The Cubs kicked off the 2022 season at Wrigley Field Thursday against the NL Central Division champion Milwaukee Brewers. Chicago was able to score three runs off reigning Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes and then got a clutch hit late for the opening-day win.
Kyle Hendricks was very good on Thursday, keeping batters off balance with his changeup. The Brewers were able to take an early one-run lead in the 4th inning, however, when Lorenzo Cain grounded out with the bases loaded.
Seiya Suzuki sparked a Cubs rally in the bottom of the 5th with his first career hit. Suzuki would score on a Patrick Wisdom sacrifice fly before Nico Hoerner crushed a two-run home run to put the home team up 3-1.
Milwaukee was able to tie the game in the 7th against reliever Daniel Norris. Willy Adames doubled in a run and the tying run came across on a Christian Yelich sac fly. Chicago battled right back in the bottom of the frame with Ian Happ splitting the gap with a two-run double to put his team ahead 5-3.
The Brewers threatened in the 8th inning, putting two men on base in scoring position with one out. After a run scored, Mychal Givens replaced Rowan Wick and struck out Mike Brosseau to preserve the 5-4 lead. David Robertson took over in the 9th and closed out the first win of 2022 for the Cubs. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Hendricks was very good and the Cubs took advantage of their chances with runners on base. Not an easy task against defending Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes.
Nico hadn’t hit a home run since 2019. He waited back on a breaking pitch that split the middle of the plate from Burnes, driving the ball into the left-field bleachers.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks got 13 whiffs on his changeup and showed big improvement over last year’s struggles: 5.1 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 7 K, and 3 BB.
- Suzuki had two walks in addition to his single. It was a very good debut performance.
- Happ had two doubles and a single in four at-bats, ending the day with 2 RBI. A big year from Ian would go a long way towards making the Cubs a contender.
It’s always fun to start the year with a victory, but it’s even better when it’s over your division rival. The Cubs got a lot of promising performances from key players in this game. If they can get more of that then maybe, just maybe, the season starts to look a lot better than many feared. Of course, it’s only one game so, don’t get too far ahead of yourself.