Dodgers Swept By Cubs – 5/5/21
Like the last two series they played, the Dodgers entered the final game against the Cubs trying to avoid a sweep. They dropped both games of the doubleheader yesterday and looked to Buehler on the mound to help turn things around.
Buehler On Fire
Buehler looked locked in from the get-go in this game. In the first inning, he came in pumping 97 MPH sinkers and four-seamers. His velocity this year had been down compared to previous years. Yet in his last two starts before this one, he had started hitting 97 on the gun more consistently. He struck out the side on 18 pitches in the first and made it look easy. In the third inning, he gave up a leadoff double to Duffy but worked around it, stranding him at third.
Mad Max, Road Warrior
Into the fourth inning, the Dodgers were still looking for their first hit of the game. Seager and Turner both striking out to start the inning. It felt like the Dodgers would have to wait to get their hit. But Max Muncy, who went deep in last night’s game, found his power stroke once more and took a fastball on the outside of the plate and planted it in the left-field bleachers. Dodgers had their first hit, run, and lead all in one swing. They were up 1-0, and the way Buehler was pitching, it seemed like that was a decent start.
Dodgers added to their lead in the fifth inning when Taylor led off the inning with a base hit, and Lux brought him around to score on a double. Even though Lux had two hits in the series finale against the Brewers and two hits in the first game of the doubleheader yesterday, he has struggled since returning from the IL. Seeing him go the opposite way for an extra-base hit felt like such a huge moment and one I’m hoping we see a lot more of this season. Dodgers were leading the Cubs 2-0 after their ABs in the 5th.
The fifth inning started strong well for Buehler, striking out Heyward for his seventh of the night. He got Bote to fly out on the second pitch, and there were two down. Duffy, who had the Cubs only hit of the game, singled with two down, bringing Marisnick to the plate, who homered to tie the game 2-2. Cubs had their chance again in the sixth to tack on some runs, but Buehler did the damn thing and worked out of a tough jam. With runners on second and third with one out, he struck out Contreras and let out a yell. Fired up, he broke Heyward’s bat to end the inning. This was a much better outing for Buehler coming off his tough one against the Reds.
The Dodgers offense wasn’t done just yet. In the sixth inning, Seager and Turner both singled to open things up. Muncy watched four straight balls to load the bases with nobody out, bringing Smith to the plate. Smith put a good charge into a cutter just missing a grand slam, but it was plenty deep as the Dodgers retook the lead now up 3-2. Taylor and Beaty couldn’t find a way to drive the others home. After Buehler gave up the tying shot in the fifth, it was a sigh of relief to see the Dodgers take back the lead.
What felt like a good game for the Dodgers quickly turned into that same feeling we’ve had watching the Dodgers for the last week and a half. Treinen led the inning off walking Joc. The real issue came on the next batter in Bryant. Bryant hit a hard grounder to the hole at short, and Seager made a great backhanded play (finally!) to pick it but immediately threw the ball away, allowing both runners to advance and be safe. Instead of two outs or maybe even one (Bryant is a quick guy), the Cubs had the tying run at third and go-ahead run at second with nobody out. Cubs did end up bringing the run home on a Baez ground out. That was the only run that came across to score, but it was more than enough as the game was now tied 3-3 heading to the 9th.
Dodgers Pull Ahead
The Dodgers started the 10th inning with Lux on second. Betts and Seager quickly got things going by grounding out. Turner drew a walk putting runners on the corner for Muncy with two down. Up to this point, the Dodgers were 0-for-20 with RISP this series. Then Max Muncy did his thing and drove a ball to the left-center gap! Lux scored easily from third, and Turner got in there just late and was thrown out to end the inning. BUT the Dodgers had the lead once again and were three outs away from avoiding the sweep.
Jansen took over in the bottom half and was squeezed right away by the home plate ump. Rizzo took his base, putting two on with nobody out. A wild pitch that could also be argued as a passed ball on Smith allowed the runners to move into scoring position, and Joc tied it up with a sac fly. Roberts decided to walk the next two batters, loading the bases for Contreras with one down. The move paid off as Jansen got Contreras to hit into an inning-ending double play!
After the Cubs tied it up in the 10th, the Dodgers found their way back on top, thanks to a mistake from the Cubs. Smith singled to start the inning, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Taylor was called out on strikes bringing Beaty to the plate. Beaty hit a grounder right at Rizzo, WHO DIDN’T TAG FIRST and threw the ball to Baez, who laid the tag on Smith. Cubs thought the inning was over, but instead, the Dodgers took a 5-4 lead. Lux singled in his AB, and Pollock came into pinch-hit and drew a walk loading the bases for Mookie, who grounded out to end the inning. The Dodgers caught the biggest break, and now it was up to the bullpen not to blow it.
But if you guessed they did, you would be right. After two strikeouts by Cleavinger to start the inning, he gave up a base hit to Duffy, which tied the game. Rizzo ended up walking it off for the Cubs with an opposite-field base hit, and the Dodgers got swept by the Cubs in Chicago.
At Least We’re Not Getting Stomped
If you’ve been following my game recaps, you know I’ve been trying incredibly hard to stay positive through this mess. At this point, it’s getting tough to do. Knowing how talented this team is and watching them give up wins night after night has been tough. The one positive is that they’re losing close games, which means once they get going, these should all be easy wins. Hopefully, they get going soon because I think most of us in the fanbase are getting tired of watching this type of baseball every night.
Luckily, they have a day off tomorrow before heading to Anaheim on Friday for a 3-game series. The first pitch will be at 6:38 PM PDT.