The Dodgers struggled to get any offense without Andre Ethier and Manny in the line-up, and the Blue Crew got shut-out for the second time in the series against the Chicago Cubs, 1-0.
John Ely (3-2), who grew up in suburban Homewood, Ill., held the Cubs to only four hits in 7 1-3 innings in his return home, but a late-inning mishap by right-fielder Xavier Paul, filling in for an injured Ethier, may have cost L.A. the game, as the Cubs won 8 of the last 11.
The score was 0-0 in the bottom of the eighth when Cubs utility player Mike Fontenot (filling in for Jeff Baker, who left with an apparent vision problem) led off the inning with a triple down the right-field line, which was misplayed by Paul. Fontenot scored two batters later on a one-out, RBI-double down the line by Tyler Colvin, who went to third when Paul again had trouble picking up the ball.
It’s always an adventure in the Wrigley outfield.
Both players entered the line-up in the eighth as part of a double switch in which reliever Sean Marshall replaced the starter Ted Lilly, both of which combined with closer Carlos Marmol to hold the Dodgers scoreless.
The streaking Casey Blake led the Dodger offense with two more hits, going 15 for his last 34 plate apperances, but despite out-hitting the Cubs, Los Angeles couldn’t come through when it counted, leaving 15 men on-base.
With the Dodgers down 1-0, Manny came in to pinch-hit with a runner on and one-out in the ninth, but struck out on a Marmol slider out of the zone. Not even veteran Garrett Anderson could come through, striking out to end the game and wasting Ely’s finest outing in his young Dodger career.
A White Sox fan growing up, Ely was drafted by the Southsiders and spent three years in their system before he was dealt to the Dodgers as part of the Juan Pierre trade in December. He got called up on April 28 has been an integral part of the Dodger rotation ever since.
The good news for the Dodgers offense is the probable return of Andre Ethier. According to Yahoo Sports, Ethier, who’s been out with a broken right pinky finger, could return from the 15-day disabled list as early as Monday. Manager Joe Torre said he’s scheduled to play for Triple-A Albuquerque this weekend and take Sunday off.
The Blue Crew will travel to Colorado for a weekend series with the surging Rockies, who’ve won their last five-straight. One thing’s for sure, if the Dodgers hit like they did against the Cubs, they won’t stand a chance on the road against Ubaldo Jimenez and the rest of the Rockies’ pitching staff. Time to bring the bats, boys.