Just when you think the Dodgers are starting to really get it figured out, along come the Chicago Cubs. Those would be the last-in-their-division Cubs, taking on the best-record-in-the-league Dodgers.
Time to think again.
After the Dodgers had won a season-high six consecutive games, the Cubs showed up and impolitely won twice in a three-game series, capping it with a 7-3 victory Sunday before a muggy Dodger Stadium crowd of 44,713.
After looking like a team building toward something possibly special, the Dodgers could do little with the 47-63 Cubs, particularly Sunday.
Right-hander Josh Beckett remains a man in search of himself, or at least a man trying to complete the fifth inning. Brandon League was left a man in search of his control. And matched against Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson -- who entered the game 5-11 with a 5.79 earned-run average -- the Dodgers were suddenly left a team in search of some offense.
Beckett’s third start since coming off the disabled list because of a sore hip, looked unfortunately similar to his previous two. For the third consecutive game he could not pitch out of the fifth inning.
His control was either very sharp (he struck out four consecutive batters at one point) or very off (he walked three). He went four innings and then could not get an out in the fifth. Beckett (6-6) was charged with three runs on six hits (four for extra bases).
His outing did nothing to alleviate the Dodgers’ concern over the back end of their rotation. Both Dan Haren and Beckett are currently struggling, and the Dodgers have no obvious solutions on the team or in their farm system.
But after Matt Kemp hit a solo homer in the sixth -- his fifth home run in six games -- the Dodgers trailed only 3-2 and Beckett was hardly looking like the reason they would be headed for a disappointing loss.
Yet Jackson went six effective innings, holding the Dodgers to two runs on seven hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out six.
League, however, suffered his worst outing in nearly two months. He took over to start the eighth inning and immediately walked the bases loaded with no outs. All three runners ended up scoring.
League had given up only one earned run in his last 15 outings, and had walked only six.
Chris Perez followed League and was almost as bad. He went 1 1/3 innings, surrendering two hits and two walks.