If you're worried because the Dodgers lost a ballgame -- one whole ballgame -- to the Yankees last night, don't be. If you've allowed the four-runs-in-three-contests-even-though-two-of-them-were-wins thing to give you pause -- menopause, womenopause, any kind of pause -- don't. Because it's absolutely meaningless.
Because it's baseball, is what it is. The Dodgers are going to hit the crap out of the ball at times, like they did in Washington and Toronto on the last road trip, and they're going to struggle to score runs at other times, like they did in their just-concluded homestand with Cincinnati and New York. They'll beat pitchers you might not expect them to and they'll lose to others they'd seem to match up favorably with. It's just baseball.
Los Angeles just completed a worst-to-first 19-6 July and have not lost a series since the middle of June, going 8-0-4 in series of two, three and four games since that time. Yes, they lost a tough one to the Bronx Bombers Wednesday, wasting a masterful eight-inning, zero earned run, no walks allowed performance by Clayton Kershaw in so doing. And sure, they blew some scoring opportunities. And yes, they bungled a couple of plays in the field. It happens, it's over and done with and they'll be fine.
The Cubs are up next, and I'm confident they'll provide whatever elixir is required, which isn't really all that much. The North Siders are a team in, shall we say, transition, having traded its best pitcher in Matt Garza, dealt a second starter in Scott Feldman and traded its primary power hitter in Alfonso Soriano for prospects in July.
They're 49-58 in fourth place, 16 games out in the National League Central, and play worse at home than they do on the road, having just lost three of four to an awful Brewers team at Wrigley Field.
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The Dodgers usually take advantage of Cubs pitching, scoring 12 times in losing two out of three in Chicago and 16 times in sweeping them at Dodger Stadium in 2012. They hit the ball all over and out of Wrigley with 27 runs in three 2011 games, and they're likely to accomplish something similar this time around as well. Do not worry about the last four games that are already in the books, especially since L.A. won three of them.
The matchups are as follows: Ricky Nolasco versus Chris Rusin tonight at 5:05 p.m., Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Travis Wood Friday at 1:05 p.m., Chris Capuano (or perhaps Stephen Fife) opposite Jeff Samardzija Saturday at 1:05 p.m., and Zack Greinke vs. Carlos Villanueva Sunday at 11:20 a.m.
While I often favor the "glove conquers all" sign off, I'm adapting it a bit for this weekend preview. Glove conquers most things; playing the Cubs conquers the rest.