Tuesday night was a pitching showdown between former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and former Cubs cast off Rich Hill. The matchup on paper of Game 3 of the NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers was supposed to favor the Cubs as they had their horse on the mound hoping to get the victory.
That wasn’t the case in Los Angeles as Hill out dueled Arrieta as the Dodgers shut out the Cubs for the second straight game, this time the final score was 6-0. This was the first time the Cubs have been shut out in back to back games since May of 2014.
Arrieta didn’t have his best stuff as he gave up six hits and four earned runs in just five innings. On the other side, Hill pitched six strong innings and kept the Cubs hitters at bay mixing up his nasty curveball and pin point fastball.
The Cubs hitters couldn’t muster up much against Hill but the offense though did get him in trouble in the 2nd inning as they had runners on 2nd and 3rd and only 1 out. Addison Russell came to the dish without a hit in the NLCS and abruptly struck out. Next up was Game 1 hero Miguel Montero against Hill. Hill got Montero to ground out weakly to second base to get out of trouble with no damage.
The Dodgers got on the board in the 3rd inning against Arrieta as outfielder Andrew Toles led off with a single. Hill was up next and grounded out to third, moving Toles to second base. Chase Utley popped out and then Corey Seager came up and knocked a 2 out single to right, scoring Toles. Arrieta struck out Justin Turner to end the inning.
The fourth inning is where the Dodgers broke the game open against Arrieta as Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal hammered a pitch 404 feet into the bleachers in right for a two run home run and a 3-0 lead.
Arrieta lasted just one batter in the sixth inning as Turner led off the inning with a blast to dead center that cleared the fence for a solo shot and a 4-0 lead. With the way the Cubs were pitching and their lack of hitting, the Dodgers lead seemed to be out of hand.
The Dodgers added on in the bottom of the 8th against Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery. Joc Pederson double to left, scoring Yasiel Puig who had singled an at bat earlier. Pederrson abruptly stole third base with Grandal at the plate. Grandal then grounded out to shortstop, scoring Pederson. That was all the scoring for LA.
The Dodgers bullpen shut the door once again as Kenley Jansen got the final 4 outs of the game to secure the Game 3 victory and a 2-1 series lead for LA.
The Cubs are mired in an offensive slump and their big bats haven’t been doing it in this series. Javy Baez had a 6 game postseason hitting streak and was the hottest hitter in the lineup until game 3. Baez was moved up in the lineup from 7th in the order to 5th and went 0-4 in the game.
MVP candidate Anthony Rizzo and slick fielding shortstop Addison Russell are stuck in horrible posteseason slumps and both were moved down in the order by manager Joe Maddon.
I’ve seen social media blow up saying Maddon needs to bench Rizzo and Russell. When 2 of your top 3 RBI guys are in a slump, you do not take them both out of the starting lineup, you let them work their way out of it. Jason Heyward didn’t start the game as Jorge Soler took his spot in right field, though Maddon eventually pulled the plug on that experiment and Heyward ended up pinch hitting for Soler but struck out swinging. Cubs fans need to have patience with this team.
This year, when they have been down they have come back so it is a little premature when people start saying “series over” when game 3 just ended. It is a 7 game series and hopefully Cubs fans knew coming in it wasn’t going to be a cake walk in the NLCS.