Despite the fact that hope sprang eternal for all of baseball, particularly for those fans returning to Wrigley Field, much of the luster rubbed off quickly. The Cubs came out flat, dropping an ugly and anemic four hour game on Opening Day to the Pirates.
Kyle Hendricks started the game by walking Adam Frazier and quickly proceeded to give up a bomb to Ke’Bryan Hayes. That ostensibly ending the game for the 10,343 fans who were able to populate Wrigley today.
Hendricks didn’t have his normal pinpoint command, nor could the seven relievers who followed him find the plate. It wasn’t all about the weather, though, because the seven Pirates pitchers — including Duane Underwood Jr. — didn’t seem to have a problem taking care of the Cubs’ offensive unit.
There was a Joc Pederson sac fly to score Willson Contreras and get back half the runs Hendricks gave up in the bottom of the 1st. There was also an Anthony Rizzo sac fly that scored Contreras again and made it a 3-2 game in the 3rd. Then there was the Contreras sac fly in the bottom of the 8th to cut the Pirates’ lead to 5-3.
Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a lot of excitement or hope provided by the Cubs lineup. To make matters worse, the merry-go-round of pitchers threw a ton of pitches and missed the plate with too many of them. Thank goodness there are 161 more. I hope. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The normally efficient and effective Professor gave up the same number of runs to the first two batters as the Cubs offense had hits on the day.
Hayes belted a flat 80 mph changeup from Hendricks into the left field bleachers to make the score 2-0 Bucs two batters into the game.
Stats That Matter
- The Cubs won’t win many games when Hendricks has a line like this: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K.
- Eight Cubs pitchers walked 11 batters. Free passes to bad teams is not a good recipe for wins.
- The Cubs offense was, well, just that as they managed only two hits on the day, only one of which was provided by a starter.
Even if Opening Day feels bigger, it’s still just one game. Sure, it would be nice to sweep a team that doesn’t promise to be a contender, but you can’t win games if you don’t hit. The Cubs offense gets a day to regroup and should provide more of a spark over the weekend at Wrigley.
Both teams get the built-in off day Friday and will be back at it again Saturday afternoon. The game will feature much warmer weather for the limited-capacity crowd as highs will be in the mid 60s. David Ross will send right-hander Jake Arrieta to the hill and the Bucs will send southpaw Tyler Anderson. Game time is 1:20pm CT and can be found on Marquee (if you get it) or 670 The Score.