CI Recap (6/20/18) – Cubs 4, Dodgers 0: Lester Strong, Defense Dazzles as Cubs Shut Out Dodgers

The Cubs looked to win their series against the Dodgers and seven of the last eight series overall when they took the field for the third time in 26 hours. Jon Lester again stepped up, going seven strong innings to protect an undermanned Chicago bullpen. The offense was able to score enough off of the stingy Ross Stripling to secure the win.

The Cubs jumped out to a quick lead in the bottom of the 1st inning after a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Ben Zobrist led to an Anthony Rizzo RBI groundout. Lester allowed a fair amount of hard contact, but it mostly found defenders’ gloves as he kept the Dodgers off the score sheet. Kyle Schwarber hit a long homer to left-center, his second in as many games, to increase the lead to 2-0.

Javy Baez doubled in the 5th inning and was chased home by a Kris Bryant single. Baez then tripled in the 7th, his third extra-base hit of the game, and scored again on a single from pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella. Joe Maddon asked for a little depth from Lester and he delivered, holding the Dodgers scoreless and throwing nearly 120 pitches.

Anthony Bass, with an assist from a great double play on a liner to Javy, finished the shutout victory. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Won

Lester was predictably terrific in giving the Cubs the long start they needed. The defense was very good on Wednesday, especially when Jason Heyward threw out Chris Taylor at the plate on an attempted sacrifice fly in the 3rd.

Key Moment 

That play at the plate was a big moment; if the Dodgers had scored there it would have tied the game at 1-1. Instead, the Cubs were able to build on their lead and win relatively easily.

Stats That Matter

  • Lester was impressive against the grinding Los Angeles lineup: 7 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 1 K, and 3 BB. He used the wind blowing in to his advantage getting six outs in the air. His season ERA is down to a terrific 2.10 and he has allowed just two runs in four June starts.
  • Heyward continues to hit the ball the opposite way with force. The more he serves the ball to left field, pitchers will be forced to challenge him inside, where he can show some pull power.
  • Baez had been in a slump the end of May and early June, but he now had eight hits the last five games he has played.
  • Bryant had two hard-hit singles today from the leadoff spot after big hits in yesterday’s double-header. Perhaps this signals a hot streak right around the corner.

Bottom Line

The Cubs move into a temporary tie for first place pending the outcome of the Brewers game. They move to 13 games over the .500 mark before heading out on a eight-game road trip to LA and Cincinnati.

On Deck

The Cubs start a four-game series with the Reds Thursday night at Great American Ball Park. The 6:10pm CT contest features Kyle Hendricks and Matt Harvey starting. MLB Network (out of market) and NBC Sports Chicago provide the broadcast.

Back to top button