Yet again, the Cubs decided to hop on a really good left-handed pitcher early in the game at Dodger Stadium. Yet again, it was all for naught and all they could muster, as three runs in the first three innings were wasted and the Cubs dropped the fourth of five on this road trip 5-3 to the Dodgers. Former Cub Rich Hill (4-1) bested current Cub Kyle Hendricks (7-5) on the mound and at the plate, as Hill got the win and the game-winning RBI in this one.
In the top of the 1st inning, Kris Bryant singled with one out and was immediately brought home when Anthony Rizzo hit a 345 foot home run just out of the reach of Cody Bellinger down the right field line.
The Dodgers responded in kind in the bottom of the 2nd, as Max Muncy doubled and the guy Kyle Hendricks probably wasn’t worried about, Matt Beaty, crushed a change-up into the seats (for his first major league home run) to knot things up at 2-2.
Bryant put the Cubs back on top almost immediately, as he led off the 3rd with a 425 foot bomb to left-center, but that was nullified in the bottom half of the inning when Justin Turner topped him with a 430 foot blast to center off Hendricks.
It was starting to feel like the two squads were just gonna keep trading haymakers each inning, but the Cubs didn’t get the memo, so the Dodgers took over the lead in the bottom of the 4th and never let the Cubs back up off the canvas. After a one-out Beaty double, Russell Martin flied to right for the second out. Unfortunately, Rich Hill hit a 62 mph flare the other way that barely left the infield, and Beaty scored to make it 4-3 as it rolled slowly and perfectly through the hole.
After Hill retired the Cubs in order for a second straight inning, the Dodgers started hitting balls hard against Hendricks in the bottom of the 5th. Alex Verdugo hit a long single over Jason Heyward’s head in right field, and after a line out to Heyward off the bat of Turner, Joe Maddon decided to replace Hendricks with left-hander Kyle Ryan. Ryan didn’t fare a whole lot better as Bellinger promptly greeted him with a missile to right that allowed Verdugo to get to third. Muncy then followed with a fielder’s choice that scored Verdugo and made things 5-3 Dodgers.
Things could have gotten a lot worse in the bottom of the 7th as Mike Montgomery walked the bases loaded with two outs, but Albert Almora Jr. tracked down a Chris Taylor ball hit about a foot short of being a home run and banged against the center field wall with the third out of the inning in his glove.
I’d like to tell you that catch mattered and that the Cubs came back in this one, but unfortunately they did not, despite a ball through Beaty’s wickets and a Kenley Jansen balk in the 9th inning that really didn’t even cause a lot of drama. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The same reason they lost last night. They didn’t hold an early lead off a guy they’ve historically struggled hitting against, and they decided to stop scoring runs after the 3rd inning.
Rich Hill’s flare past Javy Báez may not have been hit well, but it sure was hit in a perfect spot. It looks like a line drive in the box score, but man does it stink to see balls like that beat you.
Stats that Matter
- Kris Bryant was 3-4 with a bomb and 2 runs scored in the loss.
- Kyle Hendricks failed to throw 5 innings of the first time since April 7, a span of 11 starts. He had also won 6 straight decisions before this one.
- Second night in a row against the Dodgers where the Cubs had 3 runs by the 3rd inning and failed to score for the rest of the game. C.B. Bucknor’s late-inning strike zone sure didn’t do the Cubs any favors either.
The Cubs have struggled on the road big time this year and drop to 14-20 away from the Friendly Confines so far this season. That’s going to have to improve as the Cubs continue to battle the Brewers for the top of the NL Central. No time like the present.
The Cubs have two more against the Dodgers this weekend, both night games (yes, Sunday night again). Yu Darvish is on the hill for the Saturday night matchup where he will face Walker Buehler for the Dodgers. Game time is 8:10 CT, and the game will be on ABC- 7 and on the airwaves via 670 The Score.