The Dodgers were handling the Cubs in relatively impressive fashion behind a surprising performance from Bud Norris and a bullpen that was rolling along. That is until the game got late and the wheels fell off and then the wagon spontaneously combusted and everybody in the wagon caught on fire and died.
Bud Norris turned in his first quality pitching performance in almost a month, giving the Dodgers 89 pitches and five innings. Norris walked four, but surrendered only two runs on three hits and struck out six batters. Norris didn’t have his fine command, but even the two runs were a bit unlucky, coming off moderately hard-hit balls but mainly they happened to be correctly placed singles.
Well, he was also assisted by Chase Utley, who saved a run from his back.
Pedro Baez took over for him in the sixth inning and got a perfect frame while striking out one. Joe Blanton got a perfect seventh inning with two strikeouts, but he was also tasked to get the eighth and immediately gave up a towering homer to Kris Bryant, who is better at baseball than I want at the moment. Fortunately, he managed to get out of it without further damage, turning in an overall quality appearance considering the circumstances.
The offense put up a small picket fence around opposing starter Mike Montgomery in the second, third, and fourth innings, though the most remarkable part was that none of the runs came on hits. In the second, Enrique Hernandez (walk) scored on an Utley ground out. In the third, Howie Kendrick (walk) scored on a Justin Turner ground out. In the fourth, Utley scored while Kendrick grounded into a double play. So yeah, while interesting that actually kind of sucks, but I guess it makes the people who pleasure themselves to productive outs happy.
Fortunately, in the seventh, Adrian Gonzalez got a run that didn’t need an out by just bombing one over the fence.
Of course, the offense did strand a bunch of runners, which ended up screwing them later on. The Dodgers went 1-for 15 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base, which is remarkable in a way. Yikes.
Kenley Jansen, of course, was tasked with closing the game out. Jansen promptly allowed a lead-off double and generally seemed extremely annoyed with the runner at second despite him showing no signs of even taking a significant lead. In any case, he struck out the next batter, but it came on a pitch that Carlos Ruiz couldn’t block, which moved the runner to third. The save was then blown on a high cutter that was scored a wild pitch but was really a ball that should’ve been caught. Jansen got the next two batters on a fly out and a strikeout, but that wasn’t really any consolation at that point.
That’s especially true after Adam Liberatore gave up a two-run ding dong to evil man Kris Bryant in his inning, and then the game was over when “overenthusiastic” gun man Aroldis Chapman shut the door.
The loss drops the Dodgers to 71-57 on the year and 40-26 at home. The Giants won today, so the lead in the NL West is just 1 game.
The Dodgers get the Cubs again tomorrow afternoon at 10:05 AM HST/1:05 PM PST/4:05 PM EST, which I should hypothetically be awake for. Maybe. The pitching matchup will be not-a-teenager-anymore-so-why-not-ace-yet Julio Urias (3.95 ERA/3.37 FIP/4.10 DRA) against so-he-has-to-regress-some-point-right Jason Hammel (3.07 ERA/4.31 FIP/4.70 DRA).