Cubs 4, Dodgers 2: Even Clayton Kershaw can’t contain Kris Bryant

As Dodger fans, we’ve seen a lot of great play from rookies this season — Joc Pederson leading that charge (and put a charge into a Jason Motte pitch in the ninth inning). But the Cubs have some amazing young talent, led by Kris Bryant. He hit two home runs (one off Clayton Kershaw) in Chicago’s 4-1 win Monday night at Wrigley Field.

Bryant finished the night 2-for-3 with two homers and a walk. He’s showing why he was regarded by many as baseball’s best prospect heading into the 2015 campaign. That’s all the Cubs would needs, as the Dodger offense again struggled to score (just two solo home runs).

Cubs’ starter Tsuyoshi Wada left the game in the third inning with a cramp in his left arm, which came after Enrique Hernandez hit his third home run of the season. Hernandez was starting for Jimmy Rollins, who had a scheduled day off. He’s also coming off one of the greatest things to ever hit the Internet. He went 1-for-2 with that home run and a walk. He also got thrown out trying to steal, as the Dodgers’ poor base running was on display.

With Yasiel Puig on second and Pederson on first in the third inning, Puig was inexplicably picked off second base by former Dodger David Ross. It was a great play by him, and another blunder by the Dodgers.

That was really about it. Kershaw was good when he wasn’t giving up home runs: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 2 HR, 105 pitches, 67 strikes, 6/2 GO/AO.

Kershaw’s biggest problem is that home run ball, as he has a 16.7 percent HR/FB (not counting the two he gave up tonight, good for a 28.6 percent rate). For comparison’s sake, he was at 6.6 percent last year, 5.8 in 2013 and 8.1 in 2012. He’s missing plenty of bats, but his command hasn’t been as good as in year’s past. Having said all that, he’s still almost a 3-win pitcher, and we’re not even to the All-Star Break yet.

The Dodgers fall to 39-32 on the season with the loss and own a 1-game lead in the NL West. They send Zack Greinke (5-2, 1.81 ERA) to the mound to take on Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.89) tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Pacific time. Here’s hoping the good Granick shows up (as he has basically all season).


About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.