The Rundown: Perfect Day at Wrigley Field, Strong Effort By Cubs ‘Pen in Victory, Mariners First to 10 Wins
A guy on the train asked me yesterday how the Cubs are going to climb out of their hole and catch the Brewers. Excuse me? It’s the 10th game of the season. So I answered him by saying “I’m no expert, but I believe the key is to win more games than Milwaukee, especially when they play each other, and on the days that the Brewers lose.”
On the warmest day of the spring to date, it looks like the real Cubs showed up for the inaugural game at Wrigley Field for the 2019 season. The hometown heroes had my heart going boom boom boom, especially after Kyle Schwarber christened the ballfield at Clark & Addison with its first home run of the season.
.@kschwarb12 panders to the home crowd.#EverybodyIn pic.twitter.com/y5gtVlh5CB
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 8, 2019
There’s nothing like a 10-0 win to calm the nerves of a frustrated fanbase, and, as Tom Loxas said yesterday, it looks like the Cubs have fixed their broken offense. Yesterday’s game marked the fifth time in 10 games that the Cubs have scored 10 or more runs. It is unfathomable that this team has just three wins, and the victory helped temper the Jon Lester injury news.
If you really wanted to nitpick, you could point to the following:
- Lester’s aggressiveness on the bases could cost him at least one start, and maybe more. Big Bad Jon is batting .667 on the season and may have lost sight of the fact that the team needs him on the mound every five days more than they need his ability to go second-to-home on a single.
- The Cubs couldn’t muster a single run after plating 10 players through the first four innings.
Other than that, it was a perfect game and a terrific outing by the Cubs’ beleaguered bullpen. Let’s get into all the feels, shall we?
Cubs News & Notes
- Surprise! Tom Ricketts says there’s a little wiggle room in the team’s baseball operations budget. Before you start having visions of Craig Kimbrel closing in your heads, the money appears to be earmarked for contract extensions only at this time.
- The Cubs do not seem to be a likely match for Kimbrel. Neither do the Brewers.
- And…another bad look for the Cubs’ business side. Really?
- Everything went right for the Cubs yesterday, from the weather to the offensive explosion to the bullpen combining for seven shutout innings.
- The Cubs offense is running at full throttle and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
- To a man, Cubs players intend to leave the nine-game road trip to start the season in their rearview mirrors.
- The bullpen has started to look better of late and will carry a string of 12 straight scoreless innings into Wednesday night’s game
- If the Cubs need more bullpen reinforcements, there are at least five pitchers at Iowa who could provide instant relief.
- Tony Barnette is felling better and nearing a rehab assignment.
- Xavier Cedeno is close to a rehab assignment himself.
- Jeff Burdick breaks down the efforts of Jason Heyward, Cole Hamels and Javier Báez in the wake of the team’s 2-7 road trip to start the season.
How About That!
Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom will get his first start at Citi Field today, and it may be historic.
More baseball attendance woes: The Giants announced their smallest home crowd in nearly nine years for yesterday’s tilt against the Padres.
Orioles’ Chris Davis has extended a truly forgettable streak. The slugger went 0-for-5 last night and now has 49 consecutive at-bats without a hit. Davis broke Eugenio Velez’s previous record of 46 consecutive hitless at-bats for the longest hitless streak by a position player in history.
Blake Snell is good at baseball.
Trevor Story is also good at baseball, especially during home openers.
Avi García returned to Chicago yesterday with no hard feelings toward the White Sox front office.
The first team to 10 wins this season is…the Seattle Mariners? Come again? Sure, they had a two-game head start due to the games in Japan, but they still count.
Mike Trout and Christian Yelich squaring off against each other is must-see baseball.
Whit Merrifield continues to roll and his hitting streak dating back to last season has now reached 29 games.
Ray’s outfielder Tommy Pham has reached base in 43 consecutive games. He also swiped two bags in yesterday’s 5-1 victory over the White Sox.
45 years ago yesterday, Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth for what was once though to be an unbreakable record with his 715th career home run.
Monday’s Three Stars
- Edwin Encarnación – The designated hitter slugged two home runs in Seattle’s eight-run 6xth inning yesterday. Yes, he hit two home runs in one inning, and it was the second time in his career he has accomplished that feat. He joins Andre Dawson, Willie McCovey, Alex Rodríguez and Jeff King as the only players in history to do it twice.
- Rhys Hoskins – The Phillies slugger continued a torrid start to the season with a pair of home runs — his fourth and fifth — in leading Philadelphia to a 4-3 win over the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night. Hoskins is 8-for-14 on the team’s current home stand.
- Cubs bullpen – Seven innings pitched, no runs allowed, eight strikeouts and only only two walks. You’re not dreaming.
That feeling when everything is going right…
Báez off the bounce. ? pic.twitter.com/gFbtDKCZL4
— MLB (@MLB) April 8, 2019
They Said It
- “There’s always a little bit of flex in every year’s budget, but typically we don’t think about that until you get toward the middle of the season. I don’t know about Craig Kimbrel. That may just be a bigger ticket than what we can swing.” – Tom Ricketts
- “I’ve been pretty clear on the fact that it’s not a resource issue. The Ricketts [family], from the time we’ve been here, have given us more than enough money to win. And we have won… take a look at our payroll. It’s not a resource issue. We have more than enough to win, and we have won and we will win.” – Theo Epstein
- “Adversity is good, man. Adversity is a good thing for the soul, brother. You always look to see who looks good when things are going bad. When things are going well, it’s easy for everybody to look good. When it’s not going so well, I like the dudes that look good when things are going bad.” – Joe Maddon
Tuesday Walk Up Song
Can’t Hardly Wait by The Replacements. One of my favorite bands, and also a favorite of the late John Arguello, who started Cubs Den. I loved talking music with John because we had similar tastes, and probably talked about music as much as we discussed Cubs baseball. No game today, looking forward to Wednesday night.