Perhaps the Dodgers’ sabermetrically-inclined front office might want to consider revisiting some of baseball’s more traditional metrics.
You know, like hits.
The Dodgers had none Sunday night against Jake Arrieta in a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium, only nine days after they were no-hit by Mike Fiers of the Houston Astros.
These first-place, $300-million Dodgers did something none of Frank McCourt’s cash-strapped clubs ever did, becoming the first team in National League history to be no-hit twice in so short a period.
This latest indignity was particularly untimely, falling on the eve of the team’s most important series of the season: a three-game showdown at Dodger Stadium against the second-place San Francisco Giants.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez sounded certain that what happened Sunday night wouldn’t affect the Dodgers over the next three days.
“Absolutely not,” Gonzalez said. “We’ll be ready tomorrow.”
Gonzalez brushed aside concerns about the team’s record-setting futility, pointing to how the Dodgers won two of three games against the Cubs.
“We won this series,” Gonzalez said.
He wasn’t even convinced that the Dodgers were no-hit.
Gonzalez pointed to the third inning, when utilityman Enrique Hernandez reached base when Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro failed to handle a rocket of a one-hopper.
“Just ask Arrieta,” Gonzalez said.
Arrieta acknowledged he initially thought Hernandez deserved a hit.
“I thought it could have gone either way,” Arrieta said. “I really wasn’t aware that it was an error until an inning or two later.”
The official scorer, Jerry White, said he reviewed the play three times, including twice in slow motion in the video room.
“The ball was hit right at him,” White said. “Hit hard, but . . . if he stays down on the ball, he makes the play.”
White said the no-hitter wasn’t taken into consideration.
“It wasn’t like it was the eighth inning and I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh,’” White said. “Third inning and I’m not thinking no-hitter, I’m thinking base hit or error.”
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly thought the play was incorrectly scored, but said it was of no consequence.
“At this point, it doesn’t change the game in any way,” Mattingly said. “There’s no reason to talk about it and try to ruin anything that Jake was able to do tonight. I think it’s kind of a moot point.”
“To me, if you lose, it doesn’t matter if you get 20 hits or no hits,” Gonzalez said. “You lose, you lose.”
The only other time the Dodgers came close to breaking up Arrieta’s march into the history books was in the seventh, when Carl Crawford lined out to Castro to end the inning.
Arrieta struck out pinch-hitter Justin Turner to start the ninth inning. He struck out Jimmy Rollins for the second out. Then he completed the 116-pitch masterpiece with another strikeout, this one of Chase Utley.
That strikeout was Arrieta’s 12th of the game. He walked only one batter, Rollins in the sixth.
“It’s tough to put that into words because you think about that all the time as a kid,” Arrieta said. “You see other guys in the league do it and you want to be a part of something like that.”
Arrieta was mobbed by teammates, much as Fiers was nine days earlier.
“The last one bothered me more,” Mattingly said.
In Fiers’ no-hitter, Mattingly said, “I thought we got out of the strike zone way too much. Didn’t feel like we were really ready to play. Tonight, it didn’t feel like that at all. I felt like we were in the game all night. Our guys did a good job. I know we’re battling. You have to tip your cap.”
Arrieta improved to 17-6 and lowered his earned-run average to 2.11.
Dodgers starter Alex Wood marveled at what Arrieta did.
“He’s ahead of every single hitter,” Wood said. “He’s 0-2, 1-2 on almost every hitter. When you get a guy like that who’s pumping strikes and he’s got his first three pitches going well, it’s a tough situation to be in because he can beat you in a lot of different ways.”
Wood limited the Cubs to two runs over six innings. The runs were scored on a first-inning home run by rookie Kris Bryant.
Mattingly was pleased Wood pitched as long as he did, considering his pitch count was at 72 through three innings.
“That thing could have been a little bit of a disaster for us, as far as having to use too many guys today,” Mattingly said.
Dodgers left-hander Brett Anderson (8-8, 3.36 ERA) will face right-hander Jake Peavy (4-6, 4.21) and the San Francisco Giants on Monday at 7 p.m. at Dodger Stadium. TV: SportsNet LA; Radio: 570, 1020.