Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 3, Dodgers 2 – April 16, 2023
For the second day in a row, the Cubs entered the bottom of the 9th with a one-run lead against the Dodgers. This time, the Cubs locked it down.
Brad Boxberger got the 9th after Michael Fulmer cruised in the 8th (he momentarily came back out for the 9th, but was lifted for Boxberger when the Dodgers announced a pinch hitter). Boxberger struck out the side (with a considerable assist from a generous strike zone (but it was terrible all day)), with the only runner reaching being a Mookie Betts infield single. Dansby Swanson made an incredible play on that one, but Trey Mancini couldn’t glove his throw. Pretty brutal play at first by Mancini, to be honest, and I’m glad it didn’t matter.
Drew Smyly was really good once again, his second straight strong outing after the rough start in Cincinnati to open his season. More on his performance later, but the short version is that it’s not easy to go into Dodger Stadium and hold them down for 5.2 innings. He did. It was great.
The Cubs had limited chances against Julio Urias, who was his typically annoyingly good self, staying away-away-away, and then coming inside to finish a guy off. With one or two more timely hits, the Cubs could’ve put up a crooked number in the middle innings, but what they were missing was any power against him whatsoever through the first five innings. And he makes so few mistakes that you just have to tip your cap. I was tipping mine by the time the 5th ended.
Dave Roberts tried to extend Urias one too many innings, though, and after the Cubs had worked him into a 30+ pitch inning in the 5th, THEN he finally gave up the power in the 6th when Patrick Wisdom and Cody Bellinger took him deep.
Things got really unnerving in the 7th, with the Dodgers getting a gift run when Seiya Suzuki lost one in the sun, and ultimately loading the bases. But Mark Leiter Jr. wiggled out of it – he’s been SO GOOD this year (and last year!) – and the Dodgers didn’t threaten again.
CUBS WIN THE SERIES IN LOS ANGELES!!! THE CUBS HADN’T DONE THAT IN ALMOST A DECADE!!! THEY ARE GOOD, BABYYYYYYY!!!