The Cubs hosted the Pirates at Wrigley for their season opener under the best weather you could hope for. Jon Lester took the mound and delivered an impressive two innings, but came out prematurely in the 3rd due to hamstring tightness.
Jameson Taillon was only afforded two innings of his own as Chicago racked up his pitch count and generated plenty of contact. A errant throw by shortstop Kevin Newman opened the door for the Cubs to break the game open. An intentional walk gave way to a Lester double, and before you knew it the Cubs had brought half a dozen runs home.
Chicago was able to score a pair of runs in the 3rd and 4th innings, then coasted from there as the bullpen kept it drama-free. It was the kind of home opener fans hoped to see, with the final score a staggering 10-0. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Chicago’s bullpen finally gave an impressive performance, having to shoulder the back seven innings due to an early Lester exit. With the relievers stepping up, they were able to shut Pittsburgh out. Paired with consistent lively batting, this was Chicago’s game to win.
With runners on first and second and two outs after an intentional walk, Pittsburgh anticipated a Lester strikeout to escape the inning. But the pitcher who rakes opened the game up with a double, bringing one home and galvanizing a six-run inning that Pittsburgh was never able to come back from.
Stats that Matter
- Lester struck out four in just two innings, walking one, and was 1-for-1 with an RBI double and a run.
- Kyle Schwarber was 1-for-2 with a big opposite-field home run against lefty — yes, lefty, he can actually hit them — reliever Steven Brault.
- Daniel Descalso went 1-for 3 with two runs.
Everything seemed to click in this one. The Cubs bats were finally able to string together base hits, resulting in steady runs through multiple innings. Paired with solid starting and relieving pitching, this could be the end of their early season slump.
With a rest day tomorrow, Chicago hopes to keep the winning series going on Wednesday as they host Pittsburgh at 7:05pm CT. Yu Darvish will try to pick up his first win of the season opposite Jordan Lyles. in a game being aired on WGN and 670 The Score.