South Bend Cubs Struggle, Show Promise During a Snowstorm Loss

The last thing I expected to see last night on my computer was a snowstorm in South Bend during the opener. Yet, there it was, sometimes coming in at a 45 degree angle and at other times sideways. It didn’t stop the game from being played, though. If I was to characterize last night’s 9-4 loss, I would call it, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

The Ugly

Let’s get this category over with right away. Preston Morrison actually had a lot of movement and a lot of nerves. He left a few balls up in the first inning and paid for it as the Whitecaps put up three. What didn’t help was the Cubs committed three errors that lead to five more runs. Combined with the snow, it was an 8-0 deficit before the bottom of the third.

The Bad

The young Cubs looked inexperienced, especially in the field. For instance, in the top of third, Eloy Jimenez dove for a ball that he should have just stayed in front of. The result was a double and two runs scored. While you might want to applaud the effort, it was not a good defensive choice. Those kind of decisions will be better with experience.

The Good

You wouldn’t think there would be much good in an 9-4 loss, but there were actually several high points.

#1 – This team did not quit, even down five runs. They played hard to the bitter end. There were a couple moments where a hit here or there could have emptied the bases and pulled them within a couple runs, but it didn’t happen. The fact that they kept after it is a testament to the players and to their manager, Jimmy Gonzalez.

#2 – Eloy Jimenez looked like he was hacking early, perhaps a little anxious. He wound up going 2-for-4 with one RBI

#3 – Eddy Martinez looked like the real deal at the plate. A little more patient than Jimenez, Martinez went 2-for-4, also with an RBI.

#4 – PJ Higgins can hit. He went 2-for-5 and never looked overmatched at the plate.

#5 – Donnie Dewees could be something special. He swung at a couple bad pitches early but righted himself to go 2-for-5.

#6 – Andrew Ely played SS because there is such a backlog at 2B in the organization; he went 2-for-3.

#7 – Kyle Twomey looked sharp in relief. His first inning was a little rough, but he calmed down and struck out 7 while given up 1 run in four innings and saving the bullpen.

#8 – Even though Morrison did give up 3 earned runs, he had good stuff with a lot of movement. I was really impressed. I am sure the first inning was a case of nerves, but there is a lot to look forward to with his arsenal. He just needs to limit his mistakes.

Tonight’s game will be cold yet again but Justin Steele is on the mound. I am looking forward to seeing him baffle hitters with his late and sharp breaking ball.

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