Rich Hill blanks Cubs as Dodgers take NLCS lead

LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Cubs' bats have fallen silent, the zeros are piling up, and if things don’t change soon, 108 will be 109.

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cubs 6-0 on Tuesday, shutting them out for the second straight game in the National League Championship Series. Since the Cubs' five-run rally in the eighth inning of their Game 1 win, they have gone 18 innings without a run.

Dodgers lefty Rich Hill zigged and zagged his way through six innings against a Cubs' offense that has fallen into a hole and shows no signs of climbing out. The Cubs managed only four hits in the game; the only extra-base hit came courtesy of Dexter Fowler's double in the eighth inning.

The numbers are quickly sliding from the surreal to the absurd. The Cubs' postseason batting average fell to .185.

They are hitting .155 in the NLCS. Against the L.A. starters? It's .136.

And perhaps worst of all: The Cubs' average fell to .152 in the playoffs against lefties. That's particularly bad because the Dodgers will start another lefty in Game 4 -- 20-year-old Julio Urias.

The Cubs had never been shut out in consecutive games in the postseason.

They became the 12th team on that list -- and only two of those ended up winning a World Series.

The Cubs haven't lost three in a row since before the All-Star break, but if the offense doesn't start producing, that third loss could come Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Cubs starter Jake Arrieta was working with a thin margin for error, and unfortunately for Chicago, he made a couple of mistakes.

L.A. scored on Corey Seager's single in the third inning, then, in the fourth, Yasmani Grandal golfed an Arrieta fastball into the bleachers for a two-run homer. Justin Turner led off the sixth with a solo shot to end Arrieta's night. The Dodgers tacked on two more in the eighth.

Heading into Game 4, the Cubs find themselves in a vulnerable position. One they haven't really been in since last year's NLCS against the New York Mets, in which they were swept.

Chicago raced off to a 25-6 start during the regular season to seize control of the National League Central and was never challenged. The Cubs won the first two games in the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants before taking that series in four.

So, a team that has never been behind this season, finds itself facing real adversity for the first time in 2016. How the Cubs respond to that will determine if the most famous drought in sports will extend yet another year.