Before the Cubs finished their series in San Diego with a 15-inning marathon on Sunday, manager Dale Sveum was asked about the club's upcoming trip to Los Angeles to face the scorching-hot Dodgers.
"Why did you have to bring that up? Let's talk about something else," Sveum said.
Sveum might not want to talk about the Dodgers this week, either. Los Angeles will send its aces to the hill when the teams meet for a three-game set at Chavez Ravine. Zack Greinke (12-3, 2.91 ERA) will take the hill on Monday and Clayton Kershaw (13-7, 1.72 ERA), baseball's ERA leader, is slated to pitch on Tuesday.
The Dodgers enter the series having rattled off a stretch of 46 wins in 58 games.
"They're on a roll that baseball hasn't seen in many, many years," Sveum said. "Part of it is, obviously, the offense. But when you have Greinke, Kershaw going two out of five days, you're talking about two guys who can win Cy Youngs in any given year or throw a no-hitter on any given day.
"That's not something you want to think about until you arrive at Dodger Stadium."
Sveum is not speaking in hyperbole. Over his last three starts, Greinke has posted a 3-0 record and 0.42 ERA. Kershaw has logged a 3-0 mark and 0.38 ERA over his last three outings. Combined, the duo has allowed just two earned runs in 45 2/3 innings during that stretch.
Thus, Sveum said Monday's matchup will be a good test for right-hander Jake Arrieta, who will make his fourth start since joining the Cubs in a trade with the Orioles in early July. The 27-year-old is 1-0 with a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings with Chicago.
Cubs: Castillo returns to lineup
• Welington Castillo made his way back into the Cubs' batting order on Sunday, though he admitted he was still not 100 percent after injuring his ribs a week ago. Castillo did say his condition has improved. In his first action since Wednesday, the catcher went 1-for-5 with a walk.
"We gave him enough days off and he's feeling a lot better," Sveum said.
• First baseman Anthony Rizzo is 7-for-24 (.292) since being moved into the No. 2 hole in the lineup. Sveum said there is not much of a correlation.
"Where you hit in the lineup is irrelevant for the most part," Sveum said. "Sometimes it does give you a little relaxation, where you don't have to worry about things. Everybody's different."
Dodgers: Collective effort fueling surge
• How have the Dodgers resurrected their season? It has been a team effort, according to manager Don Mattingly.
"It's really been a team thing," Mattingly said. "There's been a lot of guys that have had a good season. If you're going to be successful, you're going to need a lot of guys to have a good season. When you win, there's a lot of things that have to go right."
• Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-12 (.417 average) in his career against Arrieta, with one home run, one double and two RBIs.
• The Dodgers swept a four-game series at Wrigley Field in early August. They outscored the Cubs, 16-6.
• Greinke is 3-2 with a 4.45 ERA in five career starts against the Cubs. He has tallied 43 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.