This game had a bit of everything in it. Tyler Chatwood's interesting beliefs of what consistutes a strike or ball was on full display, and yet despite the traffic he left the game with a chance for a W. The Cubs inability to drive runners in was on full display as they also drew their fair share of walks. And then there was Justin Wilson, Cubs closer as was envisioned when he was acquired and not much longer after. Wilson wasn't hit hard, but walks and a couple of soft hits flipped the game late.
The game stared on a sour note. Joc Pederson hit a leadoff home run. It looked like it was going to be exactly the worst possible kind of start in game one of a doubleheader. Chatwood walked Max Muncy and Justin Turner next, but retired the next three Dodgers to keep the score level. He struck out two. Chatwood walked another two batters in the second inning, but pitched around that and a wild pitch to keep the Dodgers to just a one run lead.
Kenta Maeda ran into trouble in the second inning. Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell singled with one out in the inning. Maeda walked Cubs catcher and pitcher whisperer Chris Gimenez to load the bases. Maeda went to a full count against his counterpart, but Chatwood swung over the top of a breaking ball low out of the zone for the second out. Kris Bryant delievered in his third appearance as the leadoff man. Bryant ripped a ground rule double into the right field foul stands. That drove in a pair to put the Cubs ahead 2-1.
Chatwood pitched another three innings. He had runners on each inning, but only walked one more batter in his final frames. He did hit a batter with a pitch, but he never had more than a single runner on in any inning. He finished strong by striking out the side after walking Muncy again in the fifth inning. The final strike out was his sixth on the afternoon, which nudged his total strikeouts to just one above his walk total for both the game and season.
Maeda wouldn't make it past the fourth inning. He retired the first two batters, but Jason Heyward ripped a solid single into right. Maeda completely lost command of the strikezone and walked Ben Zobrist for his final plate appearance. Adam Liberatore helped liberate a Cubs baserunner in scoring position. Anthony Rizzo was able to hit a single into left that drove in Heyward giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
Steve Cishek pitched the sixth inning and retired Cody Bellinger to start the frame. Chris Taylor pulled a triple down the left field line. It was not Kyle Schwarber's finest defensive work either as Taylor easily made it into third base. Yasiel Puig hit a high shallow pop fly into right center. It dropped between three Cubs fielders. If it had been caught, it was quite likely that Taylor remained planted at third for at least one more hitter. Instead it was a bloop double for Puig as it became a 3-2 ballgame. Cishek retired the next two batters to send the Cubs back to the plate.
The Cubs had plenty of chances early on in the game, but were unable to capitalize on chances like the fifth inning which saw the first two Cubs hitters walked or a two out bases loaded situation in the third inning. The Cubs were retired in order three of the final four innings. The last chance for the Cubs to score insurance runs came in the eighth inning. Javier Báez had entered the game earlier as a defensive replacement in a double switch. In his first plate appearance back he singled back up the middle. Kris Bryant was very close to send the ball out of the ballpark, but instead it was a double with Báez having to hold at third. You will never guess what happens next, unless you guess that the Cubs would score zero runs.
Randy Rosario faced one batter in the seventh inning. After the walk to start the inning, Pedro Strop came in to pitch two scoreless innings. That sent it to the ninth inning where back tightness meant that the closer this afternoon was Justin Wilson. He walked Austin Barnes to start the inning. Muncy flew out to center for the first out. Justin Turner got a borderline two strike call for a ball that extended his at bat. Turner hits a bloop into center to move the tying run into scoring position. Yasmani Grandal struck out on a good called strike, and was livid at this fact. He became the second Dodger player to be thrown out for arguing balls and strikes. Interim manager Bob Geren, since Roberts was thrown out along with Matt Kemp for the same thing earlier in the game, went to his last pinch hitter on the bench in Kyle Farmer. Justin Willson had Farmer down to his final strike when Farmer was able to connect on a slider at the top of the zone. He hit it down the third base line past a diving Kris Bryant. That allowed bother runners to score to flip the game.
Kenley Jansen looks fixed from whatever problems he had at the start of the year as he mowed down the three Cubs he faced. The Cubs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in game one.
Tyler Walkwood. You get it? Because he walks so many batters.
Tyler Chatwood continues to put up decent back of the baseball card stats. I am not sure that it is sustainable how he is doing this, but right now the Cubs fifth starter has a 3.95 ERA. That is a very respectable ERA from your fifth starter. Chatwood has filthy stuff, and he gets plenty of swings and misses when he is remotely around the strikezone. That is evidenced by his 64 strikeouts in 68.1 innings. He also has walked 63 batters in that timeframe. That is why Baseball Prospectus says his Deserved Run Average (DRA) was 7.94 heading into this game. At some point either his commamnd will improve or his runs given up will start matching his peripherals.
Sparkling Leadoff Man
The offense wasn't great today. They worked a lot of walks and managed to put a lot of runners, but they left 24 men on base today. The lone bright spot on offense was the good leadoff hitter, Kris Bryant. He hasn't looked locked in for a while, but he doubled twice in this game. He came very close to delivering an as it turned out much needed insurance runs in the eighth inning. But still the best sign from this outing was Kris Bryant looking back like a MVP candidate.
I take that back because Báez getting back onto the field was another bright spot.
This about all I can muster up for this one.