The Dodgers look for their fourth consecutive win over the Cubs as the teams continue a four-game series on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.
Los Angeles (73-65) has won seven of its last nine overall to pull within three games of San Diego and Arizona, which are separated by one percentage point atop the NL West. The Dodgers have outscored the Cubs 17-5 and totaled 27 hits in the first two games of this series while posting a 2.00 ERA.
“It’s the good time to get hot. We’re starting to do things the right way,” said Dodgers manager Grady Little, whose team turned five double plays.
The Dodgers have won four of five meetings with the Cubs (70-67) in 2007, including three straight. Chicago is trying to hold onto its NL Central lead, which has dwindled to just one-half game over Milwaukee and one game over St. Louis, both of whom won Tuesday.
The Cubs are averaging 3.3 runs in their last 12 games, losing seven of them.
“We need to start scoring more runs,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “It’s hard to win against the teams we’re playing when we’re putting two or three runs on the board or less.”
Ted Lilly (13-7, 3.89 ERA) goes for his first win in nearly a month for Chicago. The left-hander went 9-1 with a 3.04 ERA in 11 starts from June 15-Aug. 9, but is just 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA in his last four.
He allowed three runs and five hits over five innings on Thursday, but didn’t factor into the 5-4 win over Milwaukee. Lilly, who threw 38 of his 107 pitches in the first inning, walked four, struck out six and allowed a homer for the seventh straight game.
Lilly is 1-0 with a 6.57 ERA in three career games versus the Dodgers, including a no-decision on May 25, when he allowed five runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 9-8 Chicago loss.
The Dodgers recalled Eric Stults (1-2, 4.23) from Triple-A Las Vegas to start this contest in place of David Wells, who is serving a seven-game suspension for arguing with an umpire. Stults has made seven appearances and three starts for Los Angeles this season, including a 4-3 defeat to the New York Mets on Aug. 25.
The left-hander allowed three runs and five hits over 4 2-3 innings while walking five and striking out four. He needed 98 pitches to get through his shortest start of the season.
Stults has never faced the Cubs.
Los Angeles activated Nomar Garciaparra from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday after he had been sidelined since Aug. 14 with a strained left calf. The six-time All-Star, who spent parts of two seasons with the Cubs in 2004 and 2005, was able to jog without pain Tuesday, but said he still has to be careful running the bases.