Series: Game 2 of 4

LA Dodgers leads 2-0 (as of 9/19)

Game 1: Thursday, September 18
LA Dodgers8Final
Chi Cubs4
Game 2: Friday, September 19
LA Dodgers14Final
Chi Cubs5
Game 3: Saturday, September 20
LA Dodgers7Final
Chi Cubs8
Game 4: Sunday, September 21
LA Dodgers8Final
Chi Cubs5

Dodgers 14

(88-66, 48-31 away)

Cubs 5

(68-86, 38-38 home)

    2:20 PM ET, September 19, 2014

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    LAD 602006000 14 13 1
    CHC 300000002 5 11 1

    W: C. Kershaw (20-3)

    L: E. Jackson (6-15)

    Dodgers-Cubs Preview


    There's little doubt Clayton Kershaw will win his second straight and third overall Cy Young Award when the votes are tallied, and his influence on the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers' successful season could lead to him becoming the first NL pitcher in 46 years to be named MVP.

    He'll look to improve his already impressive credentials and win a sixth straight start when he takes the mound Friday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

    Kershaw (19-3, 1.70 ERA) is tied for the major league lead in victories and tops the list alone in ERA after giving up two runs in eight innings of Sunday's 4-2 win over San Francisco, which trails the Dodgers (87-66) by 2 1/2 games in the NL West.

    The imposing left-hander, who won his first Cy Young in 2011, also leads the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (10.63), opponents' batting average (.190) and WHIP (0.83). The last pitcher to lead baseball in all five categories was Detroit's Hal Newhouser in 1946.

    Kershaw's current ERA would rank as the 10th-best since 1920, and he can become the seventh pitcher in that span to have an ERA lower than 2.00 at least twice in his career after posting a 1.83 mark last season. The last pitcher to accomplish the feat in back-to-back seasons was Greg Maddux in 1994 and '95.

    However, the numbers aren't the only reasons manager Don Mattingly believes Kershaw has a chance to be the first pitcher to win the NL MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968.

    "He's on the hunt all the time," Mattingly said. "We call him the Big Train. He just keeps coming, on the attack. Everything's special with him. He doesn't want to let anybody get on or hit him."

    Kershaw has a 1.13 ERA during his five-start winning streak, and the Dodgers have won 18 of his 19 outings since June 2. He's 3-2 with a 1.60 ERA in five career starts against the Cubs, who will counter with Edwin Jackson as he makes his first appearance in a month.

    Jackson (6-14, 6.09) has been out with a strained right lat since giving up seven runs and eight hits in an 8-3 loss to San Francisco on Aug. 20, lasting 2 2/3 innings in his shortest start of the season.

    The right-hander has allowed at least five runs seven times, and his ERA is the worst in baseball among the 96 pitchers who have started at least 25 games. He began his career with the Dodgers and made 14 starts from 2003-05, leaving three seasons before Kershaw arrived.

    "It's always fun when you're going against a guy like Kershaw," Jackson told MLB's official website. "It makes the game interesting. You don't think that you're pitching against Kershaw, you're pitching against the Dodgers. You have eight other guys who can swing the bat."

    Jackson beat his former team 7-3 on Aug. 3, allowing two runs in six innings. He'll again look to contain a Los Angeles club that ended a two-game slide with Thursday's 8-4 win in the series opener.

    The Dodgers overcame a three-run deficit by scoring five times in the seventh. Yasiel Puig went 3 for 5 while Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe had two hits apiece.

    "At this point in the season, it doesn't matter what happens to you," Mattingly said. "If you walk away with a `W' you feel good about it."

    The Cubs (68-85) were coming off a three-game sweep of Cincinnati, during which the bullpen pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings. Chicago relievers gave up seven runs over the final three innings Thursday.

    First baseman Anthony Rizzo didn't start as he continues to battle a strained lower back, and it's unclear if he'll be in the lineup for this contest.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     Los AngelesChicago
    Current StreakW5W1
    Last 108-25-5

    Pitching Matchup

    Los AngelesChicago
    C. Kershaw
    21-3, 1.77 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/24 vs SF
    8.0 IP, 1 ER
    Dec = Win
    E. Jackson
    6-15, 6.33 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at MIL
    1.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.Los AngelesChicago
    1. D. Gordon, 2B A. Alcantara, CF
    2. Y. Puig, CF J. Baez, SS
    3. A. Gonzalez, 1B A. Rizzo, 1B
    4. M. Kemp, RF J. Soler, RF
    5. H. Ramirez, SS W. Castillo, C
    6. C. Crawford, LF M. Olt, 3B
    7. J. Uribe, 3B C. Valaika, 1B
    8. A. Ellis, C J. Lake, RF
    9. C. Kershaw, P E. Jackson, P

    Research Notes

    Clayton Kershaw has allowed a .091 average this season in at-bats to end in a two-strike breaking pitch; his 41.6 swing-and-miss percentage on two-strike breaking pitches ranks third best among qualified pitchers. The Chicago Cubs have a 35.5 percent swing-and-miss rate against breaking pitches this season, the second-highest mark in baseball.
    Clayton Kershaw is on pace to join Bob Gibson and Grover Alexander as the only pitchers in National League history to win 20 games with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP in a single season.

    ESPN Stats & Information