The Dodgers got another gem from their pitcher and now find themselves two wins away from the World Series.
The Dodgers took game three by a score of 6-0. They’ve held the Cubs to six hits in the last two games and find themselves with an opportunity to clinch the National League pennant at home. Dope.
After a very easy first, Rich Hill struggled in the second. It started with a leadoff walk to Anthony Rizzo, who has been awful at the plate in the postseason. Hill must have thrown over five times, and Rizzo stole second anyways. He got Javier Baez to pop up for the first out, but another walk and a passed ball put two runners on the corners. Hill got a strikeout and a groundout to escape without any runs, but he needed 30 pitches just in the second inning.
However, the rest of Hill’s night was much better. Kris Bryant knocked a two-out single in the third for the Cubs’ first hit of the game. Bryant singled again in the sixth, but those were the only two hits the Cubs managed off Hill.
This is why the Dodgers traded for Hill. Yes, he was hurt. Yes, he’s old. Yeah, the Dodgers gave Oakland a pretty nice prospect package for two rentals. They needed a guy behind Kershaw down the stretch, and Hill gave the Dodgers six really good starts at the end of the season. He also gave them another arm that can shut down really good offenses.
Hill was pulled after six phenomenal innings. He threw 93 pitches, which is tied for the most he’s thrown in a game as a Dodger. He allowed four baserunners, two on walks to Rizzo and two on singles to Bryant. Other than that, he absolutely shoved. He only struck out six, which is low considering how many K’s he racked up against the Nats.
Corey Seager saved the narrative, as his first inning single set aside any talk of Jake Arrieta‘s no-hitter in his last start at Dodger Stadium.
After a clean second, Arrieta ran into a bit of trouble in the third. Andrew Toles continued his storybook season with a leadoff single. Toles had a base stolen, but Hill slashed and grounded to third, acting as a sac bunt. Definitely would have been better for Toles to steal the base and then get bunted to third, but it didn’t cost LA a run. Corey Seager knocked a two-out single to plate Toles and give the Dodgers the lead.
Josh Reddick made things happen in the fourth, starting it off with a single off Arrieta’s glove. He stole second and then stole third on a pitch in the dirt. Yasmani Grandal, who’s swung the bat awfully in the postseason, crushed a 3-2 pitch into center field for a 3-0 lead.
After a clean fifth, Arrieta was chased one pitch into the sixth. That one pitch was thrown to Justin Turner, who hit that pitch out to left center for a 4-0 lead.
The Dodgers went quietly until the eighth, when they decided to add on. Yasiel Puig knocked a one-out single, and Joc Pederson shortened up his swing with two strikes to double down the line. Joc stole third, and scored on a grounder to short that Javy Baez bobbled to make it 6-0.
Joe Blanton was the first reliever out of the pen. For once, the “first reliever” came in the seventh inning, so that was a nice change of pace.
Blanton got through the seventh with a lineout, groundout and strikeout. The final two outs of the inning came against the two hitters he intentionally walked in game one. Really makes you think.
Grant Dayton came in for the eighth. He got two easy outs, but Dexter Fowler lined a double down the third base line. With the heart of the order coming up, Dave Roberts turned to the big man.
Kenley Jansen came in for Kris Bryant and struck him out on five pitches.
Despite having a six-run lead, Jansen stayed in for the ninth. I definitely disagree with that, especially considering the Dodgers play tomorrow and Thursday. I disagreed with putting him in with a four-run lead in the eighth, so a six run lead seems like a lot. Obviously, there’s a chance they don’t need him in the next two games. However, if the next two games are close late, asking Jansen to get more than three outs seems less likely.
Jansen did close the game out, and that’s really all that matters. He needed 21 pitches to pick up four outs and worked around a broken bat infield single.
The Dodgers are two outs away from reaching their first World Series since 1988. They lead the series 2-1 and have two more games at home. If things go very well, they might not need to go back to Chicago.
This is the first time the Dodgers have ever tossed back-to-back shutouts in the postseason. Considering how much success this team has had during their history, that is incredible. Not to mention, the Cubs are a pretty good offensive team.
The Dodgers can take a 3-1 lead tomorrow with Julio Urias on the mound. The Cubs will counter with John Lackey. First pitch is scheduled for 5:08.