Dodgers Take Weekend Series from Cubs in Chicago


Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBI and Clayton Kershaw threw six strong innings to propel the Los Angeles Dodgers to a victory on Sunday, securing a much-needed series win against a high-quality National League opponent.

The lone scar of the series was a 14-0 shellacking on Friday, a game in which the Los Angeles offense was completely dormant against veteran starter Drew Smyly.

However, Sunday’s win tipped the Dodgers back onto the plus side of the win column — a great sign for a club that has epitomized the concept of inconsistency for the first few weeks of the 2023 season.

The Cubs got on the board in the first inning after Cody Bellinger drove home Nico Hoerner with a single to center field, then added another run on the next AB when Bellinger scored on a Seya Suzuki single to left.

From there, the Los Angeles offense came to life a bit. Mookie Betts, who made his second appearance at shortstop this year, got the Dodgers on the board in the third inning with his third homer of the season, scoring Austin Barnes. Down by a run in the sixth, Max Muncy hit his team-leading 11th long ball, driving home Freddie Freeman and putting his club ahead to stay.

More importantly, Kershaw settled down to secure his fourth win of the year. Aside from a spotty first inning and surrendering a Yan Gomes homer to left field in the fifth, the veteran lefty looked decent, allowing just one earned run on three hits and a walk while striking out six batters.

Justin Bruihl threw a scoreless seventh, and despite allowing three hits, Brusdar Graterol held the Cubs at bay in the eighth and ninth innings to notch his first save of the year. Aside from David Peralta, all the players in the Los Angeles starting lineup reached base on Sunday.

James Outman, who was one of the game’s big offensive heroes on Saturday and an early frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year, was relatively quiet, aside from a double down the right field line in the second iniing off Chicago starter Marcus Stroman.

Sunday’s win put the Dodgers in a tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the National League West, with the San Diego Padres on their heels with a 12-12 record.

The Dodgers will stay on the road and begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates on Tuesday after an off day on Monday.

Set to start Tuesday’s opener for Los Angeles is righty Noah Syndergaard. As it stands, it looks like Tony Gonsolin could slide into the rotation and make his first start of the year on Wednesday. Julio Urias is scheduled to start the finale on Thursday.


23 thoughts on “Dodgers Take Weekend Series from Cubs in Chicago

    1. Miller isn’t even on a minor league roster at this point. Obviously injured, but the team is being tight-lipped, as usual. So, no thanks on Miller right now. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in any game yet this year. As it is, we currently have 13 players on the IL (between the various lists from 7 through 60 day).

      Barnes is out of options so you can trade him or release him if you want to but you can’t option him to OKC.

      You want to promote Nevin, a 21 year old kid who is currently playing at the lowest level of the minors?
      He’s totally on fire right now, hitting over .400 (about 60 AB’s), but in roughly the same amount of at bats last season for the same team he hit .174.

      I don’t understand all the panic and dissatisfaction I see from a lot of you folks. We’re tied for first in our division, playing very inconsistent (sometimes totally lousy) baseball and we have the equivalent of half a roster on the IL.

      Lots of you were ready to dump Max a couple of weeks ago. Today he leads MLB in homers.

      We’re less than 15% of the way into the season. Some players start the season slower than others. Heyward, who appears to not be hitting a lick has one of the hardest hit rates in the league. Peralta has already had a walk-off hit for us.

      I’d be happy to see Busch promoted. He deserves it. But they need to know they’re going to play him at least 4 or 5 times a week or he’s better off playing every day in AAA.

      Although he’s off to a mediocre start, I’m a huge believer in Vargas and I hope they give him a long leash. I don’t care if he’s batting .200 at the end of May. Let him play every day until he gets his act together. He seems to be doing fine at second base and past performance shows he’s a very good hitter. Just let him play every day and eventually we’ll be happy we did.

      I know lots of you don’t agree with me, and I have absolutely no problem with that, but I’m giving AF time to let the roster settle in and then do what he needs to in July.

      The rest of you are certainly entitled to be disgruntled and aggravated, but that tends to lead to ulcers. I guess that’s why Dennis and Andy have given us this oasis. Venting is good for your health.


      1. I think that’s where they draw the line. 🙂

        We’ve got our shortstop. I hope they let Mookie take over. It’s much easier to find good outfielders than it is good shortstops.


      2. I agree with your assessment of those players and overall outlook. At best the Dodgers will do well this season. At worst, they are going to be interesting. It’s nice to see lots of new faces and think about how they may fit in the future.
        Hopefully Vargus gets a long run to develop as an infielder. His situation reminds me of Pedroia in this first full year. He hit < .200 in Mar/Apr, and I had given up on him, but he went on to hit .299 for the season.


      3. Well Jeff it will be interesting to see which 13 players on the 26 man roster will be replaced when the 13 players on the Il return.i can only think of 6 or 8.
        I do have a bit of a problem with mookie at shortstop assuming below average defence ( I have no idea). Would rather have a good defensive shortstop hitting 220 than one of our mendoza line outfielders replacing mookie in the outfield. Have to think about that one.
        When one half our starting lineup is hitting under 200 we will be inconsistent. Smith will help, and agree Vargas will get it together. If one of the over the hill gang in the outfield can turn it around we’ll be OK. And come July I may become a believer in outman. Have to wait till we play some good teams and the league gets a book on him.


