As the schedule-makers would have it, the Cubs and Dodgers played their entire season series in 2017 before either team had played 50 total games. The Cubs had their season-opening home series at Wrigley Field in April against the Dodgers, and then played them in Los Angeles on the weekend before Memorial Day.
The first of those two series went pretty well; the second, not so much.
Here’s a look back at all six Cubs/Dodgers regular-season games from this year.
The Cubs began this day with pomp and ceremony, raising championship banners on new flagpoles in the center-field bleachers, but not until after a fairly intense line of showers delayed both the ceremony and the game. During the delay, the Cubs treated fans to David Ross’ appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” on the left-field video board at Wrigley:
When Wrigley Field was checking up on David Ross on Dancing With The Stars: pic.twitter.com/nrJfW0ws06— Mark (@tole_cover) April 11, 2017
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead into the middle innings. Kris Bryant doubled in one of the runs and the other scored on a groundout by Jon Lester. Lester allowed one run in six innings before departing, but Pedro Strop and Koji Uehara couldn’t hold the lead in the eighth and a Chase Utley groundout scored the tying run.
Wade Davis, in his first Wrigley appearance as a Cub, allowed a couple of baserunners in the top of the ninth, but got out of the inning without giving up a run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jon Jay singled and advanced to second on a groundout. He then stole third base and Anthony Rizzo came to the plate:
The Dodgers were 60-5 (!) in games in which Kenley Jansen appeared in 2017. Rizzo’s single was the only game-winning hit off Jansen all year. (The loss went to Sergio Romo, who had allowed the hit to Jay.)
More ceremony followed on this day, as Cubs players, coaches and executives received their World Series rings in a pre-game ceremony from fans chosen in a contest.
Then Brandon McCarthy and three relievers (including Jansen) shut the Cubs out on five hits, all singles. No Cubs runner got past second base.
Andrew Toles led off the game with a home run, and on a 45-degree night, really everyone could have just gone home after that, the only run the Dodgers needed. John Lackey wound up throwing six good innings (four hits, 10 strikeouts) but the Cubs couldn’t generate any offense.
This game was so long ago that neither of the starting pitchers made it to the postseason. Hyun-Jin Ryu was left off the Dodgers’ division series roster (and likely won’t make the NLCS roster either), and Cubs starter Brett Anderson finished 2017 with the Blue Jays. Ryu didn’t make that roster primarily because of his lack of experience in relief — check out this interesting comment by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts about that:
"Guys don't pitch on short rest in the postseason," Roberts said.
This was the only start Anderson made for the Cubs in which he didn’t allow a run. That was partly luck, not design, as he issued four walks and threw 90 pitches in five innings. The Dodgers stranded RISP in the third and fourth and loaded the bases off Anderson in the fifth before Anderson got Yasiel Puig to pop up to end the inning.
Javier Baez led off the fifth with a single. Jon Jay batted for Anderson and was hit by a pitch. Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo had RBI singles in that inning to make it 4-0. Earlier in the game Rizzo and Addison Russell had hit solo homers to help pace this win.
The key play in this game was actually an injury. Ben Zobrist hurt his wrist on an awkward swing against the Dodgers’ Alex Wood. Zobrist, who had gotten off to a very slow start, had hit .438/.471/.813 (14-for-32) with three home runs in the 10 games prior to this injury. He took two days off and tried to play through it, but that only wound up in a horrific .106/.226/.196 (5-for-46) run for the next 13 games before he finally went on the DL.
If you’re thinking I’m trying to avoid talking about this game, that’s mostly true. The Cubs managed just two singles off Wood and three Dodgers relievers.
For the second straight day, the Cubs offense was nowhere to be found. They had just three hits, again all singles, off Brandon McCarthy and Ross Stripling. John Lackey was touched up for all five runs in five innings, including a two-run homer by Chris Taylor.
McCarthy, who made just 19 appearances (16 starts) this year and spent a couple of months on the DL with elbow issues, had a decent season: 3.98 ERA, 1.252 WHIP, 0.7 bWAR. Against the Cubs he was otherworldly: two starts, 12 innings, 0.833 WHIP, 10 strikeouts.
The Dodgers completed the three-game sweep with four home runs, two of them off Jon Lester. The Cubs responded with three homers off Clayton Kershaw, including this two-run blast by Anthony Rizzo [VIDEO].
That made the score 6-4 in the fourth and gave the Cubs some hope that they might salvage one game out of this series. But Mike Montgomery served up a homer to Austin Barnes and Hector Rondon gave up a two-run shot to Yasiel Puig that put the game away.
The good news that came out of this one was that the Cubs absolutely torched Kershaw: 11 hits, two walks, four runs and three home runs in just 4⅓ innings. Hopefully, they can do something just like that in Saturday’s game.