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More of the Same: Cubs’ bats stay cold in 6-0 loss in LA

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Photo courtesy of AP

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It was only a few nights ago when the Cubs were shutout by Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. It was a rare wake-up call for the Cubs as they were only shut out a few times by opposing teams during the regular season. Going into Wednesday night all that they could hope for were some runs on the board. Unfortunately, the Cubs’ bats were stifled, this time by ex-Cub Rich Hill, and the growing anxiety situation at the plate didn’t get any for the second time in this series.

Tuesday night’s starting pitchers, Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta, have both been good over the course of this year making up a solid pitching matchup. Arrieta was coming in with a 3.10 ERA in the regular season opposed to Hill’s regular season ERA of 2.12. Hill was looking for his first postseason victory in is 11 year career.

The game began similar to other games in this series. The first couple of innings were scoreless for both sides until the bottom of the third when rookie sensation Corey Seager began the scoring with a base hit into right field that easily scored Andrew Toles from second. Thus began yet another long game for the Cubs and their fans.

The next runs to be put on the board would be by the Dodgers once again. With Josh Reddick on third and two outs in the fourth, Yasmani Grandal hit a two run shot out to right center field off of an Arrieta sinker, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. At that point in the game the Cubs couldn’t buy a big hit on offense. Nobody was able to hit the deep-ball or come up in the clutch when there were men in scoring position. Addison Russell was benched midway through the game, Chris Coghlan got his opportunity to take a chance and failed to deliver, as did Jason Heyward (who struck out on an abysmal three pitch at-bat) who was benched for Jorge Soler, and even Almora Jr. got his first taste of the batter’s box this series to no avail. Rich Hill and the Dodgers defense was just too much for a struggling Cubs offense.

The 3-0 lead was not enough for the Dodgers come the sixth inning. On one of the first pitches of the bottom of the 6th inning, Justin Turner hit a solo home run to center field to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead. 

Finally in the Dodgers’ final at-bat of the night they tacked on two more runs to close out game three by the final score of 6-0.

My biggest takeaway from game three is the Cubs offensive slump. The Cubs were shut out by the Dodgers in game two when Clayton Kershaw, one of the best pitchers in the league, took the bump. The game was expected to be low scoring, but only few were expecting the Cubs to get completely shutout. In game two they faced Rich Hill. He’s isn’t the best pitcher the Dodgers have to offer, but he still can thrown a mean curveball from multiple delivery slots. On Tuesday, the Cubs should have at least gotten some runs on the board and to be shutout for 18 straight innings in the NLCS is inexcusable. Hill is not the type of pitcher that can throw shutouts and same with the Dodger bullpen, especially when they are playing the team that had the best regular season record in the MLB. As an organization, the Dodgers have played the third most postseason games out of any MLB franchise ever and this was their first time in the playoffs getting back-to-back shutouts.

Rizzo, Russell, Heyward and others have been atrocious on offense this postseason. I noticed this same trend right before the All-Star break of the season. Pitching began to struggle and the Cubs offense could not produce. The Cubs ended up losing most of their games before the break and surrendering the first place spot in the MLB to the Giants. Now, the Cubs don’t have another half season to fix their struggles. They are now two games from being eliminated from the playoffs and if they want to have a shot at coming back and beating the Dodgers they need to turn things around very soon regarding their approach at the plate. The offense needs to produce stronger numbers to give the Cubs a shot at all of the glory. Recently, the Cubs have been waiting out pitchers to see fastballs when they get ahead in the count. Simply put, postseason pitchers are able to throw first pitch breaking balls for strikes, rendering the Cubs’ hitters in tough hitting situations behind in the count, potentially causing their slumps. 

“Nothing has been different,” Joe Madodon reiterated in the post game report. “The batting practice, or lack there of is the same. it’s just about mental approach.”

Even though the last few days for the Cubs have been rough, the team that I have been watching nearly all season has never seemed to be out of anything. Whether it’s down a game in the series or down by three runs in the 9th,the Cubs are just too tough to count out just yet. Today the Cubs have a 7:00 game against Julio Urias, the 20 year old Dodgers’ pitcher who will be the youngest starter in postseason history. He will face off against postseason veteran John Lackey who leads all MLB pitchers with 26 postseason starts on the bump. The Cubs are looking to get this series evened up once again. The last thing that they want to do is fall down in the series 3-1, then have to face Clayton Kershaw in a decisive game. Today’s game is pivotal for the Cubs’ chances at  postseason survival. Catch the action on FS1 and the following morning of the game be sure to get the full post-game wrap-up on The Forest Scout.   

About the Writer
Joe Thomas, Author

Joe Thomas is a staff writer for The Forest Scout who has a burning passion for sports. He covers high school football, hockey and baseball along with...

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More of the Same: Cubs’ bats stay cold in 6-0 loss in LA