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Cubs-Dodgers Preview

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, in Houston.  (AP Photo/Richard Carson) Photo:

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

The last time a Chicago Cubs pitcher recorded 14 straight quality starts, he went on to win the Cy Young.

Jake Arrieta can join Greg Maddux at that level Sunday night in a visit to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his recent winning streak has him in the discussion for the award.

Arrieta (16-6, 2.22 ERA) has won all five of his August starts with a 0.54 ERA and hasn't given up an earned run across 12 innings over his last two.

The right-hander, whose ERA ranks third in the majors, surrendered an unearned run and four hits with eight strikeouts in six innings of Tuesday's 8-5 win in San Francisco.

He can become the fourth Cubs pitcher with at least 14 straight quality starts and first since Maddux in 1992, as well as the first Cubs arm since Carlos Silva in 2010 to win six straight starts.

A 7.56 run-support average on the streak has certainly helped, and he's recorded the win in each of the last 10 starts in which he's been given at least three runs of support.

"Once we got the three runs, I'm feeling pretty good about my chances to win," said Arrieta, who improved to 10-1 with a 1.94 ERA in 14 away starts.

Arrieta is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers, but those both came back in 2013 before he really came into his own. Carl Crawford is 5 for 11 in their matchups, but Jimmy Rollins (0 for 7) and Chase Utley (0 for 6) haven't figured him out.

Alex Wood isn't making it deep enough into games to put up streaks like Arrieta.

The left-hander did, however, earn the decision in Tuesday's 5-1 win in Cincinnati after giving up a run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. Wood (9-8, 3.70) walked three batters for the fourth straight game, and his 4.07 walks per nine innings over his last eight starts is up from 2.53 in his first 17 this year.

The 24-year-old has won both of his starts this season at Dodger Stadium, and he has a 1.96 ERA in three starts and two relief efforts there. Against the Cubs, he's 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in a start and three relief appearances. Chris Denorfia is 4 for 5 against Wood.

Chicago could go with a righty-heavy lineup against Wood, who's holding lefties to a .116 average in his last seven starts. Anthony Rizzo, however, is hitting .321 off left-handers.

The Cubs (73-55) haven't been much of an offensive threat on a four-game losing streak with six runs scored and a .149 average, putting them in danger of matching a season-worst five-game skid from June 24-28 that started with two losses to the Dodgers (72-56). They've also scored just five runs and hit .208 on a four-game skid against Los Angeles.

Kyle Schwarber is hitting .114 in his last nine games after posting a .311 average through his first 36 in the majors.

"It's been a tough trip," manager Joe Maddon said. "The 2,000 miles and two hours have kicked our butts a little bit. But I'm really pleased with our guys. Our guys care and they're good, so we'll be fine."

After Saturday's 5-2 victory, the Dodgers have won five straight while posting a 1.00 ERA.

Offensively, Kike Hernandez was 2 for 4 to bump his average to .408 in the last 14 games.

While the Cubs fell six games behind streaking Pittsburgh for the first wild-card spot, the Dodgers extended their NL West lead to 3 1/2 games.

"We worked really hard to get to this point," manager Don Mattingly said. "This time of year it's about winning games."

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