LOS ANGELES (AP) — The defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs are going back home trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 in the National League Championship Series in no small part because the heart of their order hasn’t shown up.
Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras combined to go 0 for 11 in Sunday night’s 4-1 loss. It was 1-all when Rizzo reached with one out in the ninth when he was hit on the right elbow by a pitch from Kenley Jansen, but was stranded after Contreras struck out and Albert Almora Jr. grounded out.
Bryant, the 2016 NL MVP, and Rizzo have been ineffective since the first inning of the opener on Saturday night, a 5-2 Dodgers victory. Bryant singled and Rizzo walked against Clayton Kershaw, and were left on base. Neither got on base the rest of that game, and both struck out against Jansen in his four-out, four-strikeout save.
The futility continued Sunday night against Rich Hill and a bullpen that was perfect other than Jansen plunking Rizzo.
After a travel day, the rematch of the 2016 NLCS resumes Tuesday night with Yu Darvish pitching for the Dodgers and Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs.
Chicago’s only run Sunday came on Addison Russell’s leadoff homer in the fifth off Hill.
Their only runs Saturday night came on Almora’s two-run homer off Kershaw in the fourth. After that, the Cubs made 18 straight outs against Kershaw and five relievers.
Los Angeles’ Justin Turner drove in all four of the Dodgers’ runs Sunday night, including the winning, three-run homer off John Lackey with two outs in the ninth.