Video Credit: MLB

FSM Essential Recap: Dodgers vs Cubs – Series 25

Los Angeles Dodgers (46-31)  |  Chicago Cubs (42-35)


“Say ‘Dodgers,’ and people know you’re talking about baseball…Say ‘Padres,’ and they look around for a priest.”

– Tommy Lasorda


Game 4:


Dodgers vs Cubs
Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw stuck with his best pitch and was backed by a pair of early home runs in the Dodgers’ third straight win, 7-1 over the Cubs on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw struck out a season-best 13 batters on Sunday, his highest regular-season strikeout total in four years. The first six strikeouts, and 10 of the 13, ended on Kershaw’s slider, his most used effective weapon.

In at-bats that end on a Kershaw slider in 2021, opponents are hitting .181 (39-for-216) with 93 strikeouts. It’s no wonder he throws the pitch 47 percent of the time, including 49 of his 101 pitches on Sunday. The Cubs were 0-for-13 in at-bats ending with a slider on Sunday and had trouble picking it up all game.

Any time you get to pitch a 4:15 game at Dodger Stadium, with the shadows, that’s a good game,Kershaw said.

Kershaw got 22 whiffs on the slider, his most in a start this season. He had 26 total whiffs against the Cubs, his most in one start since 2016.

As far as the sequencing, using every part of the strike zone,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s hard to imagine him being any better.

The dominance with the slider helped set up Kershaw’s curve, which he only threw 11 times but finished off three strikeouts with the pitch. Public Enemy No. 3 has a nice ring to it.

Kershaw’s only blemishes on the night came courtesy of Javier Báez, whose solo shot in the fourth inning gave Chicago its only run against Kershaw. On a night that Paula Abdul was in attendance at Dodger Stadium, it made sense that Báez’s homer was hit to right field. After all, oppo seats attract.

Kershaw didn’t even have a three-ball count until his last batter in the sixth inning. Then in the seventh, he walked Báez, just like he did on May 4 at Wrigley Field. Báez against Kershaw has walked twice in four plate appearances this season, and against everyone else, he has seven walks in 267 trips to the plate.


Dodgers vs Cubs
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Sunday was the first eight-inning start and the first 13-strikeout start for Kershaw since Game 2 of last year’s wild card series against the Brewers. As he walked off the mound at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, Kershaw got a standing ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd, only to be interrupted by a routine check for foreign substances by home plate umpire Ryan Blakney. The crowd turned to boos until the inspection was finished, then serenaded Kershaw with more cheers as he finished his trip to the dugout.

I told him ‘You might get booed here for a little bit,Kershaw said with a laugh. “It’s part of the game now. They’re just doing their job. They’re doing what they’re asked to do. You just kind of roll with it and keep going.

While Kershaw was pounding the strike zone all game, Adbert Alzolay was wild in the second inning. He hit Matt Beaty to open the frame — tying Beaty for the team lead, with eight HBP — then walked Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux. Zach McKinstry followed with a towering home run into the right-field pavilion.

McKinstry with one swing set a career-high for RBI in a game and hit the sixth grand slam of the season by the Dodgers. The club record is 10 grand slams, hit in 2004. McKinstry said it was the first grand slam he’s ever hit at any level.

But the scoring wasn’t over in the inning, thanks to a throwing error by Báez extending the frame. Cody Bellinger followed with his second home run in as many days.

Bellinger, whose solo home run on Saturday delivered the Dodgers’ first walk-off win of the season, drove in a third run in the sixth with a fly ball to right field after Mookie Betts tripled.


Game 4 Boxscore:


WP: Clayton Kershaw (9-7)

LP: Adbert Alzolay (4-7)

HR: Zach McKinstry (5), Cody Bellinger (3); Javier Báez (18)



The Dodgers welcome the first-place Giants to town for a quick two-game series at Dodger Stadium beginning Monday night with the first pitch at 7:10 on SportsNet LA. Trevor Bauer starts the opener for Los Angeles, facing Anthony DeSclafani for San Francisco.




