With Jon Lester looming tomorrow in Game 5, the Game 4 matchup in the NLCS was important to the Dodgers chances of taking the series despite entering the game with a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, the Cubs lineup came alive and the Dodgers couldn’t get it done offensively, falling 10-2 to knot the series, 2-2.
While things were competitive for the first three frames, the Cubs offense exploded in the fourth inning and never looked back as the Cubs bullpen secured the win down the stretch.
Julio Urias made history by becoming the youngest pitcher to start a game in the postseason, and despite running into a bit of a speed bump in the second inning, he got through three scoreless frames. Unfortunately, the fourth inning happened.
Ben Zobrist led things off by reaching on a perfectly placed bunt single for the Cubs’ first hit. Then Javier Baez reached on a bloop single hit at 68 mph and Willson Contreras followed with another jam single at 71 mph to score a run. It looked like they had a play at the plate, but Andrew Toles made the worst throw I’ve ever seen him make and the Cubs were up 1-0. That was followed up by a Jason Heyward RBI grounder to put the Cubs up 2-0, and then the first hard contact of the inning came when Addison Russell crushed a fastball over the center-field wall for a 4-0 lead. After Urias got Lackey out for the second of the inning, that was the end of his night with the line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 72 P. Unfair to him and not reflective of the way he pitched, but that’s baseball.
Pedro Baez entered in relief and got out of the fourth inning with an out, but only recorded one out in the fifth and gave up a solo shot to Anthony Rizzo to make it 5-0. Josh Fields then entered and got the last two outs of the fifth without anybody reaching, but all the damage necessary was done.
On the other side of things, John Lackey was thoroughly average and still acting like an asshole…
…but the Dodgers couldn’t take advantage. In the second inning, it seemed like the Dodgers struck first, with Toles coming through with a two-out hit with runners on first and second. However, Adrian Gonzalez was thrown out at the plate … but it looked like he was safe upon further review.
A-Gon really wanted the call…
…and even Bryce Harper thought it was rather obvious.
He was safe! Replay system still broke..Same thing all year long! #DontMessItUp
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) October 20, 2016
In the end, though, they didn’t get the call and the inning was over, keeping the shutout intact.
Thing remained that way until the fifth, when the Dodgers got a rally going thanks to Lackey losing control. After issuing back-to-back walks to Andrew Toles and Andre Ethier to start the inning, he was removed and replaced by Mike Montgomery. The new pitcher promptly gave up a single to Howie Kendrick to load the bases, however, he got Corey Seager swinging for the first out. Justin Turner then tried his best to ground into a double play, but the ball went off Montgomery’s glove and scored two runs to cut the lead to 5-2.
Unfortunately, A-Gon then grounded out and Enrique Hernandez did the same, and the last major chance at getting back into the game was over.
That was especially true when Ross Stripling started the sixth and recorded only one out while giving up five runs (four earned) on four hits and a walk. Luis Avilan had to be called in for relief of the long man, and he got five outs while only giving up a hit. Alex Wood (finally) finished off the last two frames, giving up two hits and hitting a batter in two innings, but allowing no damage.
In total, the Dodgers got just six singles, five walks, and a hit by pitch on offense, JT got picked off second base with two outs in the first inning, and the Dodgers made four errors (Chase Utley, Toles, Enrique, Joc Pederson) to complete what ended up as an absolute dumpster fire of a showing.
The best thing to come out of today is that it only counts for one game.
Anyway, we do the same thing tomorrow at the same time and the same place, except with Jon Lester on the mound for the Cubs and Kenta Maeda taking the hill for the Dodgers. As I said before Game 1, this is the most lopsided pitching matchup of the series, so it doesn’t bode well, but hey … baseball.