In a series that we could possibly see again in October, the Chicago Cubs did not intimidate the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers almost swept the Cubs, taking the weekend series 2-1.
Friday night’s game was filled with drama and excitement, exactly what you would expect from a game featuring these two teams. In his second start with the Cubs, lefty Mike Montgomery threw five scoreless innings, allowing six hits, four walks, striking out five and only allowing three runs. After an Anthony Rizzo two-out RBI single to cut the lead to 3-2 in the fifth, Adrian Gonzalez extended the lead with a solo home run in the seventh.
MVP candidate Kris Bryant only strengthened his case on Friday. Down by two entering the eighth, Bryant led off the inning with a solo blast to cut the lead to two. The Cubs caught a break in the ninth inning. After a leadoff double by Jayson Heyward, the outfielder scored off a wild pitch by Dodgers closer Kenley Jensen to tie the game.
This set the stage for Kris Bryant, who would hit the go-ahead two-run home run in the 10th inning for the Cubs, which paved to way for Aroldis Chapman to lock up his 10th save since joining the team in late July. Bryant’s 35th home runs led to “MVP” chants from the Cubs fans in Los Angeles. He later told reporter
“It’s humbling and just keeps me going and keeps me determined to do all I can. It’s pretty cool to hear.”
Friday night would really be the only victory to come out of this weekend series though. On Saturday, 20-year old rookie Julio Urias shut down the best team in baseball. After allowing one run in the first inning off a Rizzo RBI, Urias pitched five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and only two walks. Urias improved his record to 5-2 with a 3.71 ERA for the Dodgers.
For the Cubs, Jason Hammel has his second straight disappointing start, allowing three runs and five hits in only 2.1 innings. A bright spot for the Cubs would be that the bullpen trio of Rob Zastryzny, Trevor Cahill, and Travis Wood combined for 5.2 innings of scoreless baseball, giving up only one hit and zero walks.
The Cubs bats gave the strong pitching nothing to work with Sunday, getting blanked in a 1-0 loss. The Cubs wasted a scoreless six inning, three hit outing by Jon Lester in the loss. The Cubs were limited to four hits and struck out 10 times in the loss. This was only the Cubs’ third series loss in the second half of the season and still stand at an amazing 14-game lead over the Cardinals with an 83-47 record after Monday/Tuesday’s epic comeback victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot (and the division) is now at 19.
This series was also the last time Vin Scully will call a Cubs-Dodgers game in his career. Media rights are the biggest moneymaker in sports and are usually straightforward with competitors not liking each other. The Cubs and Dodgers put business aside and allowed for a special moment. Comcast SportsNets Chicago simulcast Scully’s broadcast during the third inning of Sunday’s game. This was a special moment for Cubs fans, as Scully’s voice was heard by generations of Cubs fans for the final time.