Game 3:


Dodgers vs Cubs
Photo Credit: Alex Gallardo/AP

Cody Bellinger’s season full of stops and starts has been frustrating, but he had reason to smile on Saturday. His solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning gave the Dodgers a 3-2 win over the Cubs and delivered the first walk-off win of the year for Los Angeles.

Bellinger didn’t even start on Saturday, held out of the lineup as a rest day in just his fourth game back off his latest stint on the injured list. But after entering the game on a double switch in the seventh inning, Bellinger got his chance.

The home run brought the Dodger Stadium crowd of 45,420 — just the fifth Dodgers home game with no capacity restrictions — to its feet.

“It felt great,” Bellinger said. “It’s so good to have them back.”

It was just Bellinger’s second home run of the season (which doesn’t include the ball he hit over the fence for a single on opening day), and his seasonal line is .225/.353/.352.

“He understands his four at-bats per night is certainly a value, but so is his defense,” manager Dave Roberts said earlier Saturday. “You can’t get it all back in one night or one week. I think that as he matures as a big-league ballplayer, he’s realized that.”

“There’s a lot of season left,” Bellinger said.

Julio Urías rebounded from his worst start of the season to set a career-high with 12 strikeouts on Saturday, executing a simple plan revealed by his manager.

“I think it’s going to be him on the attack,” Roberts said before Saturday’s game. “I just think that, with his entire mix, I expect him to be aggressive in the strike zone.”

In giving up six runs in Monday’s loss in San Diego, he threw only 59.8 percent of his pitches for strikes. That’s noteworthy because entering Saturday, Urías led baseball in strike percentage (71.4 percent) and threw first-pitch strikes 72.4 percent of the time, third-best in MLB.

Urías on Saturday threw 69 percent of his pitches for strikes, but more importantly, all his pitches were effective. He got 15 swings and misses, and 20 called strikes, totaling 41.7 percent of his pitches. Urías avoided the dreaded first-inning ambush, snapping a string of five straight games in which the Dodgers allowed at least one home run in the opening frame. Then he lasted 5⅓ innings, allowing only two runs.


Dodgers vs Cubs
Photo Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Instead, it was the Dodgers who struck first in this one. Doubles by Mookie Betts and Max Muncy brought home the first run, then Justin Turner grounded a ball away from the shift into right field. Three batters in, the Dodgers led 2-0, just the second time in their last 10 games they scored in the first, and after a week that saw them outscored 10-0 in the opening frame.

Scoring opportunities presented themselves throughout the remainder of the game. Two of their best opportunities were thwarted by rocket-armed catcher Willson Contreras throwing out Chris Taylor at third base — on an attempted steal after a leadoff double in the second and a pickoff in the fourth.

Those were the first caught stealing and the first pickoff of Taylor this season.


Game 3 Boxscore:


WP: David Price (3-0)

LP: Keegan Thompson (3-2)

HR: Cody Bellinger (2); Anthony Rizzo (10)



Clayton Kershaw starts the series finale against the Cubs Adbert Alzolay. It is the ESPN Sunday Night Game of the Week, so the game will be seen nationally on ESPN with the first pitch slated for 4:08.




Game 2:


AJ Pollock and Max Muncy each hit two-run home runs in the eighth inning, giving the Dodgers a 6-2 win over the Cubs on Friday night at Dodger Stadium, jolting awake an offense that has been dormant all week.

Ryan Tepera was one of three Chicago relievers to help finish off Thursday night’s no-hitter, the seventh recognized no-hitter in the majors this season, and the fourth straight loss for the Dodgers. But working on his second straight night, Tepera opened the eighth inning of a tie game by walking Gavin Lux on eight pitches. Three pitches later, on Tepera’s 11th pitch of the night, Pollock took him deep.


Dodgers vs Cubs
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

“I knew I hit it well, but I wasn’t sure if I got too under it,” Pollock said. “It was nice seeing Joc [Pederson] run after it and not be able to catch it.”

It was Pollock’s second home run in 19 games since returning from a left hamstring strain and his first long ball since June 12.

“The hit by AJ, there was a big exhale in the dugout,” manager Dave Roberts said.

Mookie Betts followed with a single, then stole second, and Muncy followed with a two-run home run of his own, the Dodgers’ third of the night.

