So much for the Cubs catching the Dodgers at the right time.
The champs were in a 2-8 tailspin heading into Sunday’s 16-4 victory in Milwaukee. Then A.J. Pollock walked to the plate in the first inning and belted a grand slam off Alec Bettinger. Then Matt Beaty walked to the plate in the second inning and belted another grand slam off Bettinger.
Two in a game? It was only the third time in Dodgers history. Two in consecutive innings? That was a first. No major league team had pulled that off since 1984, when Bill Buckner and Tony Armas hit first- and second-inning grannies off Detroit’s Jack Morris, a future Hall of Famer.
It’s hard to imagine anything that could get a struggling offense going better than that — thanks for nothing, Bettinger — but enough about the Dodgers’ hitters. It’s their trio of aces whose mouths must be watering heading into a three-game series that starts Monday at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs’ bats finally started to heat up on a losing road trip through Atlanta and Cincinnati, but this is still a deeply flawed lineup that never seems incapable of putting nine innings of goose eggs on the scoreboard. And now come — in frightening succession — Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and 2020 National League Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer.
It’s the best trio of starters in baseball, and it really isn’t all that close. No offense to — lots of luck, fellas — Kyle Hendricks, Adbert Alzolay and Jake Arrieta, the Cubs starters who will oppose them. Here’s what’s happening:
Warriors at Pelicans: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes (6:30 p.m., ESPN2)
The regular telecast is on ESPN, but this version promises to “integrate elements from an original Marvel story and iconic characters including Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow and Doctor Strange throughout the live game.” Look, don’t blame the messenger.
Dodgers at Cubs (6:40 p.m., Marquee)
Hendricks — 1-3 with a 7.54 ERA — is having a “perfect storm” of problems on the mound, as he put it after his last start. Perhaps he should spend his afternoon watching Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS.
76ers at Bulls (8 p.m., NBCSCH+)
Are we still doing that thing where we pretend the Bulls have a chance to make it into a postseason play-in game?
Champions League: Manchester City vs. Paris-St. Germain (2 p.m. CBSSN, Paramount+, Univision)
As if romping to a Premier League title wasn’t enough for City, which won 2-1 in Paris in the first leg of this semifinal matchup.
White Sox at Reds (5:40 p.m., NBCSCH+)
Ten homers flew out of Great American Ball Park in Sunday’s Cubs-Reds game. The Sox aren’t on much of a long-ball pace yet themselves, so, yeah, time to change that.
Dodgers at Cubs (6:40 p.m., Marquee)
Here’s a thought: Can somebody make Kershaw spend his afternoon watching Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS?
White Sox at Reds (11:35 a.m., NBCSCH)
Dallas Keuchel goes against Sonny Gray, who finally seems fully ramped up after getting over a bit of back trouble.
Champions League: Chelsea vs. Real Madrid (2 p.m. CBSSN, Paramount+, Univision)
American Christian Pulisic scored Chelsea’s goal in the first leg in Madrid, a 1-1 draw. Remember, away goals are the tiebreaker in an aggregate format.
Blackhawks at Hurricanes (6 p.m., NBCSCH+)
It’s the last road game of the season for the Hawks. Carolina, meanwhile, is trying to get its mitts on the Presidents’ Trophy.
Lakers at Clippers (9 p.m., TNT)
You can throw out the records when these rivals meet. Especially the Lakers’ record considering they’ve been mailing it in all season.
Celtics at Bulls (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
Wait, are those real, live fans in the stands at the United Center? It sure has been a while.
White Sox at Royals (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
We don’t know what kind of silly stunt the Royals think they’re pulling with this first-place business, but we’ve frankly had quite enough of it.
Philadelphia at Fire (noon, Ch. 9)
Each team lost twice and drew once over its first three games. If that doesn’t light your wick, soccer fans, we don’t know what will.
Pirates at Cubs (1:20 p.m., Marquee)
The Cubs have barely scratched out three runs per game over their first six meetings with the Pirates. That’s no way to avoid the NL Central cellar.
Stars at Blackhawks (6 p.m., NHLN, NBCSCH)
Wait, are those real, live fans in the stands at the United Center? Hawks diehards sure waited a long time, too.
FCS quarterfinal: Southern Illinois at South Dakota State (8 p.m., ESPN2)
The Salukis take on the No. 1-seeded Jackrabbits in a little thing we like to call good ol’ American football. Which reminds us of Justin Fields …