgers broke out their big bats for the series opener against the Chicago Cubs Thursday night, hitting four home runs — including two by Cody Bellinger — on the way to a 7-3 victory. Now the Cubs will try to bounce back from the loss and tie the four-game series on Friday night.
Chicago has had a difficult road trip so far, dropping two of three to Colorado before losing this series’ opener. That has dropped the Cubs to second place in the National League Central, one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers. Los Angeles had been struggling a bit as well coming into Thursday night’s game, having dropped four of their previous six outings. Despite that, the Dodgers still have a 9.5-game lead in the National League West over both Colorado and Arizona entering Friday night’s contest.
The moneyline for this contest has the Los Angeles Dodgers -135 and the Chicago Cubs +125. The over/under for the game is set at 8.
The Cubs have had their ups and downs this season, but when they turn to Kyle Hendricks to get the start, they usually have a pretty good chance of coming away with a victory. The right-hander is 7-4 on the season, having won his last six decisions. He has given up more than three earned runs in a game just once since the start of May, and in that contest, he still got the win. On the season, he has an ERA of 3.00 with 74 strikeouts and just 14 walks.
Chicago can hit some home runs as well, and they looked like they were going to post a big number on the scoreboard Thursday night when Kyle Schwarber hit the first pitch of the game for a home run. Schwarber is one of six Cubs players with at least 10 home runs, led by Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, who both have 17. Schwarber is next with 15, followed by Kris Bryant (14), Willson Contreras (13) and Jason Heyward (10). Chicago is also susceptible to the strikeout, with the Cubs averaging 9.01 per game as a team.
Hitting His Stride
Rich Hill will take the mound for the Dodgers in this one having won his last three decisions. Hill, who started the season on the injured list, is 3-1 in 2019, with a 2.40 ERA. He has thrown at least 90 pitches in each of his last four starts, including two with 100-plus pitches. Hill has struck out 52 and walked 12 in his 45 innings of work this season.
Bellinger has been the kingpin of the Dodgers’ lineup this season, leading the team with 22 home runs, 57 RBI, a .358 batting average, 86 hits and 53 runs scored. Max Muncy has picked it up a bit lately, hitting his 16th home run of the season in Thursday night’s game. Muncy also has 42 RBI and 42 runs scored this season, and he will be counted on to keep up the hot hitting after the team lost shortstop Corey Seager (.278, 38 RBI, 40 runs) to a hamstring injury earlier this week.
A Little Less Offense
Friday night’s game likely won’t have the fireworks that Thursday’s did as far as home runs. Hendricks and Hill are two reliable starters who can befuddle hitters and keep them off balance when they’re pitching well. The Cubs seem to show confidence when they have Hendricks on the mound, and that will show again in this one. Take Chicago +125 to even this series up Friday night.