Wrigley Field looked amazing. None of the charm that is the historic ballpark has been lost with the new additions–most specifically the video board in left field. As beautiful as all that was, the Chicago Cubs performance was anything but. They struggled with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-13, failing to provide any support for their starter.
The Cardinals (1-0) looked like the atypical St. Louis Cardinal, getting a solid start from Adam Wainwright (1-0, 0.00), while the offense did just enough to spoil the Cubs home opener. Newly acquired Jason Heyward was a season opening spoiler again against the Cubs, just as he was his rookie season in Atlanta. He collected three hits on the evening, and Matt Holliday followed him up with two hits and two RBI.
For the Cubs (0-1), it wasn’t the debut that Jon Lester (0-1, 6.23) was hoping for. It was clear from the start that he wasn’t his usual sharp self, as he was a little behind after experiencing dead arm in the spring. After 89 pitches, Lester was pulled after only 4 1/3 innings-surrendering three runs on eight hits.
The Cubs bullpen was once again a point of positivity, providing 4 2/3 innings of two hit baseball. Chris Coghlan provided the “excitement” for the offense, taking a fly ball to deep right field. But the cold temps and blustery winds knocked it down at the wall and the Cubs came up empty on the evening.
What Stood Out
Lester and his inability or unwillingness to throw to a base..any base. On a chopper back up the middle, he easily had Heyward hung out to dry at third, but instead trotted to first and underhanded the ball to Anthony Rizzo for the out at first.
The Cardinals took advantage of his unwillingness for pick-off moves, getting great jumps and moving runners an extra base on contact. It’s an early concern, but at least it can be addressed right away.
Once again, the inability to get clutch hits with runners in scoring position, as well as some shaky defense. The 0-for-13 with RISP speaks for itself, but the defense was once again causing fans to scratch their heads.
Castro got involved by not going after a short fly to left with much aggressiveness, as the ball fell in for a base hit. Later on a short blooper to right, Jorge Soler inexplicably held the ball instead of throwing to second–where they would have gotten a force out.
Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Cubs and Cardinals will get an off day, and will resume play on Tuesday. The Cubs will send Jake Arrieta to the mound for his first start of the season, as the Cardinals will send Lance Lynn to the bump for his. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT.