Okay, so how about we don’t count Thursday & Friday? Let’s call them a simulation of what baseball in December would be like and just start the “real” season with Sunday’s win at West Michigan. Are we all on the same page? Great. So here’s what happened:
On Thursday, the South Bend Cubs had their Opening Night against the West Michigan Whitecaps and the weather definitely did not cooperate. It was cold. And windy. And rainy. And snowy. Yep you read that right – it snowed for Opening Night – in April. Wind chill temperatures were in the 20s. But then again this IS Indiana so I guess we shouldn’t be too terribly surprised. The conditions were miserable – for us fans but most especially for the players. Unlike the fans, which numbered just over 5,000, the players didn’t get to go to the restroom to run their hands under warm water to thaw. The players didn’t get to partake in adult beverages to warm up (or at least help them forget the cold). The players didn’t get to huddle around the nifty fire pits placed strategically around Four Winds Field. Nope, the poor players had to play baseball with snow flurries blowing directly in their faces at times. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the SB Cubs had a bit of a rough start losing 9-4. Said manager Jimmy Gonzalez, “I’ve never started a game like that. It wasn’t even snow. It was a snow-sleet mixture. That was pretty tough……(it) effected everybody at some point but we’re not going to use that as an excuse.”
Starting pitcher was Preston Morrison who ended up going 4 full innings, his longest professional start. Let’s take Thursday’s line with a grain of salt and focus on the positives. In Morrison’s 4 innings, only 3 of the 8 runs were earned and 45 of his 66 were strikes. Let’s assume that his next outing will not require scarfs, mittens and space heaters and hope for the best. Kyle Twomey pitched 4 innings in relief, striking out 7 and giving up only 3 hits and 1 run. Plans are for Twomey to start a game later this week. Scott Frazier then threw 1 inning, struck out 2 and gave up 1 hit. On the offensive side, Donnie Dewees went 2 for 5, as did PJ Higgins. Eloy Jimenez and Eddy Julio Martinez both were 2 for 4, scoring once and with an RBI each. One of Jimenez’s hits was a triple. Shortstop Andrew Ely was 2 for 3, scoring once.
On Friday, the weather wasn’t much better. In fact, it was worse. Windchill temps were in the low 20s and the game was delayed twice due to snow. The game was eventually called 30 minutes into the second delay after 6 2/3 innings when it was determind that the field was not safe enough to resume play and that the snow wouldn’t be stopping. Again the SB Cubs lost and again, let’s just move on with our lives. Friday’s starter was Justin Steele who threw 3.2 innings, allowing 6 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. Casey Bloomquist came in for 2 inning and James Norwood threw 1.1. Bloomquist gave up 2 hits, 2 runs, walked 1 and struck out 3. Norwood gave up no hits or runs, walked 1 and struck out 3. Offensively, the SB Cubs were fairly quiet (or possibly frozen). Matt Rose was 1 for 2 as was Ian Rice. Bryant Flete went 2 for 3 with a triple and 2 RBI.
Now let’s move to Saturday, which is where I like to think the season “really” started. In West Michigan, the SB Cubs won 5-3, getting Ryan Kellogg his first win of the season. Kellogg pitched 5 full innings, allowing 5 hits, 1 run, no walks and striking out 3. Greyfer Eregua got a hold with his 2.2 innings in which he gave up no hits and struck out two. Scott Effross and Michael Wagner both pitched .2 innings. Wagner got the save, allowed no hits and struck out one. Offensively the team continued their habit of leaving runners on base (12 in this game) but were able to score 5 runs despite that. PJ Higgins went 2 for 3 with one RBI and a double. Dewees (2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI) and Daniel Spingola (2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI) both hit triples. Eddy Julio Martinez went 2 for 5 with two runs in Saturday’s game.
Sunday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather conditions (!!) and will be played as part of a double header in South Bend on Saturday, June 4. The SB Cubs are home Monday evening against Bowling Green for “Belly Buster Monday” which is All You Can Eat hot dogs, peanuts and popcorn with purchased wristbands.
In other news, the South Bend Cubs Performance Center now has a balcony for private parties and there’s some “green stuff” in the batters’ eye.