LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers entered Thursday’s game with 380 runs scored this season, the most in the National League. But that doesn’t quite tell the full story for their offense.
Top to bottom, Los Angeles has one of the most talented lineups in the Majors. It features three former MVPs and will add 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager at some point in the next few weeks. The Dodgers occasionally flash their potential, putting up crooked numbers in a hurry.
Over the last month, the Dodgers have posted five-, six-, eight- and 11-run outbursts in a single inning. Those performances have helped them stay near the top of the league in a lot of offensive categories. Sometimes, however, they go through stretches where the bats go missing.
That proved to be especially true on Thursday, as Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel tossed a combined no-hitter against Los Angeles in a 4-0 loss at Dodger Stadium.
It was the first time since June 8, 2012, at Seattle that the Dodgers were on the wrong end of a combined no-hitter. It was also the first no-hitter thrown against the Dodgers since Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta tossed one on Aug. 30, 2015. Ironically enough, Arrieta will pitch against the Dodgers on Friday.
“Getting no-hit at home, obviously, [is] frustrating for everyone,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I just think that, overall, we just didn’t do a good job collectively of executing a gameplan.”
Not executing a gameplan has been the biggest difference for the Dodgers compared to previous seasons. The Dodgers drew eight walks on Thursday, the third most in a combined no-no in American or National League history. But even that tidbit doesn’t change the fact that the Dodgers chased out of the zone far too often against a pitcher like Davies who doesn’t have overpowering stuff. That led them to becoming the first defending champion to get no-hit since Homer Bailey did it against the Giants in 2013.
“I don’t think they were very good as a whole today,” Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts said of the team’s at-bats. “We mixed in a couple, but as a whole I don’t think we had very good at-bats. But there’s always two sides. You got to definitely tip your cap and give credit to the Cubs for pitching a great game.”
Despite the offensive inconsistencies this season, Betts said he’s not worried about the Dodgers’ offense. He explained that it’s a 162-game and that he “doesn’t know a team that stays hot for 162 games.” Roberts agreed with Betts on the fact that it’s unrealistic to expect a team to always be locked in at the plate, but did add that the team needs to start showing more consistency to avoid the offensive lulls that have plagued it at times this season.
“I think there’s certain ways, how you go about each night, attacking a pitcher, I think that we can be more consistent with that though,” Roberts said.
Walker Buehler has certainly given the Dodgers consistency on the mound this season. The right-hander picked up his first loss since Sept. 21, 2019, but still produced a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings. The difference was a Javier Báez solo homer in the first and a Willson Contreras two-run shot in the sixth. Chicago tacked on another run against David Price in the seventh.
With the way the Dodgers’ offense was swinging the bat on Thursday, there was hardly anything the L.A. staff could’ve done outside of matching the Cubs with a no-hitter of its own.
The Dodgers had just two hard-hit balls through five innings and just four on the night, none providing much of a threat to land for a hit. Davies did most of the damage, dominating the Dodgers, tossing six innings. Then, the bullpen did the rest.
Los Angeles certainly has the talent and track record that suggest it will be more consistent at some point this season, but right now, it's a streaky offense. And that was on full display on Thursday.
“I think that tomorrow, obviously, we want to -- we need to -- turn a page and get ready for Arrieta,” Roberts said. “But I think that when something like this happens, you want it to sting a little bit because it stings me. But there’s a point, once we get to the ballpark tomorrow, it needs to be washed.”