LOS ANGELES – It has been a season full of positive memories and records. Tuesday night will not be apart of that.
Despite the incredible success of the 2016 Chicago Cubs, they will go down in the record books for something negative this season.
On the heels of a 1-0 loss at Wrigley Field in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series the Cubs managed to get blanked again at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. They managed just four hits against two Los Angeles pitchers in a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the hosts that puts the Cubs down 2-1 in the series.
It marks the first time in franchise history that the team has been shutout in back-to-back playoff games while going a Cubs-high 18 postseason innings without bringing a run home. It is just the fifth time in Cubs history that the team failed to score a run in a postseason game.
“Obviously, I have no solid explanation,” said manager Joe Maddon. “We’ve just got to keep working at it. We’re just not hitting the ball well. We’re doing the same kind of routines, the work is the same, the batting practice is the same, or the lack of it is the same, and we’re just not getting the results right now.
“There is really no excuse. We just have to pick it up quickly.”
Starting that way might help because the Cubs haven’t exactly been fast beginners the last two games. Clayton Kershaw allowed just two hits the team in the first seven innings of Game 2 at Wrigley Field and Rich Hill nearly duplicated that performance on Tuesday.
He went six innings and scattered just two hits as well while striking out six members of his former team. Three other bullpen pitchers scattered two more hits before it was over to seal up the shutout victory.
The along with Hill join a unique group that has shutout the Cubs in the playoffs. White Sox Hall of Famer Ed Walsh was the first to do that in Game 3 of the 1906 World Series in a 3-0 victory. Legendary hitter Babe Ruth did the same to the Cubs with the Red Sox in 1918, shutting down the National League champs in a 1-0 victory.
Josh Beckett prevented the Cubs from winning the pennant in Game 5 of the NLCS in 2003 as he pitched a two-hitter to beat the Cubs 4-0. Florida would win Game 6 and 7 in Chicago to capture the pennant.
After it took nearly 100 years to get three shutouts of the Cubs in the postseason, the Dodgers have two of them in around 48 hours. Only three Cubs with over ten at bats – Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras and Javier Baez – have an average over .200 in these playoffs.