LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping that a well-rested and inspired rookie pitcher will lead them to success in Sunday’s series finale against the San Francisco Giants.
Left-hander Caleb Ferguson will make his third career start
Before his major league debut on June 6, and his follow-up effort Tuesday, Ferguson had to scramble to catch a flight and then take the mound for the Dodgers. This time around, Ferguson has done all of his between-start routine with the major league club, and even got a bonus assignment this week.
Ferguson was able to get an up-close-and-personal look at Clayton Kershaw’s most recent rehab bullpen session. It was a multi-pronged effort to not only let Ferguson watch a pitcher he looks up to, but to get an in-depth view at one of the hardest workers in the game.
“Even for Caleb to sit in on Clayton’s pen (Friday) and to sit in on Rich (Hill’s on Saturday) and not have to fly in make a start then fly out and come back in, he will get to assimilate with our guys,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think there is a benefit to that.”
Ferguson (0-0, 9.53) lasted just 1 2/3 innings of his debut at Pittsburgh and then went four innings Tuesday against the Rangers. He has given up a combined six runs, but the Dodgers offense has scored a combined 21 runs in his two outings so at least he is getting elite run support.
Stratton (7-4, 4.56) has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last four starts, but he is facing a Dodgers lineup that has hit 34 home runs in June alone. The right-hander will have to face a trio of left-handed hitters in Max Muncy
He figures to be up for the challenge after guiding the Giants to a 10-4 record in his starts this season. In his outing Tuesday at Miami, Stratton was just the second Giants pitcher since May 6 to last at least seven innings, but he still took the loss in a 3-1 defeat. It was his sixth quality start of the season.
The Giants are currently 3-6 on a three-city road trip that ends Sunday. And while a return home is ahead, better health could be coming soon, although third baseman Evan Longoria figures to be out at least a month with a fractured left hand.
First baseman Brandon Belt was activated Saturday, while pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija could be back soon.
“Our biggest issue has been trying to stay healthy,” manager Bruce Bochy said, according to mlb.com.
Madison Bumgarner made his third start since coming off the disabled list Saturday and allowed three runs on five hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss. It marked the 11th straight time in Los Angeles the Giants scored two runs or less, according to STATS Inc.
Matt Kemp and Enrique Hernandez homered for the Dodgers — who will go for the series sweep on Sunday — while Alex Wood allowed a run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.A little rest did Kris Bryant a lot of good.
Bryant ended a 24-game homerless drought, the longest of his career, and Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber also went deep as the Chicago Cubs routed the St. Louis Cardinals 13-5 on Friday night.
”I know that there’s probably going to be plenty more times in my career when that happens and it’s all part of the journey,” Bryant said about his power outage. ”As much as we hate it as players, everybody goes through it at some point in their careers. It’s nothing new to me
Bryant drilled a 448-foot, two-run shot to left field off an ineffective Michael Wacha in the third inning for his first home run since May 14. The 2016 NL MVP capped a six-run fifth with an RBI single and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. His four RBIs were a season high.
Bryant had been hitless in his four previous games. Cubs manager Joe Maddon sat the All-Star slugger on Wednesday and Thursday.
”It looked like the ball was coming (off his bat) hotter,” Maddon said. ”I thought KB looked good. He looked good. I loved the base hit, I loved the sacrifice fly.”
Jon Lester ran his scoreless streak to 17 innings before giving up a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna in the fourth as the Cubs won for the first time in four tries at Busch Stadium this season. Lester (8-2) allowed two runs in six innings to earn his fourth straight win.
”That might be the best stuff he’s had all year from my angle,” Maddon said. ”That velocity was there. He just continues to trend in the right direction.”
Lester helped himself at the plate, too, driving in a run on a bunt in the fourth and reaching on catcher Yadier Molina’s throwing error that led to a second run as the Cubs extended their lead to 5-0.
Anthony Rizzo had three hits, was hit by a pitch and scored a run. Schwarber launched a three-run homer that traveled a projected 465 feet to straightaway center in the fifth, the third-longest homer by an opposing player in Busch Stadium III history.
Happ led off the third with a home run to right field. His first homer since May 22 snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak for the Cubs.
”We hit homers but we also did the little things well, too,” Maddon said. ”We ran the bases well.”
Wacha (8-2) allowed a career-high nine runs, eight earned
”I was just falling behind in the counts,” Wacha said. ”A lot of 1-0, 2-0s and just too many mistakes and they didn’t miss too many of them.”
Matt Carpenter homered in the sixth and drove in two runs, but the Cardinals lost their third consecutive game.
”Bottom line, we lost and it wasn’t pretty,” manager Mike Matheny said. ”And it’s a matter of trying to conserve arms, trying to get a couple guys off their feet and figure out a way to have some individual things that are done well and build on and have some confidence that will put us in a better spot tomorrow.”
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) threw a 35-pitch bullpen. He is scheduled to throw another one when the team returns home next week.
Cardinals: 1B Luke Voit was recalled from Double-A Springfield and RHP Matt Bowman (right hand finger blisters) was activated from the 10-day disabled list. 1B Jose Martinez was placed on the paternity list and RHP Daniel Poncedeleon was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 3.48 ERA) starts Saturday night against RHP Carlos Martinez (3-2, 2.96). Hendricks has dropped three straight decisions for the first time in his career. Martinez has walked 12 over 7 2/3 innings in two starts since returning from a lat strain.