The Chicago Cubs entered Saturday night’s matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 1-4 record on their western road trip. Former Dodger Yu Darvish was looking to post his first victory since April 27th. His subsequent eight starts have been no-decisions, a Cubs record for consecutive no-decisions (h/t Cubs Radio). Darvish would once again not be the pitcher of record, although he pitched what perhaps has been his best game in a Cubs uniform, allowing one run on two hits with one walk and ten strikeouts in 7.0 IP (box score).
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs were stymied most of the game by Dodgers starter Buehler, who did not give up a hit through 5.1 IP. But the Northsiders’ staff pitched well enough to keep the Cubs within striking distance heading into the top of the 9th inning. That’s when Anthony Rizzo gave the Cubs the lead with a two-run blast a two-run blast.
The Cubs were down 1-0 in the top of the 9th inning with their big boppers Kris Bryant, Rizzo and Javier Báez due up to face LA closer Kenley Jansen. Jansen hit Bryant with a pitch, putting the tying run on for Rizzo, who hit a towering drive to right field on a 2-0 pitch from Jansen to give the Cubs a late lead.
Stats that Matter
- Tonight’s no-decision for Darvish will be his ninth consecutive no-decision, although I’m sure he’s happy to have pitched well against his old team and come out flying the W.
- The blown save by Jansen is his third of the year. He only suffered four blown save chances in 2018.
- Pedro Strop picked up his eighth save, making a fantastic defensive play to beat leadoff batter Justin Turner in a footrace to first base and receive the throw from a shifted Rizzo.
This was a nice win for the Cubs, who have had a miserable road trip. The Milwaukee Brewers’ 8-7 loss to the San Francisco Giants and the Cubs’ victory over LA have allowed the Cubs to pull back into a tie for 1st place in the division. The season series with the Dodgers is now tied at 3-3. With a win tomorrow, the Cubs can split the four-game set against the Dodgers and secure a season series advantage over the league leaders.
The series finale is set for 8:05 PM CT Sunday night, another ESPN Sunday Night Baseball TV broadcast. José Quintana (4-6, 3.89 ERA) will face this year’s Dodgers ace, and likely All-Star Game starter, Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-1, 1.36 ERA) in a battle of lefties. Chicago-area fans who prefer not to watch A-Rod mispronounce Albert Almora‘s name on a national broadcast can listen on 670 The Score.