Sunday, August 4, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 1, Cubs 0
By Jesse Rogers
Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday:
How it happened: On a pitcher-friendly day at Wrigley Field, the lone run of the game scored in the second inning when A.J. Ellis singled home Hanley Ramirez, who walked to open the inning. That was Carlos Villanueva’s only bad inning as he walked the first two hitters. Stephen Fife pitched well coming off the disabled list, leaving with the bases loaded in the sixth as reliever Chris Withrow got Donnie Murphy on a popup and pinch hitter Cole Gillespie on a groundout. It would be the only inning the Cubs would threaten to score a run.
Key moment: With men on first and second in the sixth, Dale Sveum elected not to bunt the slumping Cody Ransom, who ended up striking out. Logan Watkins followed with a bloop hit which would have scored the runner from third, but Dioner Navarro had to hold up and the next two hitters failed to bring home a run. Starlin Castro was available to pinch hit at the time but Sveum elected to leave him on the bench.
What it means: The Dodgers swept the four-game series without giving up a run in the final 23 innings -- and that’s without stars Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw throwing a pitch. It’s the first time since 1954 they accomplished that in Chicago.
The Cubs are going to have to do something about third base. Ransom is down to .200 and Luis Valbuena is on the disabled list. They could always move Junior Lake there or call up Mike Olt, who was acquired in the Matt Garza trade -- though he’s struggling at Triple-A. Ransom’s glove has been fine, but with no future on the team, what’s the point of playing him?
Outside the box: Watkins grounded out twice before collecting his first major league hit, a bloop over shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
The Cubs used their 47th and 48th players (Murphy and Watkins) this season, just five players off the team record set last year.
The Dodgers won their 14th consecutive road game, three off the National League record.
Before the game, Sveum announced a change in his pitching rotation, splitting up his left-handed starters. Edwin Jackson will start on Tuesday in Philadelphia, Travis Wood on Wednesday, followed by Jeff Samardzija, Chris Rusin and Villanueva.
What’s next: The Cubs have an off-day on Monday before starting a road trip which begins in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Jackson will face Kyle Kendrick in the series opener.