Kyle Schwarber started this one off in an extremely auspicious way, hitting the first ball of the game into the seats in centerfield to put the Cubs (38-30) up 1-0 over the Dodgers (46-23). Alas, it was not to be, as a Kris Bryant home run and Wilson Contreras single weren’t enough to overcome three 2-run blasts from the Dodger bats off Jon Lester. Oh, and by the way- that one pitcher who plays for the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, settled in and went 6 innings, only giving up the three early runs.
As noted above, Schwarber started things off right in this one, taking the left-handed Kershaw deep on his first pitch of the game before production could even muster some graphics up on the screen . Kris Bryant followed the bomb with a walk, Anthony Rizzo doubled to put men on second and third with nobody away, but Javy Báez grounded back to the pitcher freezing the runners. Willson Contreras then singled home Bryant with a little bloop into left field. With one away, the Cubs still had runners at first and third as Rizzo moved to third on the single.
After an Albert Almora Jr. strikeout, shenanigans ensued (and not in a good way) as Anthony Rizzo got hung up between 3rd base and home after Contreras took off for second and Dodgers’ catcher Austin Barnes faked a throw there and then threw back to third to get Rizzo. Rizzo actually might have scored if he were fast, as he broke for home as the ball came to third base; El Mago definitely makes it there on time.
In the top of the 3rd, Kris Bryant joined scoring party, and it looked like the Cubs were on their way to knocking Kershaw out of the game. Unfortunately, it did not work out like that, as the Bryant bomb was the last run the Cubs would get in this one, settling for doughnuts the final 6 innings of the game.
The Dodgers, however, were just getting warmed up against Lester, as David Freese, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, and Alex Verdugo all took turns getting consecutive hits in the bottom of the 4th inning. Bellinger and Muncy decided singles weren’t enough for them, and both swatted big flies to put the Dodgers up 4-3 just like that.
After Schwarber and Báez both singled for naught in the top of the 5th, the Dodgers jumped right back on Lester, with a single for Justin Turner and a David Freese bomb that made the score 6-3. Bellinger added another laser beam home run in the bottom of the 7th, capping the scoring in this one at 7-3. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
After pouncing on Clayton Kershaw early, the Cubs couldn’t score any more and Lester couldn’t hold the Cubs’ early lead against some dangerous Dodgers hitters.
While it wasn’t just one moment, the Dodgers got 5 hits in a row in the decisive 4th inning. The homers by Bellinger and Muncy were the big blows as the Cubs 3-0 lead vanished just like that.
Stats that Matter
- Kyle Schwarber continues his hot streak, hitting that home run in the first and adding another single to go 2-4 on the night.
- After a 5 inning performance where he gave up 6 ER, Jon Lester’s ERA now sits at 4.08.
- He’s not a Cub, but man is Cody Bellinger having a season. 2 bombs tonight after looking foolish in his first at bat. He’s hitting .358 with 22 home runs on the season.
The Cubs get to play three more games in Los Angeles over the weekend, and Friday’s matchup should be compelling. Kyle Hendricks takes the ball for the Cubs, while former Cub Rich Hill takes the ball for the Dodgers. Game time is 9:10 CT, and the game will be on TV via WGN and on the airwaves via 670 The Score.