The Cubs (38-30) have won three straight and are eight games above .500 for the first time since 2009. A fourth victory in a row will require them to deal the Dodgers (39-32) their first consecutive defeats in 13 occasions when Kershaw and Greinke have followed each other.
Greinke is hoping to avoid his longest stretch without earning a victory in 10 years through no fault of his own. He’s 0-2 with a 1.99 ERA over his last eight starts while receiving a total of 12 runs of support.
The right-hander is the fifth pitcher since 1969 to go winless in at least that many starts despite a sub-2.00 ERA. He last went nine starts without a win during a 10-game stretch in 2005 with Kansas City.
Greinke (5-2, 1.81 ERA) allowed one or no runs for the 10th time in 14 starts Thursday when he gave up four hits and fanned eight over seven innings of a 1-0 home win over Texas.
“Sometimes things can’t be controlled like wins or losses,” manager Don Mattingly told MLB’s official website. “If he pitches like this every time out, we’re going to be fine.”
Greinke hasn’t had much success at Wrigley, going 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA – his worst of any NL ballpark – in three career starts there.
Starlin Castro has gone 5 for 16 in the matchup, while Miguel Montero is 7 for 23 with two home runs. Dexter Fowler is 2 for 18 but could be out after leaving Monday’s game with a sprained left ankle.
Chicago starter Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.89) has a home run in two career at_bats versus Greinke.
The right-hander went 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA over an eight-start stretch before giving up four runs over five innings in a 5-4, 10-inning home loss to Cincinnati on June 12. He then yielded three runs over four before rain cut short his outing Thursday when he did not factor in a 4-3 loss at Cleveland.
Hammel is 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 12 career starts at Wrigley, but 2-4 with a 5.67 mark in 10 against the Dodgers. However, all but one of those meetings took place before 2013.
Howie Kendrick is 7 for 13 when facing Hammel, while Andre Ethier is 9 for 25 with two home runs. Adrian Gonzalez, though, is just 6 for 32 (.188) with one homer.
Joc Pederson and Kike Hernandez accounted for Los Angeles’ only runs Monday with solo home runs. The Dodgers have totaled five runs on four homers during a three-game road slide.
Yasiel Puig has gone 16 for 31 (.516) with two home runs during an eight-game hitting streak at Wrigley.