Our Pledge To You

Cubs

Cubs fall to Dodgers 5-2 in Game 1 of NLCS

The Cubs got off to a hot start and two-run lead in Game 1 of the NLCS before the wheels fell off. The offense tanked, the bullpen couldn’t get an out, and Joe Maddon was ejected in the seventh inning of the 5-2 loss to the Dodgers.

Chris Taylor hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth, and Yasiel Puig added another homer in a wild seventh inning.

With one out, two runners on and John Lackey pitching, Justin Turner hit a single to left. Charlie Culberson came around to score and was thrown out at the plate after a great throw from Kyle Schwarber to Willson Contreras.

After review, it was determined that Contreras blocked the plate before he had the ball and the call was overturned. Maddon came out of the dugout furious and argued several minutes after his ejection.

oe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs is ejected by Mike Winters during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The last 18 Cubs batters were retired by a combination of six Dodgers pitchers, including starter Clayton Kershaw. Closer Kenley Jansen earned a four-out save with four strikeouts.

The Cubs bullpen gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in three innings of work.

Albert Almora hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Cubs the lead. Jose Quintana gave the Cubs five innings of work, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks.

Jon Lester will take the mound in Game 2 at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
————————
Bottom of Eighth

John Lackey allowed a one-out walk but forced a double play to make it a quick eighth inning.

Anthony Rizzo will lead things off for the Cubs, who are down to their final three outs.

They’ll need to score three runs against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.

Dodgers 5, Cubs 2, End of Eighth

Due up for Cubs:

3. Rizzo 0-2, BB
4. Contreras 1-3
5. Happ 0-0

————————-
Top of Eighth

The Cubs went down in order for the fourth consecutive inning, and closer Kenley Jansen struck out Kris Bryant to kick off what would be a four-out save.

Six Dodgers pitchers have combined to retire 15 consecutive Cubs hitters.

The Cubs bullpen, on the other hand, has allowed three runs on five hits and a walk in two innings of work.

Lackey will come back out to pitch the bottom half of the eighth.

Dodgers 5, Cubs 2, Middle Eighth

Due up for Dodgers:

5. Forsythe 1-1, 1B, 2 BB, R
6. Barnes 0-2, BB, R
7. Puig 2-3, 2B, HR

——————–
Bottom of Seventh

Things spiraled out of control for the Cubs in the seventh, beginning with a leadoff home run by Yasiel Puig and ending with a call being overturned against the Cubs and Joe Maddon getting ejected over it. The Dodgers lead 5-2.

With one out, two runners on and John Lackey pitching, Justin Turner hit a single to left. Charlie Culberson came around to score and was thrown out at the plate after a great throw from Kyle Schwarber to Willson Contreras.

After review, it was determined that Contreras blocked the plate before he had the ball and the call was overturned. Maddon came out of the dugout furious and argued several minutes after his ejection.

The rule that prevents a catcher from blocking the plate without the ball is a controversial one. TBS broadcaster Ron Darling had this to say about it: “An amazing, athletic play by Contreras and Schwarber has a chance to be taken away by the silliest of rules. … It is the letter of the law but it’s the letter of a bad law. It was a great play by Contreras.”

The Cubs are down three runs, but it feels a lot worse as the hitting has gone cold, the bullpen is struggling and frustration has taken over the visitors’ dugout.

Dodgers 5, Cubs 3, End Seventh

Due up for Cubs:

9. Zobrist 0-0
1. Jay 0-2
2. Bryant 1-3, 1B
———————-
Top of Seventh

The Cubs went down in order and have only six more outs to get the run they need to tie the game.

Kenta Maeda came back out for another inning of work and got a flyout from Addison Russell. Brandon Morrow got a flyout from Kyle Schwarber before striking out Javy Baez.

The Cubs have now gone 12 batters without a baserunner.

