Dodgers-Cubs Preview


With a victory at Wrigley Field 58 years ago, the Dodgers recorded their most recent 11-game road winning streak. Back in Chicago, Los Angeles is in position to again reach that mark Thursday night against the Cubs. Though Los Angeles (57-49) lost 3-0 to the New York Yankees at home Wednesday, it's won 27 of 34 and owns a 2 1/2-game in the NL West. The Dodgers have won 15 of 17 during that stretch away from home, and averaged 7.0 runs while hitting .317 with 14 homers during a 10-game road winning streak that's highlighted their impressive turnaround "Patience is one of the toughest traits you've got to have, because you play every day, and you evaluate every day, and every day seems like the end of world when you're going bad," general manager Ned Colletti told the Dodgers' official website. "We needed to get healthy, we needed to get our team here and see how they play." The club was based in Brooklyn when it last won 11 straight road games from April 14-May 10, 1955. The Dodgers' final victory of that run came 3-0 Wrigley. Though Los Angeles has won one of its last five series on Chicago's North Side, scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco (6-9, 3.72 ERA) is 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in eight starts against a Cubs franchise that selected him in the fourth round of the 2001 draft. He allowed three runs in seven innings of a 6-4 win over Chicago for Miami on April 28. One of three veteran pitchers the Dodgers acquired this month, the right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA in four starts with the club. Nolasco gave up two hits but walked four in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-3, 10-inning win at Toronto last Wednesday. He'll face a Cubs team that avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of Milwaukee with a 6-1 win Wednesday. Despite trading Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano, Chicago finished July 14-13 to record its first winning month since going 15-10 last July. "The good thing is I feel like we were incredibly productive this month," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "Made a lot of deals, I feel like we got a lot better as an organization this month.'' Anthony Rizzo, who hit a two-run homer Wednesday, is 7 for 17 in five games after going 0 for 12 in the previous three. He went 1 for 2 with a double against Nolasco in April. Teammate David DeJesus went 7 for 16 with six RBIs in the series. Starlin Castro, who also homered Wednesday, is 6 for 15 against Nolasco. Chicago rookie Chris Rusin (1-0, 2.93) looks to build on the best of his 10 major league starts when he takes the mound in the opener. The left-hander allowed three hits in seven innings while not factoring in the decision of a 1-0 win at San Francisco on Saturday. "Each outing I feel more comfortable," Rusin told the Cubs' official website after his third start this year. "I'm not as nervous as I was." He won't need to worry about facing injured Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp, who could remain out until September with an ankle injury that's sidelined him since July 21. Teammate Hanley Ramirez is batting .433 with seven homers and 19 RBIs while hitting safely in 20 of his last 21 road contests. Ramirez went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Wednesday after reaching base safely in 37 straight games.