The Dodgers tied their 89-year-old club record with their 12th straight road victory on Friday by beating the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Yasiel Puig remained the most exciting player on the field with two defensive gems and by reaching base for a sixth straight time, while also making blunders with the glove and on the base path. The Dodgers also won 6-2 despite playing without clean-up hitter Hanley Ramirez and losing leadoff hitter Mark Ellis and manager Dan Mattingly after arguing for what they thought was a sixth walk by Wood in just 19 batters.
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (pictured) gave up 11 hits but did not walk any to hold the Cubs to only two runs, while fellow lefty Travis Wood walked four straight batters and five overall and did not last through the fourth inning. While Wood entered the game with a slightly better ERA than Ryu, Value Add indicates Ryu has been a substantially better starter – as he is ranked as the 17th most valuable pitcher this season while Wood is the 50th most valuable.
Ryu, who always swings hard at the plate, also singled and scored despite very strange base-running. After reaching second base, he had to wait to see if a fly ball to center would be caught. When it dropped, the hefty Ryu ran to third base not knowing the ball was bobbled. He stopped, only to have the third base manager emphatically wave him home. He then started again and beat the throw without ever sliding, immediately breaking into a huge smile.
When he reached the dugout steps, he playfully rolled onto his side as though exhausted. Puig joked with him from the field while Juan Uribe fanned him with a towel.
Puig started the scoring with an RBI single, which combined with his double and Home Run in Thursday’s game gave Puig a .600 slugging average and .370 batting average. He also drew just his 14th walk of the season by showing patience and checking his swing on a full count, then took a hit by pitch with two strikes to reach base, and blazed down the line for an infield single in the sixth to reach for his sixth straight plate appearance. He also ran down a drive down the right field line to end a Cubs threat in the fifth, and then made an even more impressive diving catch down the right field line to end the eighth inning.
However, Puig showed a couple of the plays that have led critics to call his game immature. After drawing the walk on Wood, he broke very late on an ill-advised steal of second base, then stopped running 10 feet from the bag. The resultant rundown left Nick Punto thrown out at home, and ultimately cost the Dodgers at least one run as Wood walked four batters in the inning. Puig then showed off his speed in tracking down a drive to deep center, but after getting to the ball dove and the ball came out for a double.
The Dodgers will try to break their road record with a 13th straight win Saturday when they take on the Cubs again.