The Los Angeles Dodgers rebounded nicely in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Behind a quality start from Julio Urias and timely hitting. Kenley Jansen was given an opportunity to avenge his blown save, and did just that while pitching angry.
Entering Sunday the Dodgers hold a two-game lead in the National League West, while the Cubs maintain a 14-game lead in the NL Central. The rubber match is a national telecast on TBS and will not be blacked out in the Los Angeles market.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and his staff reshuffled the starting rotation heading into the series, and call on another rookie to face the team with the best record in the Majors. For Brock Stewart, it marks his first career start at Dodger Stadium.
He did pitch there in relief on Aug. 14 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, throwing three innings, allowing one run and walking four.
In three games (two starts) with the Dodgers this season, Stewart is 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA, 8.65 FIP and 2.25 WHIP. He’s allowed five home runs and has 10 strikeouts over 12 innings pitched.
Stewart began the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga and made stops at every level prior to making his Major League debut on June 29. The right-hander is a combined 9-3 with a 1.68 ERA in the Minors.
There were calls for Jose De Leon to make his MLB debut on Sunday as he’s scheduled to start for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but Roberts cited the reasoning behind going with Stewart is he gives the club “the best chance to win.”
Chicago counters the rookie starter with a veteran in Jon Lester. He turned in a quality start at Petco Park in his previous outing, allowing one run on five hits over six innings. Lester finished with eight strikeouts to two walks.
He doesn’t need to look far back for success against the Dodgers, as he pitched a complete game in the series victory on June 1 at Wrigley Field. Lester allowed just one run on four hits in the outing.
He’s 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA at Dodger Stadium, making starts there in 2013 and 2015. His lost came last season, when the Dodgers pushed across five runs on eight hits against Lester in six innings.
Overall in his career against the Dodgers, he’s 2-2 with a 3.76 and 1.03 WHIP in four starts. On the season Lester is 14-4, with a 2.81 ERA, 3.67 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP.
Lester’s batterymate in the rubber match is of course none other than David Ross. Ross, a seventh-round selection in the 1998 draft by the Dodgers, has already announced he’ll retire at the conclusion of the season.
Alongside Cubs manager Joe Maddon, Ross stopped by Vin Scully’s booth prior to the series and provided Scully with a few cherished gifts from Wrigley Field.
Kiké Hernandez, who is 3-for-10 with a home run against Lester, gets the start in center field in place of Joc Pederson. Charlie Culberson, who has two pinch-hit appearances this series, gives Chase Utley a day off at second base.
While Carlos Ruiz was acquired for his production against lefties but the backup catcher is 0-for-14 in his career against Lester. Yasmani Grandal, a switch-hitting catcher with more power coming on the left side, gets the start behind the plate.
LF: Howie Kendrick
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
CF: Kiké Hernandez
RF: Rob Segedin
C: Yasmani Grandal
2B: Charlie Culberson
P: Brock Stewart
CF: Dexter Fowler
LF: Kris Bryant
1B: Anthony Rizzo
2B: Ben Zobrist
SS: Addison Russell
LF: Jason Heyward
3B: Javier Baez
C: David Ross
P: Jon Lester