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Cubs no match for Greinke, get Kershaw next

LOS ANGELES – Not that very many teams in baseball have handled the Los Angeles Dodgers much better in the last 10 weeks, but when the Cubs lost a series opener to Zack Greinke and the Dodgers 6-2 on Monday, it underscored just how far the Cubs are from the game’s top shelf.

In five games against the Dodgers this season – all in August – the Cubs have:

–Scored eight total runs (1.6 per game);

–Been shut out twice;

–Missed getting shut out a third straight game only because Greinke couldn’t get the final out of the game Monday night before Brian Bogusevic doubled home two runs in the ninth;

–Gone 31 consecutive scoreless innings until that Bogusevic hit;

–Watched five different Dodger starting pitchers combine to go 5-0 against them with a 2.05 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings (six walks).

No wonder manager Dale Sveum said he didn’t want to think about this series until he had to.

And those numbers aren’t even the worst of it. None of those games involved the best starting pitcher in the game, Dodger left-hander Clayton Kershaw.

That would be Tuesday night’s starter against the Cubs.

Might not get any easier next time around, Dale?

“That’s going out on a limb,” he said, finishing with the media and moving on to a postgame beverage.

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (1-1) didn’t make it any easier on himself or his team with five walks, including Greinke, in five innings (plus two batters in the sixth).

Three of those walks ended up scoring, including two in the fourth. He also walked five in a four-inning start for Baltimore against the Dodgers in April.

“I flat-out just got out-pitched tonight by one of the best in the game,” said Arrieta, who actually threw 73 of his 111 pitches for strikes. “The thing is I had a high strike percentage. But there were just a couple hitters in there where I got out of whack a little bit, walking guys on four pitches. That’s a little uncharacteristic. …

“The margin for error is very low against a guy like Greinke, and he pitched a tremendous game.”

Greinke (13-3) also drove in a run with a two-strike, two-out single lined softly over shortstop Starlin Castro in the fourth – and is now hitting .340 this season, with an .809 OPS.

Sveum, who was actually Greinke’s hitting coach in Milwaukee in 2011, shook his head when asked if he had any inside info on Greinke that could help his hitters.

“Not when he’s pitching like that.”

The Dodgers improved to 47-12 since June 22 (.797) – one of the hottest extended stretches in major league history.

The Cubs lost for the sixth time in seven games – and 21st time in 28.

Since scoring six runs before an out was recorded in the first inning of the road trip in San Diego, the Cubs have scored just seven runs in 42 innings.