Cubs Complete Combined No-Hitter at Dodgers

The Chicago Cubs completed a combined no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night. In a great team effort, they secured the 17th no-hitter in franchise history. It came against a tough Dodger lineup that produced some great at-bats. They drew eight walks, but that would be the only success they had at the plate.

Defense & Davies

Zach Davies didn’t have a typical dominant no-hit performance, however, he had a meticulous approach against a dangerous batting order. He was cautious around the strike zone, which contributed to five walked batters. Although, it did prevent the Dodgers from making solid contact. The ball was put into play often, but the defense behind Davies was spectacular.

Davies has never been a strikeout pitcher, so it wasn’t surprising that he had to work hard to generate outs. He finished the first six hitless innings with 94 pitches. It was a bounce-back game for him, after a tough outing against the Miami Marlins, which saw him give up seven hits and eight runs. Davies has had an up-and-down season thus far. He’s been struggling to string together quality starts, so this performance has to feel good for the first-year Cub.

Bullpen Dominance

Chicago’s bullpen has been a strength for most of the season, and that was no different in this game. They were asked to continue Davies’ no-hit bid in the final three innings. They relied on their best trio of relievers: Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, and Craig Kimbrel. All three of them walked a batter but got out of their respective situations with ease. Kimbrel tallied three strikeouts in another impressive performance.

It was a different scenario for Kimbrel, who is usually utilized in save opportunities. This time the Cubs closer was solidifying a no-hitter. None of that seemed to phase the veteran because he was as dominant as ever. He completed the no-hitter with a nasty curveball that had Dodgers catcher Will Smith reaching across the plate. It was quite an unfair assignment for Smith. He hadn’t played all game but came off the bench to pinch-hit. Understandably, he didn’t find success facing one of MLB’s best closers in his first at-bat of the night.

Run Support

The Cubs jumped ahead early against elite right-hander Walker Buehler. Javier Baez hit a solo home run in the first inning. Willson Contreras followed that up with a two-run blast in the third. They accounted for the only earned runs given up by Buehler, and eventually handed him his first loss of the season.

As a team, the Cubs finished with eight hits, as they continue to work their way out of a mid-season slump. They played a little small ball to add an extra insurance run against the Dodgers pitcher David Price. This included two infield singles and a shallow base hit to right field. The final score was 4-0. This was the ballclub’s second look at Buehler. They faced off against him at the beginning of May. That was a game that the Cubs won in extra innings.

Look Ahead

This game will forever be in the history books for the Cubs. Although it wasn’t a traditional no-hitter, it still holds some significance. Not only was it the franchise’s first combined no-no, but it is the first no-hitter since the ‘sticky’ substance scrutiny. This has seen umpires around the league doing mandatory checks on pitchers’ equipment to ensure no foreign substances are being used.

The Cubs have three more games against the Dodgers this weekend. With this win and a series sweep earlier in the year, the Cubs have already won the head-to-head season series. Not many people would’ve predicted that entering the 2021 campaign. After this, they will head to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers. The two teams are currently tied for first place in a competitive NL Central division. That will make for some important games ahead.

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Players Mentioned:

David Price, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Walker Buehler, Will Smith, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, Craig Kimbrel, Zach Davies