The Dodgers squeaked out a win over the Cubs on Wednesday night to even their three game series at one game each. The Dodgers can’t hit, but they certainly can pitch. Brandon McCarthy was fantastic tossing 6 shutout frames, and Ross Stripling was lights out as he pitched two scoreless frames in relief. Kenley Jansen redeemed himself from last night by pitching a scoreless ninth inning to record the save.
Dodgers 2 5 1
Cubs 0 5 1
The Dodger bats were their usual flaccid selves, but they were able to muster one run in the first before being gifted a run in the top of the ninth inning thanks to some sloppy Chicago defense. The Dodgers made an Andrew Toles lead-off solo home run in the top of the first inning hold up in their 2-0 victory.
To be fair the anemic Dodger offense squandered way too many opportunities. The boys in blue stranded nine runners on base and were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Most of the game the Dodger bats just struck out during rallies. Opposing starter John Lackey tallied 10 whiffs on the night. Let’s go over all of the rallies that the Dodger offense wasted tonight.
Squandered rally #1-
After Toles homered to lead-off the game, Corey Seager doubled and Lackey issued walks to Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson. But Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal both struck out swinging, and Utley was called out on strikes.
Squandered rally # 2-
In the top of the second, Yasiel Puig singled and McCarthy was unable to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Toles singled to center and Seager was called out on strikes before Forsythe popped out. Dodgers got nothing.
Squandered rally #3-
In the top of the eighth, Forsythe walked, and Gonzo singled. Then Grandal walked and the bases were loaded. Pinch-hitter Justin Turner who was still nursing his sore quad immediately grounded into a double play against reliever Mike Montgomery.
Squandered rally # 4-
In the top of the ninth, the Dodgers wouldn’t have scored at all had it not been for catcher Willson Contreras’ throwing error. Utley was on first after walking and Toles had just chased a ball low and away for strike three. The ball got away from Contreras, and he had to record the out at first. However his errant throw sailed wide, allowing Utley to score and give the Dodgers a 2-0 edge.
Let’s forget about the lousy offense, and talk about the brilliant pitching. On the pitching side, the Dodger arms were incredibly good. McCarthy went 6 innings allowing just 4 hits and striking out 4. He walked three and now has an ERA of 1.50. He looked strong, but Ross Stripling looked equally as strong. His curve was really working as he tossed the seventh and eighth innings. He struck out 4 and did not allow a hit.
The Dodgers almost blew it in the bottom of the eighth when Seager made a bad throw on a routine grounder that deflected off Gonzo’s glove. That gave the Cubs an extra chance and you never want to give a team like the Cubs extra outs. With a runner on second and two outs, Dave Roberts went to left hander Luis Avilan and he whiffed Kyle Schwarber to get Seager and the Dodgers off the hook. Kenley then pitched the ninth and despite allowing a single to Rizzo, was able to finish the game without anymore issues.
I won’t complain after a win, but the Dodgers could have scored 5 or 6 runs had they not tanked with runners in scoring position. Thankfully the pitching has been pretty solid. They better get the bats working soon though. The Dodgers may end up juggling the lineup again for the rubber game on Thursday afternoon if they think Turner’s quad isn’t quite ready yet.
The pitching matchup for series finale will see Hyun-jin Ryu take on former teammate and old friend Brett Anderson. This will be the real test for the Dodgers. If they can’t hit Brett Anderson then they will have to board the plane back to Los Angeles in shame. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen because it would be really embarrassing. I mean come on, it’s Brett Anderson.