The Dodgers looked like they were going to be on the outside, looking in at the playoff picture in the National League until a recent surge put them within striking distance of the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. Los Angeles enters the week just 1.5-games back of the division lead with a 37-33 overall record. Meanwhile, Chicago comes into the series in second place in the NL Central, despite being 12 games over the .500-mark. The Cubs trail the Milwaukee Brewers by a half-game entering play on Monday.
Hill returns to the mound for Dodgers
The Dodgers are scheduled to hand the ball to veteran left-hander Rich Hill, who will be activated from the disabled list to make his first trip to the mound since May 19. A blister caused Hill to leave his last start against the Washington Nationals after only two pitches. He comes into the season with a 1-2 overall record to go along with a 6.20 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in six starts this season. Prior to his injury, Hill had allowed at least three runs in four consecutive starts, excluding his two-pitch outing against the Nationals.
Despite being a member of the Dodgers rotation, Hill has not seen the Cubs since his resurgence in 2015. According to Baseball Savant, the current Cubs’ roster is batting just .156 in 35 plate appearances against Hill. The Cubs own a paltry expected weighted on-base percentage of .222 and an expected slugging percentage of .295
Montgomery making case to stick in starting rotation
The Cubs are slated to counter by sending right-handed reliever-turned-starter Mike Montgomery to the hill at Wrigley Field on Tuesday evening. It is going to be difficult for manager Joe Maddon to take Montgomery out of the starting rotation. He has given up just three earned runs over 23 ⅔ innings of work for a 1.14 ERA while subbing for Yu Darvish in the starting rotation. All four of Montgomery’s outings as a starter were gems. He started things off by throwing 5 ⅔ shutout innings of two-hit baseball, and followed things up with three consecutive quality starts, tossing six innings of one-run ball in each of those outings.
Montgomery made two relief appearances against the Dodgers in 2017, tossing 3 ⅓ innings of one-run ball for a 2.45 ERA. Between 2015 and 2017, Montgomery sported a 4.15 ERA in three appearances (one start) against the Dodgers.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Dodgers’ lineup is batting .292 against Montgomery, who owns a 7.52 FIP against L.A.
- Dodgers are 1-4 in Hills last 5 starts.
- Cubs are 38-14 in their last 52 home games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Cubs are 8-3 in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
It is tough to go against Montgomery and the Cubs in this spot. Hill is making his first start since May 19 and he had surrendered three earned runs or more in four of the five starts he made prior to getting hurt against the Nationals. Montgomery, meanwhile, has allowed no more than one run in any of his four starts this year. Hill has good career numbers against the current Cubs’ lineup been hasn’t faced them since his resurgence in 2015. Look for Chicago to come out on top at Wrigley Field in this National League showdown on Tuesday night.
Pick: Chicago Cubs
With how well Montgomery has been pitching and Hill’s numbers against the current Cubs’ lineup, you have to like the under here. The under is 14-3 in the last 17 meetings between these two teams at Wrigley Field. The Cubs’ are batting just .224 over the past week and the Dodgers are batting just .235 during that span, so look for this game to go under the projected total in Chicago on Tuesday.
- Under is 5-1-1 in Dodgers last 7 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Under is 19-6-1 in Dodgers last 26 games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Under is 6-2 in Cubs last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Under is 7-3 in Cubs last 10 overall.