Fresh off a win in NLDS Game 5, the Cubs were thrown right into the NLCS fire against the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine Saturday. Chicago looked strong through the first four innings, but LA rallied in the middle innings for a opening game victory. (Box Score)
Why The Cubs Lost
The Cubs’ offense was basically nonexistent after Albert Almora Jr. hit a two-run homer in the 4th inning. Not one hitter reached base after that 4th inning as the Dodgers ‘pen shut things down.
Hector Rondon was the latest member of the Cubs bullpen to falter, allowing the go ahead homer. Mike Montgomery’s woes also continued his issues, with the lefty giving up two runs that solidified the LA lead.
Jose Quintana was pitching well and was holding a 2-0 lead until the 5th inning. Then he walked Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes to put two men on for Yasiel Puig, who doubled into the left-center gap to score Forsythe. Barnes would score on a Charlie Culberson sac fly to tie it.
Center fielder Chris Taylor took Rondon deep to center for a solo homer to give LA a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th. Puig would homer off Montgomery in the 7th to push the lead to 4-2, and the Cubs went quietly after that.
Stats That Matter
- Jose Quintana pitched well, especially considering his appearance Thursday: 5 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 4 K, 2 BB. He ran out of steam in his final inning and the walks turned out to be killers.
- Mike Montgomery has been awful in the playoffs this season: 2 IP, 5 R, 8 H, 1 K, 3 BB. I don’t think Maddon can keep going to him in tight spots at the moment, although that is true of a lot of guys currently.
- Albert Almora Jr.’s homer was the lone bright spot for the Cubs offense as the team collected a total of four hits.
The Cubs lost a game they didn’t have a favorable pitching matchup in. Sunday is a better spot with Jon Lester against Rich Hill. For Chicago to earn that crucial split the offense has to wake up and soon. Offensive efforts like Saturday are going to make for a quick series.
Game 2 of the series is at 6:30 CDT Sunday on TBS as Jon Lester battles former Cubs lefty Rich Hill.