Jake Arrieta‘s dominance was predictable, but Scott Kazmir‘s stellar performance in a 5-0 Dodger win at Wrigley Field Tuesday night was a pleasant surprise. It was a scoreless game until the eighth inning when the Dodgers finally were able to score a couple of runs off the Cubbies. It was a much needed victory on a rainy Chicago afternoon filled with depressing injury news prior to the game.
During the 30-min rain delay to start the game, it was announced that Yasiel Puig was scratched from the lineup with a sore left hamstring. This was after the discouraging pregame news. Alex Wood has a sore left elbow, Kenta Maeda still has some swelling in his right hand after being hit by a line drive in Saturday’s game and Andre Ethier hasn’t been cleared for baseball activities yet.
With two starting pitchers nursing injuries, Kazmir gave the Dodgers just what they needed with a quality start against arguably the best team in baseball. The offense is still worrisome, but once Arrieta left the game in the eighth they finally came alive with their bats.
Adrian Gonzalez did us all a favor by breaking up the potential Arrieta no-hitter and annoying narrative early with a two-out single in the top of the first.
Kazmir was a bit shaky in the home half the first, but was able to pitch out of trouble. He walked Dexter Fowler on nine pitches, allowed a Jason Heyward stolen base and hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. He escaped the inning unscathed, striking out Ben Zobrist.
Carl Crawford, who is still on the team for some reason, failed to run to first base after striking out on a pitch in the dirt with a man on and two outs in the second. Dave Roberts, who celebrated a birthday Tuesday, has yet to bench anyone but Puig for lack of hustle.
— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) June 1, 2016
There was also a mid-game announcement that Alex Wood was placed on the disabled list with posterior elbow soreness, and Julio Urias was being called up again.
If the Dodgers’ injury front wasn’t gloomy enough, in the middle of the fourth inning trainers came out to the mound to look at Kazmir presumably to check his thumb which has bothered him this season. Nevertheless, he allowed just one hit in six scoreless frames with seven strikeouts and a walk on 90 pitches (58 strikes) against the Cubs in a praiseworthy start.
The problem was of course the Dodgers could not score off Arrieta who allowed two hits and pitched seven scoreless frames with eight strikeouts and four walks on 107 pitches (63 strikes). The Dodgers only mustered two singles off the Chicago ace who was cruising until he hit a snag in the seventh. Arrieta walked the bases loaded, but Justin Turner looked at a hittable strike three to end the inning.
Joe Blanton took over for Kazmir in the seventh and struck out two Cubbies in a scoreless frame.
Arrieta was also done after seven, and the Dodgers seized the moment. Clayton Richard came out of the bullpen for Chicago in the eighth, and the Dodgers finally scored their first run of the series. Fire-starter Chase Utley battled for a single after seeing eight pitches, and Corey Seager followed with a ground ball single to Addison Russell at third base. Adrian Gonzalez once again came through with a clutch RBI single to left field to break the scoreless tie.
Joe Maddon hooked Richard and brought in right-hander Adam Warren to face Joc Pederson. Seager tagged up on a fly ball to right by Joc, and they loaded the bases up again after Warren walked Trayce Thompson with one out. The Dodgers scored their second run of the inning thanks to a sacrifice fly by Kendrick.
Blanton pitched another perfect inning in the eighth, and he ended up striking out three in two innings of work with his effective slider.
Trevor Cahill, who was once in the Dodgers’ system briefly, was brought in after Warren allowed back-to-back singles to Carl Crawford and Enrique Hernandez to start the ninth. Cahill struck out Utley with his changeup for the first out. Then Seager walloped a Cahill fastball over the fence in right field for a three-run home run (his 9th of the year). Dodgers took a 5-0 lead.
Adam Liberatore was asked to shut the Cubs down in the bottom of the ninth, and he sent the side down in order to secure the win and snap Chicago’s winning streak of 23 games when Arrieta starts.
The Dodgers improve to 28-25 and 15-13 on the road. They finish 16-12 in May.