Tight Game, Tight Series Decided by Close Call as Cubs Drop Rubber Match
I’m trying to decide exactly how to process that game. On one hand, Jon Lester (14-4, 2.81 ERA) had another great outing. On the other hand, the Cubs just dropped the series and came very close to making the final out in the eighth inning instead of giving up the winning run. Today’s game felt like a synopsis of the entire series. Close, (mostly) well-played on both sides, and just good hard baseball. Hard not to appreciate that.
The Cubs battled tough today but just couldn’t come away with the win. They end up dropping the rubber match by the score of 1-0 (Box Score).
All day, neither team could get any offense going. It was a pitching duel from an unlikely participant in Dodgers’ starter Brock Stewart. He came into the game with an 11.25 ERA over 12 innings pitched and that included two starts, both losses. Today he struck out eight over five innings of two-hit baseball.
Jon Lester and Stewart were toe-to-toe much of the day as they worked over batters on both sides. When Stewart left after five innings it felt like maybe the Cubs could break through. Or at least get a shot at another pitcher. Nothing happening. The Dodgers bullpen gave up only two hits the rest of the way.
The winning run came in the bottom of the eighth inning after a hit-by-pitch, a throwing error and an intentional walk loaded the bases, a ball that’s normally an easy out was hit towards Javier Baez. He charged and threw the ball to second base but the runner was safe, with two outs, and the winning run scored. Yes, that’s how the game was decided.
Stats that mattered
- Lester was money but the offense couldn’t get anything going – 6.0IP, 0R, 3H, 2BB, 6Ks
- Justin Grimm has looked very good since return from the DL – 1.0IP, 0R, 1H, 3Ks
- Jason Heyward was involved offensively and that’s always good to see – 2-for-4
Top to bottom that was a very competitive, fairly well-played series by both sides. The Dodgers are fighting for their lives in the highly competitive National League West and really needed to win 2-of-3 in this series. They did.
The Cubs fought hard all series but the Dodgers did just a little more to get one more win in the three-game set. I really like close series like this at this time of the year. It was very near to playoff-level intensity between two ball clubs on top of their divisions and that will benefit the Cubs in the long run, when it matters most.
The Cubs head home to take on the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates in a series starting on Monday at 7:05 PM CT. Jake Arrieta (16-5, 2.62 ERA) will get the start tomorrow for the Cubs.