This is clearly not the same Chicago club that won the World Series last year and finished with 103 wins during the 2016 regular season. I don’t know what’s wrong with the Cubs this season but lackluster starting pitching and weak hitting has led them to a mediocre 25-23 start. Although entering today they were in first place in a very competitive NL central race.
The Dodgers enacted some NLCS revenge and shutout the Cubs for the second consecutive game with a 5-0 win on Saturday night. It’s a small victory in comparison to being eliminated in last year’s NLCS, but it still feels pretty damn good. It’s nice to see the Cubs fall flat on their faces. This is the first time the Cubs have been shutout in back-to-back regular season games since May of 2014 against San Francisco.
Cubs 0 3 1
Dodgers 5 6 1
The Dodgers got a solid pitching performance from lanky right hander Brandon McCarthy. He allowed just 3 hits across six shutout frames and struck out six with only one walk to improve to a 5-1 record. The only blemish on the night for McCarthy was some kind of injury scare in the sixth inning.
The Dodger bats came alive again against opposing starter John Lackey. Chase Utley and Chris Taylor were the stars today. Utley was 2 for 4 with two singles and three runs driven in. Chris Taylor blasted his sixth home run of the season (two-run shot) and Cody Bellinger walked three times. On the relief side Ross Stripling tossed three innings of scoreless relief to pick up a three-inning save, his first of the season.
The Dodgers scored once in the fourth frame and put up 4 runs in the bottom of the fifth. In the fourth Kike Hernandez doubled and stole third base. Utley’s ground ball single scored Kike to put the Dodgers up 1-0. In the next inning McCarthy drew a lead-off walk. Then Taylor launched a two-run home run over the low wall in the left field corner to put the Dodgers up 3-0. After consecutive singles from Yasmani Grandal, and Adrian Gonzalez, there was a force out and Bellinger walked to load the bases. Utley’s second single into right field got through the Chicago infield and the Dodgers took a 5-0 lead.
That was all the boys in blue would need. The Dodgers had some good glove work behind McCarthy as well. Rookie Ian Happ singled to center in the fourth and was thrown out at second trying to extend it to a double. The initial call on the field was safe, but replay reviews showed that Happ popped up on his slide and was tagged out.
The Cubs had just three hits on the day and were 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers were 2 for 7 in such situations. The Dodgers are now 30-20 on the season and ten games above .500. The series concludes on Sunday as Jon Lester will battle Clayton Kershaw in a duel of left handed aces. The Dodgers are now 20-8 at Dodger Stadium.