Dodgers get no-hit by Zach Davies and Chicago Cubs bullpen
As dominant as Walker Buehler was for much of a 23-game unbeaten streak that dated to September 2019, the Dodgers right-hander knew his franchise record-tying mark was hardly a solo performance.
“To me,” Buehler said, “that’s a team number that doesn’t happen unless the offense has saved me a bunch of times, which they have.”
No life preserver was tossed Buehler’s way Thursday night. Buehler delivered a quality start, but his teammates delivered nothing, failing to notch a hit against Chicago Cubs starter Zach Davies and three relievers in a 4-0 loss before 52,175 in Dodger Stadium.
Davies walked five and struck out four in six no-hit innings and, with his pitch count already at a season-high 94, he was pulled by Cubs manager David Ross for a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Right-hander Ryan Tepera walked one in a hitless seventh, left-hander Andrew Chafin walked one in a hitless eighth, and closer Craig Kimbrel, after walking Chris Taylor to open the ninth, struck out Cody Bellinger, Albert Pujols and pinch-hitter Will Smith to end a game in which the Dodgers drew eight walks.
By highlighting the banned practice of doctoring baseballs, Major League Baseball sends an unintended message that the sport is populated by cheaters.
“When something like this happens, you want it to sting a bit — it stings me,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “How we lost the game, getting no-hit at home, obviously it’s frustrating for everyone.
“As an offense, earning eight walks was a positive. I just think that overall we didn’t do a good job collectively of executing a game plan. We know Davies, we’ve seen him, and the pull-side outs, the weak contact, we just didn’t execute a game plan tonight.”
It marked the ninth time in Los Angeles history and 20th time in franchise history that the Dodgers were no-hit, the last one tossed by Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta in Dodger Stadium on Aug. 30, 2015. The first combined no-hitter in Cubs history was the seventh no-hitter in the major leagues this season.
The last team to throw a combined no-hitter against the Dodgers was the Seattle Mariners, with Kevin Millwood and relievers Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen completing the feat on June 8, 2012.
“Nah,” said Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, dismissing a question about it being tougher to move on from a loss like this. “There’s 162 games. You’re gonna have games like this. We’ll wake up tomorrow and play another game.”
Three days after the Dodgers were overwhelmed by San Diego right-hander Yu Darvish, who threw six one-run, two-hit innings and struck out 11 Monday night, the Dodgers were shut down by a pitcher the Cubs acquired from the Padres in the seven-player Darvish deal last December.
Davies, a 28-year-old right-hander who was a 26th-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles out of Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Ariz., in 2011, is not overpowering, his four-pitch mix consisting of an 88-mph sinking fastball, a 78-mph changeup, an 86-mph cut-fastball and an 84-mph curve.
He entered Thursday night’s game with a 4-4 record and 4.66 ERA in 15 starts and was shelled for eight earned runs and seven hits in six innings of his last game, a 10-2 loss to Miami last Friday night.
But Davies kept a sporadic Dodgers offense off-balance and was just wild enough — he walked five batters in the first four innings — to leave few pitches over the heart of the plate.
“He just kept it out of the middle of the plate,” Betts said. “We chased. He threw some really good pitches to make us chase. He’s a good pitcher. He’s not in the big leagues by accident.”
The only real trouble Davies had was in the first, when he walked two and got Pujols to ground out to second to end the inning. Betts walked to lead off the third but was picked off first by catcher Willson Contreras.
The closest the Dodgers game to a hit off Davies was a soft AJ Pollock line drive that third baseman Kris Bryant had to leap to catch for the second out of the fourth. Davies retired nine in a row from the third through sixth innings.
Chicago built a 3-0 lead on Javy Baez’s first-inning solo homer and Contreras’ two-run shot in the sixth.
Trevor Bauer struggled on the mound as the Dodgers are swept by the Padres 5-3 on Wednesday in San Diego.
“The hard part is taking a guy out who hasn’t given up a hit,” said Ross, the Cubs manager. “Where he was at in the game and his pitch count, I didn’t see him going nine, and I thought it was a good opportunity with a runner on third and nobody out [in the seventh] to push across more runs.”
That the Dodgers offense went cold was not that surprising. They scored a combined 18 runs on 27 hits against Arizona in two of seven games over the past week. In the other five games against Philadelphia, Arizona and San Diego, they scored 10 runs on 24 hits.
“There’s games where we get to the starter and put up some crooked numbers,” Roberts said. “There’s games that we score late and other days that we just don’t score at all and can’t really get anything going. I wish I had an answer.”
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