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Dodgers come up short again in road trip finale

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
Albert Almora Jr. robbed Corey Seager twice with catches at the wall on 400-foot drives.
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers offense completed a terrible road trip on Thursday afternoon, failing to score against Brett Anderson in a 4-0 loss to the Cubs, dropping the three-game series at Wrigley Field.

In six games on the road trip, the Dodgers scored all of 17 runs, and hit .222/.309/.333 as a team, winning just twice against the Rockies and Cubs.

The Dodgers put runners on base in four of their five innings against Anderson, who had more walks (four) than strikeouts (two). But they had nothing to show for it.

Corey Seager hit a pair of 400-foot rockets to center field in his first two at-bats, but also came up empty thanks to Albert Almora Jr. making two outstanding catches, the last one better than the first.

Things were going so well for Anderson on Thursday that he even fielded a tapper up the third base line, retiring Yasmani Grandal with a nice throw to first base. Had that happened last year, Anderson most likely would have likely ended up on the disabled list, or at least missed a start or two.

That tapper by Grandal came with two runners on base, two of the seven runners left on base in five innings against Anderson.

The Dodgers were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Thursday, and just 8-for-54 (.148) in six games on the road trip, with six of those hits coming in one game, on Sunday in Colorado.

If there is any silver lining, the Dodgers did enter Thursday with the 11th-most plate appearances with runners in scoring position per game in baseball (10.11). Last year, they were 24th in the majors in PA with runners in scoring position, so it was the dual problem of not hitting well in those situations (21st in OPS) and not having enough opportunities.

This year, the opportunities have mostly been there, but they haven’t seen many results from it.

Another short start

Hyun-jin Ryu kept the Dodgers relatively close for a while, until things fell apart in the fifth inning. After allowing a pair of solo home runs in the first four innings, Ryu saw the 2-0 deficit double in the fifth with three singles and a hit batter.

Ryu lasted exactly 4⅔ innings and threw exactly 77 pitches for a second straight start, but also fell short on the radar gun.

After averaging 90.4 mph on his four-seam fastball in his first start, per Brooks Baseball, Ryu was sitting 87-89 for most of the day on Thursday per Gameday, and hit 90 mph just three times, maxing out at 91.7 mph. One of those three pitches came in the fifth inning, a 90.0 mph fastball to strike out Kris Bryant looking.

Granted, Ryu’s first two starts haven’t been in ideal spots — at Coors Field, and facing the defending champion Cubs at Wrigley Field — and the offense didn’t give him any margin for error in either start. But he’ll need to improve to remain in the rotation, and perhaps with his next start at home can do just that.

Up next

It might take a while for the Dodgers offense to get back on track, since Friday night features an extraordinary pitching matchup at Dodger Stadium. With the Diamondbacks in town, Zack Greinke starts for Arizona against Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers in the first of a four-game wraparound series.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Anthony Rizzo (1), Addison Russell (1)

WP - Brett Anderson (1-0): 5 IP, 3 hits, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts

LP - Hyun-jin Ryu (0-2): 4⅔ IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts