Chicago Cubs Simulated Season, Game 1: Cubs Fall to Brewers on Opening Day

The Chicago Cubs (0-1) won’t be playing real baseball for a while, but that doesn’t mean we can’t follow them by simulating the season on MLB The Show. That means opening up Thursday in Milwaukee, which didn’t go quite as well as the visitors would have liked.

Things were looking good early, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead in a 7-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers (1-0). Kyle Hendricks went 5 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and four earned runs. He was opposed by Brandon Woodruff, who allowed four earned in five innings. Josh Hader pitched a scoreless 9th inning for his first save.

The Cubs got the scoring going quickly in the top of the 1st when Kris Bryant, now in the leadoff role for the first time in his career, walked to open the season. After Anthony Rizzo struck out against Woodruff, Javier Báez singled Bryant over to third and Kyle Schwarber knocked him in for a 1-0 lead.

Jason Heyward hit a solo homer in the 2nd inning, then Báez and Schwarber went back-to-back in the 3rd to push the Cubs’ lead to 4-0. But it wouldn’t hold as Hendricks allowed a two-run homer to Christian Yelich in the bottom of the 3rd, followed by an Eric Sogard solo shot in the 5th.

New Cubs manager David Ross sent Hendricks out to start the 6th inning, which may ultimately have been his first managerial mistake. Hendricks gave up back-to-back singles by Keston Hiura and Omar Narváez with one out, and Ross went to right-hander Casey Sadler out of the bullpen to stop the bleeding.

The ‘pen, which has been the team’s biggest question mark coming into the simulation season, let Ross down in a big way. Sadler walked Avisaíl García to load the bases before giving up an RBI single to Ryan Braun. Next out of the bullpen was Alec Mills, who was impressive this spring as a candidate for the starting rotation. He allowed one more run before getting out of the inning, but with the Cubs now trailing 5-4.

Kyle Ryan pitched the bottom of the 7th and got the first two outs in order. Unfortunately for the Cubs, he wasn’t able to get out of the inning. Hiura hit a single and stole second, allowing him to come around and score on a Narváez base hit. Rowan Wick later entered the game and allowed an RBI single to Braun before ending the inning by striking out Sogard.

The Cubs were unable to mount any sort of legitimate threat against the Milwaukee bullpen. Brent Suter, J.P. Feyereisen, and Corey Knebel combined to throw three innings with one hit, one walk, and two strikeouts. Albert Almora Jr. hit a two-out double in the 9th off of Hader, but the left-hander was able to induce a groundout from Bryant to finish off the Brewers’ 7-4 victory.

Key players:

Báez – 2-for-4, HR, RBI
Schwarber – 2-for-3, HR, BB, 2 RBI
Yelich – 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Hiura – 2-for-4, 2 R, SB
Braun – 3-for-4, 2 RBI

Winning pitcher – Suter (1-0)
Losing pitcher – Sadler (0-1)
Save – Hader (1)
Home Runs – Báez (1), Heyward (1), Schwarber (1), Yelich (1), Sogard (1)

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