Jake Arrieta has been as close to an automatic win for the Cubs as there is in baseball. Chicago has won each of its ace's last 23 starts, a franchise record.Arrieta will take the mound today, looking to extend that streak against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. It will be
Jake Arrieta has been as close to an automatic win for the Cubs as there is in baseball. Chicago has won each of its ace's last 23 starts, a franchise record.
Arrieta will take the mound today, looking to extend that streak against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. It will be his first time facing the Dodgers since his no-hitter against them Aug. 30. This long-awaited rematch is just one of several intriguing matchups set for the day's 15-game slate, all of which are available for streaming live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
Dodgers look to solve Cubs' Arrieta: LAD@CHC, 8:05 p.m.
In his last outing, Arrieta surrendered a season-high four earned runs in a five-inning start. Chicago still won, however, as Arrieta became the first Cubs starter to begin a season 9-0 since Ken Holtzman did it in 1967. Despite the unblemished record and a sterling 1.72 ERA, Cubs manager Joe Maddon insisted we still haven't seen Arrieta pitch to his full potential.
"He has not pitched as well as he can yet," Maddon said. "You'll see the day when he goes out with that fastball command and it'll be the eighth inning with 92 pitches and it'll be a good day."
For Los Angeles, Scott Kazmir gets the start. Kazmir rebounded from issuing seven walks against the Padres on May 20 to strike out 12 batters his last time out. He won his only other career start at Wrigley Field back with the Angels in 2010.
Stat that matters: Extra bases have been hard to come by against Arrieta this year. He's limiting opponents to a .239 slugging percentage, which ranks first among all qualifiers.
Something's gotta give: PIT@MIA, 7:10 p.m.
Two of the game's hottest pitchers will take the mound at Marlins Park. Jose Fernandez will toe the rubber for the home team, looking to extend his six-game winning streak. The right-hander owns a 1.89 ERA in that six-start span, striking out 58 batters against 14 walks. Opposite Fernandez will be Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole, who's allowed just one earned run in his last three outings. He's 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA over his last four starts.
Stat that matters: Fernandez is especially tough on right-handed batters, of which of the Pirates have many. Right-handers have struck out 60 times in 129 plate appearances (46.5 percent) this season. That's the highest rate among qualified starting pitchers.
Lewis seeks to continue road dominance vs. Kluber, Indians: TEX@CLE, 6:10 p.m.
Colby Lewis allowed six runs in five innings, his shortest outing of the season, against the Angels last week, but still came away with the win. The right-hander has been at his best on the road, going 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA across four starts entering today's tilt in Cleveland. The Indians will counter with Corey Kluber, who's tossed at least seven innings in consecutive starts. Kluber has allowed four runs on 12 hits in that span, beating both the Red Sox and White Sox.
Stat that matters: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus performs better at Progressive Field than any other ballpark. He's batting .406/.479/.566 with 11 extra-base hits (eight doubles, three homers) and 15 RBIs in 28 career games on the road against the Indians.
Third time's the charm: WSH@PHI, 7:05 p.m.
For the third time this season, Aaron Nola will try for his first career win against the Nationals. The Phillies right-hander gave up seven runs in five innings vs. Washington on April 16, taking the loss, then received a no decision for his seven scoreless frames on April 28. Washington will hand the ball to Joe Ross, who turned in his best start of the season against the Phillies on April 20. Ross tossed 7 2/3 scoreless frames in that outing, allowing just three hits and two walks and striking out five batters.
Stat that matters:Daniel Murphy's 44 hits in May are the most by any Nationals hitter for a single calendar month, and he still has one game left to play.
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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com.