A late-night flight, bizarrely hot and humid weather, Yasiel Puig with a brain cramp at second base, a small bank of lights apparently flickering out, the game played under protest and finally a little rain.
And none of that was probably the strangest element to the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss Monday to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Clayton Kershaw pitched great, outside of giving up two home runs in a ballpark where the wind was blowing out. Wrigley can be a launch pad in those conditions, and the Dodgers did get a couple of their own, Enrique Hernandez hitting a solo shot to open the scoring in the third and Joc Pederson adding a late solo homer in the ninth.
But Kershaw has now surrendered 11 home runs in his 15 starts. That’s two more than he gave up all last season in 27 starts. The most homers he’s given up in a season was 16 in 33 starts in 2012.
It isn’t as if Kershaw is the worst offender in baseball -- Colorado’s Kyle Kendrick has given up 18 -- but it’s a curious uptick in a season that includes a 5-5 record and 3.33 earned-run average. That’s still a strong ERA, but Kershaw’s three Cy Youngs in the past four years has expectations running at an all-time high.
If Kershaw wasn’t having trouble with the long ball, the rest of his numbers might look more Kershaw-ish.
After Hernandez hit his third home run in the top of the inning, Cubs phenom Kris Bryant drilled a hanging Kershaw curve for a two-run homer.
With the Dodgers doing nothing against the Cubs’ bullpen -- starter Tsuyoshi Wada left in the third inning because of a shoulder cramp -- Bryant’s home run appeared to be all the offense Chicago would need. Matt Szczur added a solo shot off Kershaw in the seventh anyway, which proved the difference, and Bryant added one more off Adam Liberatore in the eighth.
Kershaw struck out nine and gave up only four hits in seven innings.
He also was apparently annoyed when Cubs Manager Joe Maddon came out in the sixth to protest a small bank of stadium lights that had flickered out. And he continued to protest.
Kershaw seemed annoyed with Maddon’s stall tactics. Play was suspended 10 minutes and when the umpires finally decided there was plenty of light to continue, Maddon played the rest of the game under protest.
The Dodgers managed only five hits on the balmy night. They did get two on when Puig and Pederson walked with two outs in the third, but with Justin Turner -- the Dodgers’ hottest hitter -- at the plate, Puig was caught napping and picked off second.
Pederson’s home run in the ninth was his 19th of the season.
The Dodgers did not help their cause by hitting into three double plays.