The Dodgers were cruising in the sixth inning at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on Wednesday evening. They had a 3-0 lead with two outs in that fateful sixth frame. Walker Buehler was still pitching and while he was nowhere near his dominant self (5.2 IP 3 R 4 H 2BB 1K), he had been good enough to keep the Chicago faithful off the scoreboard. Until that point the Dodgers buoyed by a fourth inning Chris Taylor infield single, some aggressive base running and a two-run home run from Cody Bellinger were feeling pretty good about themselves.
Rightly they should have been at that point. The boys in blue played some small ball, evidence by that fourth inning base running from Corey Seager, who flew around from second to score on Taylor’s infield squib to first base. They got some great defense in the third inning when Bellinger, Enrique Hernandez, and Austin Barnes combined to throw out Daniel Descalso at home after Kris Bryant sliced a double to right field.
With two outs in the sixth, nobody would have guessed that the Dodgers would give up six runs to the Cubs, including two three-run home runs to Javier Baez and Jason Heyward that would put the Cubs up 6-3. But that’s exactly what happened. The Dodgers did battle back when Alex Verdugo hit a three-run home run of his own in the top of the eighth, but it wasn’t enough because the Dodger bullpen still sucks causing the Dodgers to lose again. They’re in line perfectly to be swept on Thursday against Jon Lester.
Dodgers 6 6 0
Cubs 7 7 0
It’s important to remember that the horrible bullpen is not Dave Robert’s fault. He didn’t build the bullpen nor did he acquire those loser arms. He has to use the guys he has, and right now that isn’t much. To be fair even I thought Joe Kelly would be decent, and never thought he would be this bad, but it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that Yimi Garcia, Scott Alexander, and former bullpen member Brock Stewart are not major league quality pitchers. Stewart has since been demoted but Garcia and Alexander remain. People will blame Roberts for these losses. Or the Friedman fan boys will cry and tweet things like “How could Friedman have known”? Let me tell you all that anyone could have known that Garcia and Alexander suck. So what is Roberts supposed to do? Does he have the ability to make a reliable reliever appear out of thin air?
Of course Buehler did give up the three-run home run to Baez. That was his fault. A two-out walk to Anthony Rizzo killed him, and with Descalso already aboard after singling, he hung an 0-2 breaking ball to Baez and got crushed. Walks will kill you, just ask opposing starter Cole Hammels who walked six Dodgers tonight and left losing 3-0 in the sixth inning. Roberts brought in Alexender to get that last out in the sixth, again there was two outs in the inning.
Pinch-hitter David Bote immediately doubled, and Alexander was ordered to intentionally walk Willson Contreras for another brainless lefty on lefty matchup against Heyward. The ill advised intentional walk was definitely on Roberts. It made little sense to me. There are two outs in the inning, and if you can’t trust Alexander to get a right handed hitter out, then there is no point of him being on the roster. Additionally, just because a matchup presents itself doesn’t mean you have to do it. Just bring in good relievers who can get left handers and right handers out. Heyward made the Dodgers look hella stupid by crushing a three-run shot to put the Cubs up 6-3.
At this point we knew it’s basically over. But then Joe Kelly is used in the seventh inning to make things even worse. With two outs in that inning he hit Bryant with a pitch and Anthony Rizzo doubled him in. Kelly now has a 9.82 ERA. God he sucks.
The Dodgers almost came back. In the top of the eighth, Seager singled, and Pollack walked. Then Alex Verdugo bombed one out off of Steve Cishek to get the Dodgers close. It was 7-6 Cubs at that moment. Astonishingly Yimi Garcia pitched a 123 bottom half of the eighth inning. Max Muncy walked against Pedro Strop to lead off the top of the ninth. But Hernandez struck out and Justin Turner grounded into a double play to end the game. The Dodgers will get swept tomorrow when Jon Lester makes his return for the Cubs and the Dodgers counter with Ross Stripling.