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Lester, Kershaw Get The Ball In Series Opener Between Cubs, Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best home record in the majors this season at 25-7 and they are a -178 favorite over the visiting Chicago Cubs, who are coming back at +153. A pitchers’ duel is in the making with Jon Lester opposing Clayton Kershaw on the hill and the total opening at 8 runs.

Cubs vs Dodgers Game Center

Standout Stats

  • Chicago is 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS over its last 10 contests. The Cubs are just 14-18 on the road this season.
  • Los Angeles is 6-7 SU and ATS through its last 13 matches and is just 2-4 SU and ATS in its last six. The Dodgers have the best home record in the majors at 25-7.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 10 of the Dodgers’ last 12 games with an average combined score of 6.08. Similarly, the total has gone UNDER in nine of the Cubs’ last 14 with an average combined score of 8.36. However, the total went OVER in two of the first three meetings between these teams this season.
  • The Cubs are 7-5 over Jon Lester’s 12 trips to the mound and he is 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and six quality starts.
  • He has the second-highest HR/9 rate of his career while having the lowest BB/9 rate since 2015.
  • Opponents are hitting .263 against Lester, which is the highest batting average against him since 2012. Of the contact against, 15 percent is soft-hit (the lowest since his rookie season) and a career-high 40 percent is hard-hit. The Dodgers rank sixth in hard-hit percentage vs LHP over the last 30 days.
  • Lester has a 4.97 ERA and .257 opponent batting average over his five road starts this year. He has higher BB/9 and HR/9 rates and a lower K/9 rate in those away appearances. He also has higher hard-hit and soft-hit percentages.
  • He tossed five innings of one-run ball at home against the Dodgers in a 2-1 loss on April 25.
  • The Dodgers are 9-1 behind Clayton Kershaw this year and he is 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He has nine quality starts.
  • He has the lowest K/9 rate of his career and has 1.36 BB/9 and 1.09 HR/9 rates this year.
  • Opponents are hitting .238 against Kershaw and 22.2 percent of the contact is soft-hit while 39.2 percent is hard-hit. The Cubs rank seventh in hard-hit percentage vs LHP over the last 30 days.
  • Kershaw has a 2.88 ERA and a .257 opponent batting average over his six home starts this year. He has lower K/9 and BB/9 rates while having a slightly higher HR/9 rate at home. Additionally, he has higher soft-hit and hard-hit percentages.
  • Los Angeles’ bullpen has thrown the second-fewest innings over the last two weeks and has the third-lowest ERA at 2.48. Meanwhile, Chicago’s bullpen has hurled the third-fewest innings but has the fourth-highest ERA at 6.39 over the last 14 days.
  • The Cubs are 7-4 against left-handed starters this season, ranking 21st in batting average and 22nd in runs scored. Over the last 30 days, Chicago sits 16th in batting average and 19th in runs scored vs southpaws.
  • The Dodgers are 13-9 against left-handed starters in 2019, sitting 15th in batting average and fourth in runs scored. Los Angeles also ranks 17th in batting average and 18th in runs scored vs LHP over the last 30 days.

My Best Bet for Chicago vs Los Angeles

Dodgers -1.5

A Los Angeles home start with Clayton Kershaw on the hill is almost an automatic runline play. Nine of Kershaw’s 10 trips to the mound this year have been quality starts and the Dodgers have an MLB-best 25-7 home record. Meanwhile, Lester has an elevated road ERA and a career high in hard-hit percentage against, which doesn’t bode well against a team that ranks sixth in hard-hit percentage vs LHP over the last 30 days. Lastly, the Cubs have the fourth-highest bullpen ERA over the last two weeks.

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