After his stellar two-hit performance against Boston, Dodgers' Ricky Nolasco came out dealing again versus the Chicago Cubs with an eight-inning, three-hit shutout, giving the Boys in Blue a 4-0 win.
Nolasco was firing on all cylinders right out of the gate, striking out the first two batters he faced. He threw four perfect frames and never gave up more than one hit or walk in a single inning. The only time the Cubs had more than one baserunner came in the second inning when Junior Lake reached on an error and Wellington Castro hit a double.
In his last two starts, Nolasco has pitched 16 scoreless innings and given up just five hits with one walk and 17 strikeouts. In August, he has allowed seven runs to score in 38.1 innings for a 1.65 ERA.
The Dodgers gave Nolasco four runs of support, starting with a solo home run in the first inning from Hanley Ramirez, and another from Andre Ethier in the fourth.
In the fifth, Juan Uribe and Tim Federowicz led off with back-to-back singles. Ricky Nolasco grounded to the pitcher, Edwin Jackson, but reached on a throwing error that let Uribe score.
Skip Schumaker followed with a RBI single to give the Dodgers their fourth and final run of the game. They finished the game with only six hits and two walks, but made the most of it.
Kenley Jansen came in, despite the game being a non-save situation, and closed out the ninth inning by striking out the side. He did walk one batter, the third time since the start of August. In the month he has struck out 21 batters; a 7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is alright, I guess.
On the home stand the Dodgers are 3-3 with the San Diego Padres coming to town on Friday. Wednesday's game ended at 3:05, Thursday is an off-day, and Friday's game does not start until 7:10, so the Dodgers will have 52 hours between games.
Of course, everything was overshadowed by Yasiel Puig, who was benched in favor of Schumaker from the fifth inning for what was originally reported as "manager's discretion."
After the game the locker room was closed, Don Mattingly took over 25 minutes to arrive to the interview room, and Puig was seen leaving the manager's office.
During his post-game interview he offered no more than.
"At that point in the game, Skip gave us a better chance to win the game," Mattingly said.
Clearly there is more going on here, but if he wants to keep it behind closed doors than that is his decision. Hopefully nothing comes of this, the last thing we need is another Puig carnival like last week in Miami.