The Cubs hosted the Pirates on a frigid spring night in Chicago that was about as different from the previous game as you could imagine. Temperatures hovered in the high 30’s with a strong wind blowing in throughout most of the game, not quite like Monday’s home opener. The performance of the Cubs’ bats was equally disparate.
The weather set up perfectly for a low-scoring pitchers’ duel, but the Pirates brought the power early with two home runs that pierced through the wind to just clear the wall. With a 3-0 lead, they never looked back. Cubs starter Yu Darvish lasted into the 6th inning before being knocked out of the game, giving up five earned runs in the process.
Jason Heyward clubbed his fourth home run of the season and seems poised to become the impact bat that Cubs fans have dreamed about for years. However, the rest of the Cubs bats stalled after their impressive start to the season, only mustering five hits on the night and not threatening much. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The Cubs offense could not heat up in the wintry atmosphere. First, Pirates starter Jordan Lyles shut them down with a career-high 10 strikeouts. Then the bullpen took over and kept the bats quiet.
Darvish gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Starling Marte in the top of the 3rd inning that really broke the game open. While the Cubs kept it close until the 6th inning, they never looked to threaten after giving up the lead.
Stats That Matter
- Heyward continued his hot start to the season with another three-hit game that included his fourth home run of the young season.
- The Cubs struck out 15 times throughout the game, dampening any rallies before they could begin.
- The Cubs’ bullpen merry-go-round continued with another four relievers tonight, including three pitchers that didn’t make the Opening Day roster.
The Cubs need to put together better performances all around the diamond to have a chance in the NL Central this season. The Pirates, projected to finish last in the division, had this game in hand from the top of the 1st inning.
The Cubs will host the Pirates tomorrow night in the rubber match of this series. They will be looking to win their first series of the season, an important mental hurdle to surpass as they try to regroup after the rough start. Jose Quintana will look to bounce back against Pirates righty Joe Musgrove. Catch the game at 7:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago or on the radio at 670 The Score.