The Dodgers dropped game four of the NLCS behind all-around awfulness.
The Dodgers had a chance to take a 3-1 lead, but squandered that by dropping game four. Neither team scored in the first three innings, but after that the Cubs scored a whole lot and the Dodgers didn’t.
Julio Urias became the youngest starter to ever start a postseason game. Through three innings, Urias was absolutely dominant.
He ran into a little bit of trouble in the second after a walk to Javier Baez. Willson Contreras grounded into what should have been a double play after a diving stab by Corey Seager, but Chase Utley tried to barehand grab to turn the double play and dropped the ball. However, Urias got a strikeout and a flyout to escape.
The Cubs didn’t get a hit until the fourth, when Ben Zobrist led off with a perfectly placed bunt single. Urias got two strikes against Baez, but he was able to bloop a single to left. Another two-strike bloop single forced a play at the plate, but Andrew Toles‘ throw from left field went to the Cubs’ on-deck circle to allow a run to score and both runners to move up.
Urias got Jason Heyward to ground out to second for the second out, but with a runner on third that was enough to score a run. With two in, one out and a runner on third, Urias made his worst pitch of the night, a 2-0 meatball to Addison Russell. Russell got his first big hit of the postseason, sending the ball out to right-center. Urias got the pitcher out, but was pulled before facing the top of the lineup a third time.
Urias’ final line didn’t reflect how well he pitched. He went 3.2 innings and allowed four hits, four runs and four strikeouts. It definitely wasn’t what the Dodgers wanted, but there will be better days for him.
Seager was hit by a pitch on the shoe in the first inning. Justin Turner hit a double play ball, but Seager’s slide broke it up and forced Baez’s throw wide of first. Turner got to second, but was backpicked by Contreras to end the inning.
Adrian Gonzalez led off the second with a hit and moved to second base with a two-out walk. Toles singled to right and Gonzo was sent home. Not the worst move with Urias due up, but Gonzo isn’t exactly fast and Heyward has a cannon in right. The throw was offline (maybe Heyward didn’t think Rizzo would go) and it appeared that Gonzo got his hand on the plate before being tagged, but he was called out on the field and it was upheld on review.
The Dodgers left two on base in the fourth, but finally cracked John Lackey in the fifth. Toles and Andre Ethier began the inning with walks, which forced Lackey out of the game. Howie Kendrick knocked a pinch hit single to load the bases with no outs. The Dodgers tried their darnedest to not score as Seager struck out and Turner hit a grounder back to the box, but Mike Montgomery couldn’t field it cleanly and the ball trickled into left field for a two-run single. A pair of groundouts limited the comeback, but the Dodgers showed life.
Of course, that life was taken away with a nightmarish sixth inning. Much like in game one, the Dodgers had plenty of chances against the Cub starter, they just couldn’t capitalize.
Pedro Baez came in for Urias in the fourth and gave up a double, but struck Kris Bryant out to end the inning. He allowed a homer to Anthony Rizzo in the fifth and got a flyout before being pulled for Josh Fields, who finished the inning cleanly.
Things got laughable in the sixth inning. Ross Stripling got the first out easily, but Russell hit a weak infield single to second. Enrique Hernandez, who had just come in as a pinch hitter, tried to make a play he didn’t have a chance of making and threw the ball away. Stripling then gave up a single to Montgomery, who is a relief pitcher. Dexter Fowler singled to make it 6-2, and Bryant walked to re-load the bases. Rizzo singled in two runs to chase Stripling.
Luis Avilan inherited two runners, and both scored. After a Zobrist swinging bunt (ruled safe on review) Joc Pederson made a diving catch in center for the second out. Bryant tagged up and Pederson came up throwing, but the ball bounced off the mound, got past Yasmani Grandal and allowed two runs to score to make it 10-2. Avilan stayed in for the seventh and threw a 1-2-3 inning.
Alex Wood finished out the game, and while he allowed three baserunners, he kept the Cubs off the board in the eighth and ninth.
The Dodgers failed to take a commanding series lead and allowed the Cubs to tie it up. As painful and embarrassing as this game was, it still counts as one in the loss column. This series turns into a best-of-three. The Cubs have the benefit of two home games, but the Dodgers will have Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill.