Chicago Cubs unable to solve Kershaw, fall to Dodgers in opener


Kershaw proves to be too much as Cubs drop third straight

These road trips are always difficult ones for any team, but especially for the Chicago Cubs. As they battle for a playoff spot they run right through Los Angeles, a team determined to hold on to the NL West. Facing their second former Cy Young winner in as many days, the Cubs offense once again struggled. They managed just one run on Anthony Rizzo‘s solo home run in the fourth as they lost 4-1 in the opener.

Clayton Kershaw (11-6, 2.24) continues to pitch well as he struck out 14 over eight innings. The Dodgers (71-56) offense didn’t fare all that much better as they scraped together just six hits, but made them count for four runs–three off of starter Jason Hammel (7-6, 3.42) who went 5+ in taking the loss.

The Cubs (73-54) watched the former Phillies infield duo of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley combine to score the first run in the third on an Utley RBI triple. Rizzo’s solo home run in the fourth tied it up, but the Dodgers sixth help put the game away.

Hammel took the loss, but his performance was much improved. Walks and wild pitches didn’t help his cause, but it was a Miguel Montero pickoff play on Utley at third that got away to allow the go-ahead run to score. A walk to Justin Turner followed before Hammel left the game for Travis Wood.

After inducing a double play ball from Scott Van Slyke which allowed a run to score, Carl Crawford singled and was followed by a Yasmani Grandal walk. Enrique Hernandez then hit an RBI single to center to make it 4-1, giving Kershaw all the support he would need.

Starlin Castro continued to play a solid second base defensively, making several slick plays in the field. And newly acquired Fernando Rodney made his Cubs debut as he pitched a scoreless eight.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow night as Jon Lester (8-9, 3.44) faces Mat Latos (4-9, 4.81).

Next: The revival of Cubs' closer Rondon