Matt Kemp and the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be getting a break Saturday since they will face a winless pitcher instead of Matt Garza.
Even better for them is how the Chicago Cubs have fared against Chris Capuano, who hasn't yielded a run over his previous 12 2-3 innings.
Garza will be replaced on the mound by Chris Volstad as these teams continue a three-game set at Wrigley Field.
Kemp, who leads the majors with 12 homers and a 1.342 OPS, had an RBI triple for his lone hit in four at_bats Friday as Los Angeles (17-9) lost for the third time in four games, 5-4.
He and the Dodgers won't get their first look at Garza, who has a 1.77 ERA over his last 12 home starts but has been scratched due to a virus. Volstad (0-3, 6.11 ERA), scheduled to pitch Sunday's finale, will instead take the ball on regular rest after yielding four runs over six innings and not getting a decision in Monday's 6-4 loss at Philadelphia.
The right-hander is 0-8 with a 4.68 ERA over his last 16 outings, and 3-3 with a 4.46 ERA in six career starts versus the Dodgers. Kemp is 5 for 17 with a homer against him.
Volstad may need to be at his best Saturday since Capuano (3-0, 2.73) is 6-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his last eight starts against the Cubs (10-16). Capuano did suffer a loss against them in that span as a reliever, yielding two runs over four innings Aug. 30, 2007.
The left-hander struck out nine over 6 2-3 innings of three-hit ball in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Washington to continue his best start since he began 5-0 in 2007.
No Chicago hitter has faced Capuano more than Alfonso Soriano, who is 2 for 8. The Cubs have faced four left-handed starters this season to match the lowest total in the majors, going 1-3 in those games.
While Kemp has been one of the major stories of the early season, the Cubs' Bryan LaHair is right behind him with the majors' second-best OPS at 1.247.
The Chicago slugger has reached base safely in 22 straight games - the longest streak by a Cub since Derrek Lee's 30-game run May 16-June 23, 2009. LaHair is 14 for 35 (.400) during a nine-game hitting streak and ranks among baseball's leaders with a .403 average against right-handers.
Soriano went 3 for 3 with two doubles and two RBIs Friday and is hitting .406 during an eight-game streak.
Rafael Dolis got the last three outs for his second save and first since manager Dale Sveum removed Carlos Marmol from the closer role before the game and announced that he will use a committee. Marmol has blown two of four chances and posted a 6.23 ERA.
"It just got to that point where we got to get him productive in some role and he was fine with it and understood," Sveum said.
Bobby Abreu went 0 for 2 and made the final out in his Dodgers debut after signing earlier Friday. Abreu was released by the Angels on April 27 after going 5 for 24.
"It's tough for a guy to just show up in a locker room and then all of a sudden be in there, and then the game's on the line," manager Don Mattingly said.
The Associated Press News Service
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