Chicago Cubs: Takeaways from the team’s Opening Night loss
Free-swinging offense musters little in opener
Take away the ninth-inning blast from Contreras and this game leaves a very different taste in your mouth.
St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez was lights-out from the word ‘go.’ He struck out 10, pitching into the eighth before giving way to the bullpen. He mixed speeds, changed the eye level of his opponents and had his way with the powerful Cubs’ offense. Still, the trends we saw Sunday night can’t – and won’t – continue over the course of a season.
For starters, Chicago struck out a dozen times without drawing a single walk. Last season, the Cubs drew 656 base-on-balls, most in the big leagues. In the opener, the free-swinging tendencies once again took center stage, allowing the Cardinals to never face pressure.
Kris Bryant struck out three times, going 0-for-4 on the night. Time and time again, St. Louis blew fastballs past him at eye-level, enticing the reigning NL MVP to chase out of the zone. Plate discipline will make or break this entire team’s offense – so expect changes to be made quickly.
By contrast, St. Louis drew eight walks on the night. It seemed like Jon Lester tiptoed his way out of trouble in almost every inning – and the relievers did themselves no favors with the combined six walks they allowed, either.