The Dodgers being one of the most stacked teams in recent memory (maybe even not-so-recent memory) doesn’t really make series like this any easier. A sweep. Again. And almost entirely non-competitive. The Dodgers are a vastly superior team to the Cubs, but it doesn’t have to be like THIS. Where you’re just constantly shaking your head all night, rolling your eyes, knowing that nothing good is gonna come.
Walker Buehler pitched very well, and the Cubs weren’t particularly threatening outside of Willson Contreras’s two-out RBI single in the first. Just three singles, a double, and a few walks on the night overall for the Cubs, whose bats have fallen completely silent since that hot start. The pitching had some good moments and some letdowns, which can’t happen against the Dodgers. The defense was likewise mixed (heck, it even featured Nico Hoerner’s first error of the year, which is obviously a rarity!).
The umpire scorecard for Laz Diaz is not going to be kind on this one, as he was missing calls – brutally – all night. It screwed the Cubs more than once, and it was pretty effing annoying when nothing else is going right for the Cubs anyway. They don’t need that shit working against them, too.
A lot of that screwjobbing came in the 4th inning, when Justin Steele wasn’t just getting squeezed, he was having key pitches clearly in the zone called balls in PAs that became walks instead of strikeouts. He also had some bad luck on a comebacker that deflected (could’ve easily been an inning-ending double-play long before any damage came), and a play at second that could’ve been the third out that inning with a better throw. That is to say, he pitched way better than the results in that 4th inning reflect. But it’s also true that it was the inning/batter number/pitch count range which has consistently been the point where he’s worn down a bit (and has left us wondering if he’s best used as a multi-inning guy; still wondering).
Steele left the game after warming up that next inning, and the Cubs say it’s a sore thumb. I guess we’ll see what comes of it. Really sucks, because he was pitching as well as he has all year.