      4. I’ll admit this is based on a very small sample size, but I think Mookie could be at least as good a defensive shortstop as either Trea or Seager. My theory is that it’s easier to find a good outfielder than a good shortstop. That could be done at the deadline or over the winter.

        With regard to replacing guys to make room for the IL Thirteen (sounds like a subversive group doesn’t it), I don’t expect all 13 to return this year, but even if it’s only 10 or 11 it will lead to some tough decisions.

        I’m a huge Outman fan, just based on his general attitude about things and his willingness to listen and learn. That said, I don’t blame you for wanting to wait awhile before putting him in the Hall of Fame. It’s definitely too early to anoint him as the second coming of the good Cody Bellinger.


      5. I agree about Betts. SS is a very physically demanding position. Do you want to risk him with so many others out on the IL? Smith will be back and Vargas will hit at some point. I have more faith in Vargas hitting than Taylor. Outman since he changed from his “Caveman Type Swing” as the coaches called it has hit well and according to Dodger coaches is doing well in the mental aspect of understanding pitch sequence etc.
        I would admit the mistake and cut Peralta and bring up Busch and get him at bats. I like Taylor on the bench his value is in his ability to play solid defense almost everywhere, not his swing and miss hitting.
        I am not panicking it is a long season and the NL West has stumbled out of the gate. The concern is we have played most of our games against lesser teams and are 12-11. What happens when we play teams that are better? Hopefully Gonsolin does not need much time to adjust and Syndergaard finds his mojo. If not bring up Stone later in the year. Didn’t plan on a WS parade this year and enjoying Outman’s play and Muncy’s rejuvenation.


      6. Logically your point about if we play this way against mediocre teams what happens when we face good ones makes perfect sense, but every year we wind up blowing series to inferior teams. Maybe we need to play the better teams to get rolling.


      7. I hope you are right and they get some momentum. This team was a bit thin before the injuries. They have played as well as to be expected with the roster they have. You really understand the Dodger ‘s former plan to not have a designated DH and to have guys that can play multiple positions. Having JD take up the DH cuts back on the teams maneuverability with such a short bench. They have also been a bit unlucky as when the pitching has been good the hitting has been lacking and vice versa. I still think they win 90ish. Really miss Smith as Barnes is an auto out.


      8. You know how when you were young, people would ask you “if you could have one super power, what would you choose”? Well, I wouldn’t choose flying or being invisible or super strength. I’d want the ability to know what AF was thinking every day. I’d love to be able to insert that into my Dodger viewing because, let’s face it, he has access to so much more info that we do and often times he makes decisions that we criticize without knowing the facts he has to back up his moves.


  1. They are bringing Busch up. If u believe in them give them a shot! Good interview of Kasten by Jack Harris in LA Times. People forget Kasten is in charge.


    1. He’s replacing Max while he goes on the Paternity Leave List.
      He may just sit on the bench for 3 days while CT3 plays 3B.
      Hopefully he’ll actually get to start.


      1. I am curious why Vargas doesn’t get the opportunity to play 3rd base. It was his position through the minors. I would sit swing and miss Taylor down. Play Busch at 2nd and Vargas at 3rd. At least you have a decent offense. Has there been any information on Rojas’s injury as far as how long he is out?


      2. Haven’t seen any information on Rojas.
        I could be very wrong here, but I think, for whatever reason, they like Vargas at 2B and Max at 3B so they aren’t going to move Vargas to third if Max is coming back in a few days.
        If Busch is still in the organization next year and they exercise their (cheap) option on Max, we might see Max at DH, Vargas at 3B and Busch at 2B for 2024. I just don’t see it happening this year.


      3. Are they concerned Vargas shows more range at 3rd? It seems very strange u have a natural 3rd baseman that u won’t play there but u will take someone with only a few games at 3rd and use him there instead of a more experienced position 2nd! Weird


      4. I’ve always thought a second baseman needed more range than a third baseman and maybe that’s why they want to use Miggy at second. I think that ultimately, he’s going to be the better fielder.

        That said, Busch has supposedly made good progress since he came to the organization so maybe he just needs to be able to spend some consistent time at one position and he’ll be able to master that, whichever one it is.


  2. With the revised shift rules, range of the 2B becomes more important than it was before. Vargas gives you more range at 2B for years (hopefully) than Muncy would. And the Dodgers have a history of giving minor leaguers lots of minor league playing time at positions they are not very good at to see if they can develop.


  3. Wow watched game. Syndegaard is regressing. I had thought he would shine. How long do they let him flounder? Great to see Vargas begin to contribute. Busch’s hit hopefully first of many. Outman continues to have good at bats.


    1. Thor definitely doesn’t look good but there isn’t exactly a long line of MLB ready alternatives. They brought back Gonsolin early today because Grove (our #7 starter) went down with an injury. I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Stone’s next couple of starts looked good that they might give him a shot and Sydergaard might find himself on the IL.

      Other than that or a trade I just don’t see any other “ready” alternatives.


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