Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (4/1/24): Cubs 5, Rockies 0 – Imanaga Shines in Home Opener Shutout

The Cubs played their home opener against the Rockies at a cold and wet Wrigley Field on Monday afternoon. The weather may have been chilly, but new addition Shōta Imanaga was on fire with a tremendous debut start as Chicago took home a shutout victory.

Imanaga had Colorado hitters off-balance from the beginning Monday getting a ton of swings and misses. The few well-hit fly balls he gave up died in the wind that was blowing in hard all day. The Cubs lineup was similarly ineffective against former Cardinal Dakota Hudson and the game remained scoreless through five innings.

The deadlock was finally broken by a crucial Rockies error in the bottom of the 6th when Christopher Morel singled with runners on first and second and one out. Left fielder Nolan Jones overran the ball and it rolled all the way to the wall, allowing both runs to score. Then to compound his mistake, Jones threw wild back into the infield and Morel was able to come home as well to make it 3-0.

Cody Bellinger singled in two more runs off of reliever Peter Lambert in the 7th to pad the lead. 5-0 was more than enough of an advantage for the Cubs and they went on to win with very little drama. (Box score)

Key Moment

The conditions were not favorable for offense on Monday, so Colorado’s miscues in the 6th were gigantic. It was an excellent baserunning play by Morel to remain aware when Jones threw wildly back into the infield and snag another run.

Why the Cubs Won

An outstanding starting pitching performance kept them in total control and they took advantage of the opponent’s defensive mistakes.

Stats That Matter

  • As good of a performance as you could ever hope for in Imanaga’s first start: 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 9 K, and 0 BB.
  • It was more good and bad for Morel on Monday. Two hits and a great running play but another error at third base when he just whiffed on a line drive.
  • Ian Happ got on base two more times with a single and a walk.
  • Drew Smyly pitched the final two innings to finish off the game.

Bottom Line

Not surprisingly, the Cubs looked much better playing against Colorado than they did against the reigning World Series champion Rangers. If Craig Counsell can get anything close to what Imanaga did on Monday going forward he will be thrilled. Morel is going to have some rough moments at third base defensively but I think he deserves a shot to see if he can improve at least for a little while.

On Deck

Game two of the series is scheduled at 6:40pm CT but the weather forecast does not look promising. Javier Assad squares off against Kyle Freeland with broadcast available on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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