CHICAGO -- The wind blew in Anthony Rizzo's favor on Thursday, while Addison Russell launched the first home run of the season onto the street outside of Wrigley Field to power the Cubs to a 4-0 victory over the Dodgers, who continued to struggle against left-handed pitchers, including a familiar
CHICAGO -- The wind blew in Anthony Rizzo's favor on Thursday, while Addison Russell launched the first home run of the season onto the street outside of Wrigley Field to power the Cubs to a 4-0 victory over the Dodgers, who continued to struggle against left-handed pitchers, including a familiar one.
Brett Anderson, making his Wrigley Field debut, picked up the win against his former team, scattering three hits over five scoreless innings. The Dodgers, who had problems against lefties last season, now have lost four of five games against a southpaw starter this year, including two in this series.
Anderson got a huge boost from the Cubs' defense, including two solid catches in center field by Albert Almora Jr., who robbed Corey Seager twice.
"I think I owe Almora my paycheck for the day," Anderson said. "Today was a weird scenario. If [Almora] doesn't make those plays, it's a different ballgame."
Their bunting was still up, but there were no pregame celebrations on Thursday as the Cubs attempted to turn the page on the 2016 World Series championship. On Wednesday night, after getting their championship rings, Rizzo had hit ball to right field that, according to Statcast™, had an exit velocity of 105 mph and launch angle of 28 degrees but stayed in the park because of a 14-mph easterly wind. In the first on Thursday, Rizzo hit a ball to right with the same exit velocity (105 mph) but a launch angle of 21 degrees, and it landed in the right-field bleachers. The wind was only blowing from the east at 7 mph.
"It's just Wrigley for you," Kyle Schwarber said. "There are going to be those days when you don't know what's going to happen with the ball, and you have to approach your at-bats the same."
Russell gave the ball hawks outside Wrigley Field their first souvenir when he led off the fourth with his first homer, driving a 2-0 pitch from Hyun-Jin Ryu onto Waveland Avenue behind the left-field bleachers. Russell had a little more oomph to his homer. The exit velocity was 110 mph, and the ball traveled 429 feet.
"That ball was mangled," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Ryu, making his third Major League start in more than 2 1/2 years because of shoulder and elbow injuries, took the loss. He has not won a game since Aug. 31, 2014.
"The velocity was a little bit down today; he touched 91 [mph] but pitched at 87, 88," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Ryu. "I thought he left a couple of fastballs out over [the plate], one to Rizzo and one to Russell.
"If we had gotten a couple of runs early, it might have been a different game for him."
• Roberts: Cold bats 'trying to do too much'
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Puig popout ends threat: Anderson got into a mess in the fifth. The Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs as Anderson walked Ryu, gave up a single to Seager and then walked Justin Turner. But Anderson got Yasiel Puig to pop up to Rizzo in foul territory and end the inning. Puig came into the game 0-for-13 with three strikeouts against lefties this season.
"Today, Brett didn't have his best stuff," Roberts said. "In that fourth and fifth inning, we had a couple of opportunities to scratch a couple across, and we didn't get that big hit."
Two (almost three) insurance runs: The Cubs added two more runs in the fifth, and they nearly had a third, but Schwarber was thrown out at home. Chicago had two on when Schwarber hit a ball that first baseman Scott Van Slyke deflected. Javier Baez scored on the hit to extend the lead to 3-0. One out later, Rizzo singled to right to drive in Jonathan Jay. Schwarber tried to score on the play as the throw in sailed to left. But Enrique Hernandez threw home, and Schwarber was out at the plate. It was a little painful as Schwarber sustained a small cut above his right eye. He stayed in the game.
"A lot of envy, especially now being the only guy on the active roster without a World Series ring. That's not fun. It gives me, personally, that much more incentive to do my part and fill the holes going forward." -- Anderson, on his motivation. He's the only player on Cubs active roster who has not won a World Series
"I thought we played 'em pretty tough for the three games. They walked us off … when was that, a week ago Monday? We beat 'em yesterday and had a lot of opportunities to be right in the game today. Whenever they come to us -- I don't know when that is -- we'll end up on the right side of it." -- Turner, on the series
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Cubs have won three straight series to start the season for the fourth time in the expansion era. They also did so in 1969, '85 and last season.
Joc Pederson singled to open the Dodgers' seventh, but C.J. Edwards got pinch-hitter Chase Utley to hit a liner to second baseman Baez, who caught the ball in the air and fired to Rizzo at first to get Pederson in time.
"We played the heck out of defense," Maddon said.
In the Dodgers' third, Schwarber did a juggling act in left. He caught Hernandez's fly ball, but it came out of his glove, bounced off the wall, bounced off Schwarber's right hand, and then landed in his glove. Center fielder Almora signaled a catch, as did Schwarber, but the Dodgers asked for a review. After a three-minute, 55-second review, the call was overturned, and Hernandez was given a double. More >
"I thought he really made the play," Almora said. "He started bobbling it, and I thought he got around it."
The replay official determined the ball made contact with the outfield wall prior to Schwarber demonstrating firm and secure possession of the ball.
Dodgers:Clayton Kershaw, who allowed four runs on eight hits Saturday at Colorado, will look to bounce back from his first defeat of the season when the Dodgers open a four-game home series against the D-backs on Friday night. The left-hander is 12-8 with a 2.75 ERA against Arizona in his career. First pitch is 7:10 PT.
Cubs:Kyle Hendricks will make his first start at Wrigley Field on Friday when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Pirates. Hendricks was the Major League ERA leader last season, but in his first start of the season, he gave up four runs over six innings. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Dodgers on Thursday.