Dodgers 3, Cubs 2, Middle Seventh

Due up for Dodgers:

7. Puig 1-2, 2B, RBI
8. Culberson 0-1, RBI
9. Morrow 0-0

————————
Bottom of Sixth

If Hector Rondon wanted to prove that leaving him off the NLDS roster was a mistake, he went about it the wrong way.

Rondon’s second pitch to leadoff batter Chris Taylor went over the wall in right field to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.

According to ESPN, Chris Taylor became the first Dodgers centerfielder with a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning or later in the postseason since Duke Snider in the 1952 World Series.

Rondon came on in relief of Jose Quintana, whose final line looks like this: 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K. Both of the batters he walked came in to score.

Joe Maddon went back to the bullpen in the middle of the inning as part of a double switch. Mike Montgomery came in for the final two outs, and Ben Zobrist replaced Albert Almora, who homered earlier.

Montgomery gave up a single and a walk but left the baserunners stranded.

Dodgers 3, Cubs 2, End of Sixth

Due up for Cubs:

6. Russell 0-2
7. Schwarber 0-2
8. Baez 0-2, K
—————–
Top of Sixth

The momentum still feels like it’s shifting away from the Cubs after a 1-2-3 inning by Dodgers relievers Tony Cingrani and Kenta Maeda.

The heart of the Cubs order all went down with groundballs to the left side of the infield.

We can officially welcome back Hector Rondon now, too. He’s coming in to pitch his first inning of the postseason after being added to the NLCS roster.

He couldn’t have asked for a bigger situation — tie game in the sixth.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 2, Middle of Sixth

Due up for Dodgers:

1. Taylor 0-2
2. Turner 0-2, K
3. Bellinger 0-2, 2 K
——————
Bottom of Fifth

The 55,000 in attendance are on their feet again, revived after a two-run inning by the Dodgers to the game, 2-2.

Jose Quintana showed early signs of fatigue, walking Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes with one out. Yasiel Puig blasted an RBI double, and Charlie Culberson came through with a sacrifice fly to know the score.

The Dodgers pinch-hit for Clayton Kershaw with two outs, so his day is done.

Final line on Kershaw: 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K, HR

Quintana is at 88 pitches now and it’s hard to imagine him coming back to the mound after that inning of work. Hector Rendon was warming in the bullpen.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 2, End of Fifth

Due up for Cubs:

3. Rizzo 0-1, BB
4. Contreras 1-2, R
5. Almora 1-2, HR
—————–
Top of Fifth

Clayton Kershaw needed a quick inning and got one here in the fifth, putting the Cubs down in order with one strikeout. He threw 14 pitches in the inning.

Now at 87 pitches, Kershaw probably has just one more inning left in him.

The Dodgers have the heart of the order due up, including Logan Forsythe, who has the only Dodger hit tonight.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0, End of Fifth

Due up for Dodgers:

4. Hernandez 0-1
5. Forsythe 1-1, 1B
6. Barnes 0-1
———————-
Bottom of Fourth

The Cubs acquired Jose Quintana in a trade earlier this season precisely for games like this. And, so far, the deal is looking good.

Quintana continues to plow through the Dodgers lineup, pitching his third 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. He’s faced the minimum number of batters and thrown 60 pithes. Interestingly enough, 18 of those pitches were thrown to Justin Turner in his two at-bats.

The Cubs should feel good about a two-run lead if Quintana keeps throwing like this.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0, End Fourth

Due up for Cubs:

9. Quintana 1-1, 1B
1. Jay 0-1, K
2. Bryant 1-2, 1B
———————–
Top of Fourth

Albert Almora hit a two-run home run to left field to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.

The homer came on a full count with Willson Contreras on first base. Contreras singled up the middle to lead off the inning.

Clayton Kershaw threw Almora five straight pitches at his knees or lower and caught a little too much of the plate on his sixth pitch. Almora took advantage.