Six runs and eight hits are highs this week for the Dodgers.

It took a little bit to shake off the rust on Friday, but the Dodgers got their first hit since Wednesday when Cody Bellinger led off the second inning with a single to center field. A stolen base and two ground outs brought Bellinger home; the manufactured run a welcome sight for a team that was just 5-for-42 (.119) with runners on base during the four-game losing streak.


Dodgers vs Cubs
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Zach McKinstry homered in the third, giving the Dodgers their first lead of the week in their 39th inning of play.

Runs were still incredibly hard to coax out of Jake Arrieta, who allowed hit hits and three walks in his five innings. Despite all the baserunners, including Max Muncy reaching base on an error in the fifth, the Dodgers stranded the bases loaded twice. They were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position against Arrieta.

L.A.’s only hit with a runner in scoring position in the game was Muncy’s home run in the eighth.

“The clubhouse was good today. I mean, what are you going to do. Stuff like that happens,” Pollock said. “We were ready to go today, hit some balls hard. We could have had a couple runs earlier, and it just didn’t happen. When you’re able to score those runs late, it takes a lot of pressure off, for sure.”


Game 2 Boxscore:


WP: Blake Treinen (2-3)

LP: Ryan Tepera (0-1)

HR: Zach McKinstry (4), AJ Pollock (6), Max Muncy (15); Kris Bryant (15)



Julio Urías is back on the mound on Saturday afternoon for the Dodgers with Alec Mills starting for Chicago. The first pitch is at 4:15 and can be seen on Fox.




Game 1:

Dodgers vs Cubs
Photo Credit: Michael Owens/Getty Images

Zach Davies and the bullpen combined to throw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Thursday night. It’s the first time in franchise history that the Cubs have thrown a combined no-hitter.


Davies was the leading man, as he gave the Cubs six strong innings of no-hit ball. In his six innings, he struck out four but did issue five walks. His struggle with his command was a large reason the Cubs had to pull him after six.

Entering the seventh inning, Davies was already at 94 pitches. He likely would have gone back out there to start the inning, but with an opportunity to add some insurance runs in the seventh, manager David Ross opted to go that route. Chicago ended up scoring a run that inning, giving them a comfortable 4-0 lead.

Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, and Craig Kimbrel followed Davies. They had three combined strikeouts but also had three combined walks. Kimbrel, who has been arguably the best closer in all of baseball this season, stuck out the side in the ninth to secure the no-hitter.

Switching sides, Walker Buehler wasn’t awful, but things won’t look great when you don’t have your team record a hit. He threw six innings, extending his streak to begin the season. However, his stretch of games without taking a loss came to an end. In his six innings, Buehler struck out six and allowed three runs. All three runs came courtesy of the long ball.


Dodgers vs Cubs
Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo

If you want a silver lining for a no-hitter, it’s the fact the Dodgers were still able to draw eight walks. Aside from that, oof. L.A. had numerous opportunities to put runs on the board and make this a game.


In the first inning, they had runners on first and second with two outs. Albert Pujols grounded out, ending any hope of a rally. Cody Bellinger walked to begin the fourth inning but was stranded there. Those were really the only notable things from the offense last night.

“I think they all needed to get a walk in, just to make my heart rate go up a little bit,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “You get to the ninth, I don’t know, I’ve been as nervous in a long time with a 4-0 lead and Craig Kimbrel on the mound as I was tonight.”

“This is an awesome moment,” Davies said. “The World Series, I think something like that probably tops it. But even though it wasn’t solo and it was a combined effort, being a part of history is something special.”

Over L.A.’s last 40 innings, they’ve scored a total of seven runs. The Dodgers are now tied with the Padres for second place in the NL West and are 4.5 games behind the Giants.


Game 1 Boxscore:


WP: Zach Davies (5-4)

LP: Walker Buehler (7-1)

HR: Javy Baez (17) Willson Contreras (13)



The Dodgers will start Tony Gonsolin tonight. He will be looking for his first win fo the season against the Cubs Jake Arrieta, who has struggled thus far in 2021. The first pitch is at 7:10 and can be seen on SportsNet LA.


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