The Chicago Cubs raised their 2016 World Series Championship banner at Wrigley Field prior to their home opener on Monday night, and proceeded to defeat the same Los Angeles Dodgers they eliminated in 2016 National League Championship Series.
While the Dodgers were unable to spoil the night for last year’s postseason nemesis, they get another opportunity after an off day. Cubs players and personnel will receive their 2016 World Series rings during a pregame ceremony. Unlike Monday, a delay due to inclement weather is not expected.
Brandon McCarthy, who faced question marks heading into the 2017 season, got off to a good start by earning a victory over the San Diego Padres in his first outing. The 33-year-old turned in a quality start by going six innings, allowing just two hits on four runs, while walking one and striking out two.
In three career games (two starts) against the Cubs, McCarthy has a 2.19 ERA in 12.1 innings of work. The only current Cubs player to face McCarthy more than three times in Ben Zobrist, who is 3-for-9. Jason Heyward has had some success against McCarthy, going 2-for-3 with a home run.
John Lackey also enters 1-0, as he tossed six innings, permitted six hits and four runs (three earned), while striking out seven and walking two last week against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 15-year veteran has worn out the Dodgers throughout his career, as in 12 games (11 starts) against them he is 6-3 with a 1.75 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. In Game 4 of the 2016 NLCS, Lackey allowed two runs on three hits in four innings pitched.
Adrian Gonzalez has faced Lackey the most, although he is just 1-for-6 against the right-hander. While his slugging numbers are down, Gonzalez has gotten off to a solid start to the season, going 7-for-23 (.304 batting average). He has also walked six times.
Yasiel Puig leads the Dodgers with three home runs, and is batting .259/.394/.667, all the while starting in each of the team’s eight games this season. Los Angeles may be without the services of Franklin Gutierrez, who was removed in the second inning on Monday due to a left-hamstring issue.
Justin Turner also exited early, though in the eighth inning, and because of quadriceps tightness. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did not believe Turner’s ailment was serious.
LF: Kyle Schwarber
3B: Kris Bryant
1B: Anthony Rizzo
2B: Ben Zobrist
SS: Addison Russell
RF: Jason Heyward
C: Willson Contreras
P: John Lackey
CF: Jon Jay