Kershaw got the next three Cubs out in order.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0, Middle Fourth

Due up for Dodgers:

1. Taylor 0-1
2. Turner 0-1, K
3. Bellinger 0-1, K

————–
Bottom of Third

Jose Quintana has faced the minimum number of batters through three innings after getting three consecutive groundouts in a 1-2-3 third inning.

Quintana has thrown 43 pitches so far and has looked every bit as good as his Cy Young winning counterpart on the mound.

Cubs 0, Dodgers 0, End of Third

Due up for Cubs:

4. Contreras 0-1, K
5. Almora 0-1
6. Russell 0-1
————————
Top of Third

The Cubs wasted a leadoff single by Jose Quintana — yes, Quintana singled off Clayton Kershaw — and came up scoreless in the third.

Quintana hit a hard grounder down the first-base line. Jon Jay bunted him over to second base, and neither Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo could finish the job.

Kershaw is at 48 pitches through three innings. He’s got three strikeouts and has allowed two hits and a walk.

The Cubs had some news to announce during the inning, as well:

Cubs 0, Dodgers 0, Middle of Third

Due up for Dodgers:

7. Puig 0-0
8. Culberson 0-0
9. Kershaw 0-0
——————-
Bottom of Second

Jose Quintana still looking sharp through two innings. He gave up a single to Logan Forsythe but forced a ground ball out of Austin Barnes for a double play. He’s faced six batters through two innings and is at a comfortable 31 pitches.

Jose Quintana strikes out Justin Turner in the first inning. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Cubs 0, Dodgers 0, End of Second

Due up for Cubs:

9. Quintana 0-0, K
1. Jay 0-1
2. Bryant 1-1, 1B

———————
Top of Second

Clayton Kershaw made short of the Cubs in the second inning, tossing his first 1-2-3 frame of the night.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner made a great play to pick up Addison Russell’s hard grounder. It was the second nice play by Turner in as many innings after making a nice stab at a grounder down the line by Albert Almora in the first.

Kyle Schwarber grounded out into the shift, and Javy Baez struck out.

The quick inning helped steady Kershaw’s high pitch count after a 23-pitch first. He’s at 36 pitches now.

Cubs 0, Dodgers 0, Middle Second

Due up for Dodgers:

4. Hernandez 0-0
5. Forsythe 0-0
6. Barnes 0-0
——————–
Bottom of First

If Jose Quintana is pitching tired, it didn’t show in a 1-2-3 top of the first.

Chris Taylor grounded out to first before back-to-back strikeouts by Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger.

Quintana threw 22 pitches in the inning.

Cubs 0, Dodgers 0, End First

Due up for Cubs:

6. Russell 0-0
7. Schwarber 0-0
8. Baez 0-0
————————-
Top of First

The Cubs didn’t put any runs up in the first inning against Clayton Kershaw, but they made him work for a scoreless inning with 23 pitches.

Good to see a strong start to the series from Kris Bryant, who smoked a single to left field after striking out 10 times in the NLDS against the Nationals.

Anthony Rizzo walked to put a couple runners on, but Kershaw put Willson Contreras down looking and got Albert Almora to ground out hard to third.

Jon Jay went down on three pitches. A fastball down the middle followed by two sliders.

<a

Cubs 0, Dodgers 0, Middle First

Due up for Dodgers:

1. Taylor 0-0
2. Turner 0-0
3. Bellinger 0-0

———————
LOS ANGELES — The Cubs revealed their lineup for tonight's National League Championship Series opener against superstar left-hander Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. Here it is:

RF Jon Jay, 3B Kris Bryant, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, CF Albert Almora Jr., SS Addison Russell, LF Kyle Schwarber, 2B Javy Baez, P Jose Quintana.

Of particular interest is the inclusion of Schwarber, the lefty power bat. Both Contreras and Rizzo homered off Kershaw in the Cubs' 5-0 victory Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS. Kershaw threw seven shutout innings in Game 2 of that series at Wrigley Field, in a 1-0 Dodgers win.

Follow me on Twitter @slgreenberg.

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com