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6:10 PM PT7:10 PM MT8:10 PM CT9:10 PM ET21:10 ET1:10 GMT9:10 6:10 PM MST8:10 PM EST8:40 PM VEN5:10 UAE (+1)8:10 PM CT, June 15, 2019
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California  Attendance: 51,596

Back in L.A., Cubs' Darvish seeks win vs. former team

According to STATS
According to STATS

Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Since 2015, the Cubs and Dodgers have the most regular-season wins in MLB, with Chicago at 425 and Los Angeles at 424. They have split their 30 meetings in this span after the Cubs took two of three from Los Angeles at Wrigley Field in April.
  2. In the only other meeting between Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester, Kershaw surrendered a career high-tying 11 hits in 4.1 innings in a 9-4 Dodgers win. Lester permitted six runs in 3.1 innings but has a 1.29 ERA in his other nine starts against Los Angeles since 2016, including three in the playoffs.
  3. The Dodgers have won five straight home games and are 20-3 at Dodger Stadium since April 14. Their 58 home runs on the season at Chavez Ravine trail only the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers' 59 homers for the most in franchise history through the team's first 32 home games of a season.
  4. Cody Bellinger still leads all major leaguers with a .352 average despite batting .222 with two extra-base hits in his last 12 games. His .770 slugging percentage on May 28 led all MLB qualifiers, while his .289 slugging percentage since then ranks 162nd out of 179 qualifiers.
  5. Javier Baez hit his 17th homer of the season on Wednesday to give him 37 extra-base hits in his 65th game. Through 65 games last season, he had 30 extra-base hits en route to finishing with 83 -- the most by a Cubs hitter since Derrek Lee had 99 in 2005.
  6. Anthony Rizzo hit his 17th homer of 2019 on Monday, and is batting .328 with seven home runs in his last 16 road games. On the season, Rizzo's 1.159 OPS with no outs is seventh in MLB among qualifiers.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 6/13/2019 thru 6/16/2019
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The last time Yu Darvish took the mound at Dodger Stadium, not only was the game decided shortly after it started, but the hopes of a championship faded as well.

Darvish will start for the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, facing a Los Angeles Dodgers team that he tried to help lead to a World Series title in 2017. In fact, Darvish got the ball to start Game 7 against the Houston Astros, but he gave up five runs (four earned) in 1 1/3 innings, and that was that.

The Astros won the World Series with a 5-1 victory that day. Darvish took the loss in two of Houston's four victories in the series, amassing a 21.60 ERA.

Still, the Dodgers reportedly were interested in bringing Darvish back on a free agent deal. The Cubs grabbed him instead with a six-year, $126 million contract. It has not gone well for the right-hander, as injuries have limited him to 22 starts with the Cubs in nearly a year and a half, and he owns just three victories and a 4.97 ERA.

Dodgers fans are not expected to have any sympathy Saturday, although Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts tried to be diplomatic, saying he expects the reaction to be "mixed."

"I thought he had some really good moments with us, and people want to rest on Game 7 a lot, which was unfortunate, for all of us," Roberts said Friday.

Even the Cubs fans in attendance are not expected to drown out the boos. They might not have the motivation due to Darvish's 2-3 record and 4.98 ERA over 14 starts this season.

He has not picked up a victory since April 27 against the Diamondbacks at Arizona, racking up eight consecutive no-decisions.

Darvish's issue of late is giving back runs just after the Cubs score. On Monday at Colorado, he allowed a pair of two-run homers in the bottom of the third to erase a 4-0 lead that his team built in the top of the inning. The Cubs lost 6-5.

"I don't know why," Darvish told reporters after the outing through an interpreter. "I have to find out. So next time we score, I will go 120 percent for that inning."

The Dodgers know how to pounce. They erased a deficit against the Cubs on Thursday with home runs by Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy in the fourth inning, and they erased two more deficits Friday, on home runs from Matt Beaty and Justin Turner. The Dodgers emerged with a pair of wins, 7-3 and then 5-3.

Los Angeles will counter on the mound Saturday with right-hander Walker Buehler (7-1, 3.35 ERA), who lost his own lead against the Cubs on April 24 at Chicago when Javier Baez hit a three-run home run in a six-run sixth inning.

Since then, Buehler has resembled the pitcher who burst upon the scene last year. Over his past eight starts, he is 5-1 with a 2.45 ERA. He has gone a combined 15 innings over his past two starts, giving up one run while winning both outings.

Against the Diamondbacks on June 3 in Phoenix, he had 11 strikeouts over 102 pitches. He had nine more K's over 91 pitches Sunday at San Francisco.

"The efficiency is the biggest thing for me," Buehler said, according to MLB.com. "I'm going to strike out guys in this league, and I've kind of shown that, but to get deeper in the games is obviously my goal. My only goal is to throw as many innings as possible."

Another goal might be better performances against the Cubs. He has faced them twice (one start) and is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA against them.

--Field Level Media

Updated June 15, 2019

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