Bryant deposits first home run in new bleachers
It was a night of excitement for the Chicago Cubs. Two-thirds of the bleachers reopened at Wrigley Field, and it was “Pink Out” night as Chicago Cubs charities helped to raise awareness for breast cancer. Kris Bryant liked the new bleachers so much, he gave them the first home run of the year to take home with a two-run shot. Anthony Rizzo followed with a solo home run on the next pitch, but he missed the memo that the right field bleachers don’t open till June.
It was still what the Cubs (16-15) to start a game after a rough road trip that saw several games slip away late. This one wasn’t without some of the dramatics, but the bullpen managed to remain out of the spotlight in this one. It was Jon Lester (3-2, 4.10) that became the highlight of the evening.
After cruising along for much of the game, Lester allowed back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning to Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores. After that, Lester took exception with Andy Fletcher and his strike zone behind the plate. He was very vocal with his displeasure of the strike zone, and one point in time saying to the Cubs dugout “I don’t know where to throw it”. He avoided any more damage, finishing with six innings of three-run baseball while striking out six.
The Mets (20-12) hit the ball hard much of the night, especially late in the contest. The two home runs off of Lester, and especially in the eight and ninth innings. Jacob deGrom (3-4, 3.46) settled in after a rough first, allowing only one more run on an Addison Russell RBI single. He escaped that inning by getting Rizzo to ground out with the bases loaded.
The Mets would put runners on in the final two innings, and didn’t miss the ball by much. After Zac Rosscup entered in the eighth to face Duda, he promptly lined one towards Rizzo that he speared and stepped on first for an unassisted double play. The ninth was more of the same for Hector Rondon, as it took a full-extension dive on a liner by Starlin Castro for the first out, followed by a sharp ground ball that Russell bobbled, but recovered in time to turn the game-ending double play.
What Stood Out
The bleachers. It was wonderful to once again see fans in the outfield. Wrigley had felt a little empty without them. And the “Pink Out” for their opening night was a great showing as well. Bryant depositing his first home run at home was a nice touch as well. Considerate of him to wait till someone was there to catch it.
Lester’s improvement on the mound after a rough April. The last two home runs hurt his overall line, but he’s falling into form and becoming the “stopper” in the rotation that he needs to be. A 3-0 start to the month is a good way to get back in the “good graces” of the fans.
The Mets Noah Syndergaard will make his Major League debut against the Cubs, replacing Dillon Gee who is out with a groin injury. Syndergaard was 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in five starts in Las Vegas. I have no official data to back this up, but I feel like the Cubs perform poorly when facing a pitcher for the first-time. So let’s hope Jake Arrieta (3-3, 3.41) can do his thing and make it a moot point.