How it happened: Jeff Samardzija, who had been in the midst of a run of solid starts, wasn’t his sharpest, allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. L.A. got on the board with A.J. Ellis’ solo homer in the third then scored a pair of runs on RBI singles by Ellis and Andre Ethier in the fifth. Hanley Ramirez’s RBI double in the sixth led to Samardizja’s exit. While the Cubs’ starter was reeling, Dodgers hurler Chad Billingsley was rolling. Billingsley allowed one run on eight hits while striking out seven Cubs during seven innings of work. The Cubs’ lone run came off Luis Valbuena’s double that scored Darwin Barney.
What it means: The Cubs started a six-game West Coast swing on a losing note, and with recent call-ups Chris Volstad and Justin Germano scheduled to pitch this weekend’s games, things might not get much better.
Outside the box: Though pregame buzz indicated that touted prospects could be joining the team, the Cubs have yet to summon either of them to the big league club. Theo Epstein was vague on when he would bring up the tandem in speaking with the media earlier this week.
What’s next: Volstad (0-7, 7.94 ERA) takes on Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.95).