Cubs Record: 6-1 (1st Place NL Central)
W: Adam Warren (1-0, 0.00)
L: Tony Cingrani (0-1, 7,71)
S: Hector Rondon (2nd Save, 0.00)
MVP: Addison “Muscle” Russell
It took the Cubs a little time to get used to hitting in the chilly Chicago weather after spending two months out West, but they came through with 5 runs (2 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th) to come from behind for the 5-3 victory. The bats were silenced for much of the game by Brandon Finnegan, but they were still patient and drew 7 walks (5 from Finnegan). Addison Russell had the big hit of the day with the go-ahead 3-run HR in the 9th through some pretty stiff wind. The Cubs are now 6-1 on the year and are in sole possession of 1st place of the NL Central.
Like I said above, the bats were silent for most of the night as Finnegan took a no-no into the 7th inning before Grandpa Rossy broke it up with 2-out single to left. The 7 walks were still impressive though and the Cubs hitters were able to hold off on swinging at quite a few 3-2 changeups low and out of the zone that led to walks.
Jason Heyward got the rally started in the 7th with a 2-out, 2-strike, 2-run single to RF (off a left-handed pitcher to boot!) and he now has 5 RBI on the year. I think it is safe to say that he introduced himself to the fans at Wrigley very well.
Ben Zobrist then got the real fun started in the 8th with a 1-out walk, which was followed by Jorge Soler getting hit by a pitch. That set the stage for Addison Russell, who ambushed a first-pitch fastball and smashed it into the LF bleachers for his first HR of the year. There was no doubt about it, even with the winds howling in tonight.
Hector Rondon came in for the save and was on fire, looking more dominant than I have ever seen him before. He struck out the side (all looking, the last one was especially low, but who cares, go Cubs) for his 2nd save. He came in with a bit of swagger and just mowed down the Reds hitters.
A really cool moment took place during player introductions today before the game as Kyle Schwarber was announced and joined his teammates on the 3rd base line. The fans gave him one hell of an ovation and it was a goosebump worthy moment.
Jon Lester wasn’t that bad, but he did give up runs to parts of the Reds lineup that should not be producing them. He gave up a solo HR to Billy Hamilton (granted, it barely made it into the basket) and then he gave up an RBI single to Finnegan with 2 outs in the 4th inning. It was still a quality start, but if Lester makes a pitch here or there, it could have been a different story.
Nothing ugly about a come from behind victory in the home opener over the Reds. Cincy is not terribly deep, but they do seem poised to be a pesky team that will probably win more than the prognosticators have predicted (unless they trade Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and/or Joey Votto).
The Cubs will be off tomorrow, but will resume their series with the Reds on Wednesday night. John Lackey (1-0, 9.00) will make his Wrigley Field debut and will hopefully improve on his last performance that saw him struggle through 6 innings and give up 6 runs to the D-Backs. The Reds will counter with Alfredo Simon (0-0, 1.80).