The Dodgers and the Cubs had a home run derby going on Sunday afternoon and the Dodgers won, slugging four home runs as opposed to the Cubs’ three. Cody Bellinger and Kiké Hernández each slugged three-run shots, Yasiel Puig slugged a two-run shot, and Austin Barnes hit a solo homer as the Dodgers beat the Cubs 9-4.
Neither team’s starting pitcher pitched well on Sunday afternoon, as Jon Lester pitched only 3.1 innings and allowed six earned runs while taking the loss, and Clayton Kershaw pitched only 4.1 innings and allowed four earned runs in a no-decision. The game that was advertised as a pitcher’s duel very quickly was changed to a slugfest.
“It sounds like fiction to me, but it happened,” said Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon. “I have not seen [Kershaw] like that. We were on him. It’s just one of those days. Both of them are very good, they’re outstanding and neither one had a good day and [the Dodgers] got us.”
If what I’ve already said seems weird, there’s more. Both Kershaw and Lester had their shortest outings of the year, that isn’t surprising but it is weird that they pitched like that. Kershaw allowed three homers for the second time this year and got his second straight no-decision. He threw 109 pitches through 4.1 innings and was the only Dodger pitcher to allow runs in the series.
Usually, it is Kershaw who picks up the team after a bad game. This time, the rest of the team did their job and picked up their Ace. Hernández led off the second inning with a walk, then Barnes single, bringing Bellinger to the plate. Lester threw a breaking ball and Bellinger got his bat on it. There was no doubt about his hit as the ball sailed into the right field pavilion for a three-run home run, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. He became the fastest in Dodger history to reach ten home runs.
In the third inning, the Dodgers put runners on first and second with one out for Kiké Hernández. With Lester in the hole 3-0, the Dodgers gave Hernández the green light. Lester threw a fastball over the plate and Kiké’s bat found the ball. He drove it over the wall in left field for a three-run shot and a 6-1 Dodgers lead.
With a 6-1 lead, Clayton Kershaw entered the game to pitch the fourth inning. He gave up two more home runs, including a two-run shot by Anthony Rizzo, cutting the Dodgers lead to 6-4. The Dodgers, however, were not done supporting their Ace. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Austin Barnes came to the plate with two outs. Mike Montgomery, the man who notched the save in game seven of the World Series, threw Barnes a 2-0 fastball over the plate. Barnes got his bat on the ball and drove it over the wall in left-center field, joining the home run party and extending the Dodgers lead to 7-4.
The Dodgers were still not done scoring, and they scored for the final time in the seventh inning. Chris Taylor hit a single with one out to bring Puig to the plate. With Puig batting, Taylor stole second base and showed that he can do everything the Dodgers ask. In a 3-1 count, Puig got a fastball over the plate and drove it halfway up the pavilion in left-center field for a two-run home run. The Dodgers had a 9-4 lead and Puig had a huge home run.
Keys To The Game:
Pick Up The Ace:
Clayton Kershaw had a rare day where he struggled. He has had other bad days this season, but he did not even get a quality start for this one. For a pitcher to throw a quality start, he must throw five innings and allow three runs or less. Kershaw allowed four runs over 4.1 innings. The Dodgers, however, did not give up on their Ace. They scored runs until they had enough to be sure that the Cubs would not make a comeback. It also helped that the Dodgers’ bullpen, the Major League bullpen of the week, was lights out again.
Arthritis Flares Up:
In the first inning, Franklin Gutierrez was forced to exit due to an illness. Gutierrez suffers from an immune-arthritic condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. The illness was arthritis that flared up in the first inning. Dave Roberts decided to remove Gutierez from the game, even though Franklin wanted to continue. This will most likely not lead to a DL stint since there is no treatment for the disease and Gutierez has been dealing with it since 2011.
Leaving The Bench:
Yasiel Puig was supposed to have the day off on Sunday, but plans changed quickly. After Franklin Gutierez left the game in the first inning, Yasiel Puig entered to play right field. He helped the team big time, hitting a monstrous 450 foot home run and making a terrific running catch in right field.
The Dodgers will head to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals. Rich Hill will look to bounce back from a terrible start when he walked seven Cardinals. NL ERA leader Mike Leake will pitch for the Cardinals to start a four-game series. The game will start at 11:15 am PT and be televised on SportsNet LA. Also, for you Dodger fans in the Los Angeles area, the next seven Dodger games can be watched live on MLB.TV.