|Dodgers, Cubs square off in NLCS rematch|
CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have been hitting home runs and scoring runs at enough of a prodigious clip this month that it is rare to see their bats go quiet.
The Dodgers will enter this week's three-game series against the Chicago Cubs having won seven of their past 10 games. Before they managed just one run in a loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, the Dodgers had averaged 7.15 runs per game and had hit a major-league best 34 home runs in the first 13 games of June.
Although the Dodgers were unable to finish off a series sweep of the Giants in the first game in their past 13 without at least one homer, manager Dave Roberts doesn't believe that his team has become too homer-happy.
Instead, the Dodgers managed just four hits on Sunday and scored their lone run on an error and they will be looking to rebound Monday at Wrigley Field in the opener of a three-game series with the Cubs in a rematch of last year's National League Championship Series.
"I don't think we were over-swinging," Roberts told reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I don't think we're sitting back and just trying to slug. We're trying to take good swings, and today the balls didn't go out of the ballpark."
Sunday's loss snapped a five-game winning streak but didn't in any way diminish the Dodgers' confidence as they prepare to face the Cubs for the first time since clinching the pennant last fall.
Kenta Maeda will start Monday's series opener. He is coming off a no-decision in his first start since returning from a hip injury.
Maeda (4-4, 3.61 ERA) had been pitching extremely well before the hip injury on May 29. He had thrown 14 2/3 scoreless innings with 20 strikeouts in his two previous starts before the injury.
Maeda threw 76 pitches in his return on June 13 against the Texas Rangers when he allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. He will make his first career start against the Cubs on Monday.
Like the Dodgers, the Cubs were unable to finish off a series sweep of the rival St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night. After scoring 19 runs in the first two games of the series, the Cubs were shut down in a 5-0 loss. But the Cubs have won six of their past 10 games and remain 12 games above .500.
The Cubs will have to wait to know the availability of infielder Javier Baez, who left Sunday's game with a left elbow contusion after being hit by a pitch. According to the Cubs' official website, Baez will undergo an X-Ray to confirm there is no further damage.
Baez started Sunday's game at shortstop in place of Addison Russell.
"(The pitch) got him right in the elbow," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in an in-game interview with ESPN. "Your hand, it does feel numb at that particular time. He just could not get the feel back. I don't think it's anything serious, but for right now it's going to hurt all night and maybe into tomorrow."
Tyler Chatwood (3-5. 4.12) will attempt to get on track Monday against the Dodgers. He is seeking his first win since May 11. In his last outing, he allowed four runs in five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chatwood has struggled with walks all season and has at least four in four of his past five outings. He is 5-9 with a 4.07 ERA in 15 career starts against the Dodgers.