Cubs: 3 Opening Day storylines to keep an eye on this week

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Hendricks / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

3 Cubs Opening Day storylines to watch: #1 – Kyle Hendricks gets the nod

As I wrote about earlier today, Hendricks will start his third consecutive Opening Day for the Cubs this week. In 2020, without a soul in the seats, he dominated Milwaukee, tossing a three-hit shutout at the Confines – and he’ll surely be hoping to replicate that performance.

Given all the uncertainty surrounding the starting rotation – and Hendricks himself – getting out of the gate on the right foot would be ideal. Obviously, one start does not a season make, but if he and Stroman can cement themselves atop the staff, that’s at least one area of concern that feels marginally better.

Hendricks has always struggled early in the season – and the weather is poised to be particularly Chicago-like all week. That means precipitation, temps in the 40s and a lack of sunshine – not necessarily ideal pitching conditions.

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Location will be key for the right-hander. He’s spent all spring working to get back to what made him so successful leading into 2021 – especially working the lower quadrants of the zone. If he keeps the ball in the yard and hits his spots, he’ll have a good shot at coming away with another Opening Day win.