Rapid Reaction: Cubs 7, Dodgers 3
August, 3, 2014
By Brian Kamenetzky | Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- From the start, Sunday’s rubber match between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers was a battle to see which team’s leaky pitching would crack first.
Both starters -- Josh Beckett for the Dodgers and Edwin Jackson for Chicago -- were suspect during the game. But where Jackson managed to make his way through, Beckett -- and the relievers behind him -- could not.
And the Dodgers lost the game 7-3 -- and the series, 2-1.
How it happened: The pitching was poor, but let’s start with the sticks. The Dodgers generated plenty of opportunities off Jackson -- who entered the game with a 5.79 ERA after allowing 25 earned runs in 30 July innings -- but couldn’t generate enough scoring. They squandered an opportunity to do real damage in their half of the first, and finished the day 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Hits: Justin Turner, playing second base on a rare day off for Dee Gordon, did his best impression of L.A.’s All-Star. He led off the game with a double, then singled and stole second in his next trip. Turner also ripped a ball to left in the bottom half of the fifth that was tracked down nicely by Cubs left fielder Chris Coghlan. But Turner did misread a scorching liner off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez in the first, thinking it would be caught by Cubs CF Ryan Sweeney and turning what should have been an RBI double into a very long single, costing the Dodgers at least a run. Better baserunning there and Turner scores, leaving Yasiel Puig on third and Gonzalez on second. Instead, the bases were loaded and Hanley Ramirez followed with a tailor-made 6-4-3 double-play ball, scoring Turner but limiting the Dodgers to one run in what could have been a bigger inning.
Matt Kemp’s renaissance continued, unabated. He was 2-for-4, including another home run, this time a solo shot to left-center in the sixth. It was his 13th of the season and fifth since July 29.
Misses: Only a few hours free of Saturday’s 12-inning, 279-minute affair during which Dodgers manager Don Mattingly employed five relievers, L.A. could have used a lengthy outing from Beckett. It didn’t happen. For the third time in three starts since returning from the disabled list on July 22, Beckett failed to finish the fifth inning. Sunday, he was in and out of trouble from the jump, putting runners on in three of the four innings he threw and driving up his pitch count. In the fifth, he allowed a leadoff double to opposing pitcher Jackson, then threw a flat 1-2 pitch to Coghlan, which was promptly deposited into the bleachers in left center for Coghlan’s sixth home run of the year.
Meanwhile, Brandon League gave up three walks, a hit and three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Final line for Beckett: Four innings, six hits, three walks, 94 pitches, three earned runs.
Stat of the game: 199. That’s the number of pitches Beckett has thrown over his last 8⅓ innings of work. Combined with Dan Haren’s catastrophic July (0-4, 9.47 ERA), the Dodgers are watching the back end of the rotation disintegrate.
Up next: On Monday, the Dodgers kick off a four-game home-and-home series against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium. Zack Greinke (12-6, 2.65), who went 6-2 in 13 starts with the Halos down the stretch in 2012 before signing that offseason with the Dodgers, faces fellow righty Garrett Richards (11-4, 2.74) in the 7:10 p.m. start.