Over the last four years, the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers have run roughshod over the rest of the league. How do these clubs compare in 2019?
Since 2015, both the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers have won 90+ games annually. Head-to-head, the Cubs and Dodgers are 15-up against each other. So far in 2019, Chicago has cranked 108 home runs, to LA’s 104.
The Dodgers have scored 355 runs to the Cubs 353. LA’s offense has a 114 wRC+, and the Cubs are at 108, ranking first and second in the National League, respectively.
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Joe Maddon’s club walks just a tiny bit more than LA, at 10.6 percent to 10.2. Chicago’s strikeout rate is 23.1, to the Dodgers’ 20.1, so Los Angeles puts the ball more regularly The Dodgers’ OPS is only 11 points higher than the Cubs, and both teams have equal BABIP marks.
In short, these teams are very evenly matched – something a casual fan may not surmise given their respective records. Chicago enters the series at 38-29 while Los Angeles sits at 45-23 with a 9 1/2 game lead in the National League West.
On the pitching side of things, both teams strike out about an equal amount of hitters, with the Dodgers at 8.86 K/9 and the Cubs at 8.69. However, the Cubs walk almost a batter more, which may not bode well this weekend against a patient lineup.
The Dodgers have a 3.37 team ERA, to the Cubs’ 3.87. Breaking this down even further, the Dodgers starting rotation is boasting a robust 2.81 ERA to the Cubs’ 3.62, both are top three numbers in the League.
Both teams’ bullpens have struggled, but the Chicago’s bullpen, believe it or not, has actually been a bit better. Cubs relievers carry a 4.24 earned run average into Thursday’s contest, while the Dodgers enter at 4.48. The two clubs are near-identical in FIP at 4.38 and 4.37. Cubs relievers strike out 9.1 per nine innings and Los Angeles relievers sit at 8.82 K/9.
Cody Bellinger and company though can put on a show offensively for the bullpen struggles to not matter. However, Los Angeles has lost Corey Seager yet again for an extended amount of time. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, there isn’t a Manny Machado to trade for this season.
The Dodgers have a weapon at the back end in Kenley Jansen, but the problem has been just getting it to him. Now that the Cubs added Craig Kimbrel to the mix, and don’t appear to be done adding, the bullpen just got a lot more formidable.
Earlier this season, the Cubs took two of three from the Dodgers at Wrigley Field and were only a run away from a sweep in the finale. This four-game weekend series should be another good one.
Fans from both cities want to see their teams return to the postseason. In 2016, the Cubs edged Los Angeles in the NLCS en route to a World Series title. Los Angeles returned the favor in 2017, winning four games to one, winning the first of two straight pennants. What will 2019 bring?