I’m baaaack, yes it’s Ivy! Hopefully you didn’t forget about me. I feel like it has been forever since I’ve done this and I’ve missed it so much. I know all of you are very excited about this season, and looking back at the Cubs’ first week, it gives us a very good reason to be. There really only was one downside to this first week, and it was a horrible loss, but we’ll get to that a bit later. For now, let’s take a look at the first week for our Chicago Cubs:
Cubs @ Angels
Cubs 9, Angels 0
W: Arrieta (1-0) L: Richards (0-1)
Jake Arrieta continued where he left off last year. The Angels weren’t able to produce any offense as Arrieta easily made his way through their lineup with seven masterful innings, allowing only three base runners while outdueling Angels’ starter Garrett Richards. Arrieta gave up only two hits, walked one, struck out six and needed just 89 pitches to record 21 outs. Arrieta was just as dominant as he was in the 2015 season, he never pitched with a runner in scoring position and struck out Mike Trout twice. The offense, sparked by Dexter Fowler, who doubled to lead off the game, was alive and well. Fowler would score two outs later on Anthony Rizzo’s single. He finished 3-for-4, scoring three run and also drew a leadoff walk in the ninth. It was a three-run game when Angels’ starter Garrett Richards exited after five innings, but Fernando Salas gave up a two-run homer to Miguel Montero in the sixth, Cam Bedrosian gave up another run in the seventh inning and Cory Rasmus gave up a two-out, three-run double in the ninth to outfielder Matt Szczur, whose alma mater, Villanova, had just won the NCAA Tournament. Overall, it was a great team win, the Cubs went on to shut-out the Angels and spoil their home opener.
Cubs 6, Angels 1
W: Lester (1-0) L: Heaney (0-1)
Jake Arrieta was outstanding in his season debut and Jon Lester followed up with an impressive outing of his own. He dominated the Angels lineup through seven innings and led the Cubs to a 6-1 victory. Lester held the Angels to just one run on four hits, walking none and striking out four, in seven great innings of work. The Cubs won both of their games against the Angels by a combined score of 15-1, and Dexter Fowler notched nine total bases in the quick two-game set, the same amount the Angels collected as a team.
Cubs @ Diamondbacks
Cubs 14, D-backs 6
W: Lackey (1-0) L: De La Rosa (0-1)
John Lackey made his Cubs debut and it seemed like it would not be a very good one. The Diamondbacks jumped on him from the get go and tallied three runs in the first inning. One thing about this Cubs team, is the undeniable talent that they posses up and down their lineup. They showed off that talent right away as they came right back against Diamondbacks’’ starter Rubby De La Rosa. Lackey was able to settle in and finished the night with six runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out four in six innings of work. The Cubs came up with the win, thanks to the offense led by Anthony Rizzo who had three hits and six RBIs. De La Rosa gave up seven runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings in continuing what has been a tough start to the year for the team’s starters. However, it wasn’t all good news for the Cubs as they watched their left fielder Kyle Schwarber sprain his left ankle in an outfield collision in the second inning. Both Schwarber and Fowler were chasing after Jean Segura‘s fly ball into the gap in left center. Schwarber’s left leg hit Fowler, and he fell onto the warning track. Segura kept running and was able to score the inside the park home run. I know in that moment; we were all hoping that a sprained ankle would be all that Schwarber suffered but we know now, that that wasn’t the case, as he will be out for the remainder of the season. It’s a tough loss for the Cubs, but this is where the roster depth comes in.
D-backs 3, Cubs 2
W: Ziegler (1-0) L: Cahill (0-1)
Aside from losing Kyle Schwarber, this was the only loss that the Cubs suffered. Many argue that this could have been prevented if Joe Maddon hadn’t pitched to Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Joe Maddon didn’t regret that decision. He was more disappointed by the pitch selection than anything else. Pedro Strop threw a fastball on a 2-2 pitch that Goldschmidt took advantage of and hit up the middle for a single that scored Jean Segura and tied the game. The Diamondbacks won the game on a two-out single by Yasmany Tomas in the bottom of the ninth off Cubs’ reliever Trevor Cahill. Cubs’ starter Jason Hammel posted a quality start, but he got a no-decision in his season debut. He gave up two straight hits to start the game, but was able to get out of the inning unscathed when David Peralta hit into an inning-ending double play. Hammel retired 10 in a row, but then walked three of the next six batters he faced. He ended with a line of 1 run on four hits and striking out six in six innings of work.
Cubs 4, D-backs 2
W: Hendricks (1-0) L: Greinke (0-2) SV: Rondon (1)
Anytime you have Zack Greinke pitching for your team, you definitely like your chances of winning. However, Kyle Hendricks didn’t sit back and just gave the game away. He changed speeds and kept Diamondbacks’ hitters off balance. Hendricks outpitched the D-backs ace as he allowed two runs on four hits in his 6 2/3 innings of work. It has been a rough start for Greinke, who allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings Saturday. It was an improvement but not much better than his Opening Day start, in which he allowed seven runs in four innings. Hendricks was pulled after a Brandon Drury double with two out in the seventh inning. Adam Warren made his Cubs debut and had a successful one as he bailed Hendricks out of the jam. Cubs’ closer Hector Rondon picked up his first save in his first opportunity. He struck out Paul Goldschmidt on a 90-mph changeup, got David Peralta to ground out and struck out Welington Castillo to end the game.
Cubs 7, D-backs 3
W: Arrieta (2-0) L: Miller (0-1)
Just when I think that Jake Arrieta couldn’t impress me anymore, he goes out and proves me wrong. He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits, walked none and struck out six. Jake Arrieta had thrown 32 straight scoreless innings in the regular season, dating to last year, before Arizona scored. As he said himself, it’s not realistic to think that he will repeat the same numbers he had in his 2015 campaign but so far, it doesn’t look like 2016 will be too disappointing. As if that wasn’t enough, he helped his team out by hitting a two-out, two-run homer in the second inning off of Diamondbacks’ starter Shelby Miller. It was an impressive eight-pitch at-bat until Jake connected on a 92 mph fastball. The Cubs had enough offense provided by Miguel Montero (two doubles), Jorge Soler, who also homered, and Tommy La Stella added three hits. This capped off an impressive first week for the Cubs.
Next up for the Cubs:
* The Cubs are finally coming home to Rickettsville from what has seemed like a very long time out West. I’m sure they are very excited to come back home, see their new clubhouse and play in front of their home crowd. It will be very interesting to see how the change in the weather affects their performance. Home debuts have not been good for the Cubs in recent years as they have lost their last five straight home openers. Let’s hope tonight has a different outcome.
Cincinnati Reds @ Chicago Cubs
Monday, April 11, 7:05 PM CDT
Brandon Finnegan, LHP v. Jon Lester, LHP
TV = WGN, Radio = 670 The Score
Wednesday, April 13, 7:05 PM CDT
Alfredo Simon, RHP v. John Lackey, RHP
TV = CSN+, Radio = 670 The Score
Thursday, April 14, 7:05 PM CDT, Wrigley Field
Raisel Iglesias, RHP v. Jason Hammel, RHP
TV = CSN, Radio = 670 The Score
Thanks for reading and as always, Go Cubs!