ST. LOUIS, MO – Baseball is back. I can’t even begin to describe how good it felt to type that last sentence. The baseball season has returned and the Cubs find themselves thrown right back into one of the biggest rivalries in baseball – Cubs vs. Cardinals.
The Cubs and Cardinals rivalry always seems to bring out the best in both clubs. The Cardinals, for most of the last decade, have owned the division. But the Cubs now have seemingly taken over the standings and look to recapture the division title once again this season. But the Cardinals won’t go down easy, at least not without a fight.
Personally, I can’t stand the Cardinals, mainly because they’ve been good for most of my conscious life. My relationship to the Cardinals is similar to that of “Anchorman’s” Wes Mantooth and Ron Burgundy. Mantooth, being me, and Burgundy being the Cardinals. “From deep down in my stomach, with every inch of me, I pure, straight hate you. But dammit, do I respect you.” Couldn’t of said it any better myself.
Bet you didn’t think I’d be able to sneak an Anchorman quote into a Cubs blog. To be honest, I didn’t even think I’d be able to, but here we are.
Back to baseball.
The Cubs opened their title defense in St. Louis against the retooled and redetermined Cardinals on Sunday night. The drama from the World Series carried over to game one of the 2017 season, just when my heart was starting to recover from the many attacks suffered during the Fall Classic.
Each team’s ace was on the mound, if Jon Lester can even be considered the ace of the Cubs. Carlos Martinez was dealing for most of the night and his fastball was, uh, disgusting. He showed his superstar potential early on in the game by striking out the reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant with a 100 mph tailing fastball. The Cubs had a few chances to score in the opening innings, but Martinez always seemed to dial up his fastball to get himself out of a jam.
Jon Lester looked good throughout the game, only giving up 1 run before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Randal Grichuk hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth off Cubs reliever Pedro Strop. The following inning, he won the game for the Cardinals with a walk-off single off of Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery.
Willson Contreras continued his clutch hitting from last season by launching a game tying three-run bomb off reliever Seung–hwan Oh in the ninth. “Oh” is what most Cubs fans uttered while watching the home run travel an estimated 414 feet. But the bottom of the ninth didn’t go as planned for the Cubs, as Montgomery loaded the bases before eventually giving up the game winning single.
Opening Day Takeaways
There’s a few things to takeaway from this game; the first being Kyle Schwarber is back and he is very, very good. Schwarber picked up right where he left off last season, going 2-3 with a double and a single. The second takeaway of the night: Dexter Fowler looks bad in Cardinals red. Okay, maybe that’s not true, but I’m still not over his departure and decision to sign with the enemy.
Next Game: Tuesday April 4, 7:10 pm (CT) – Cubs vs. Cardinals – Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Mo.
Tomorrow night’s game should be as exciting and drama filled as last night’s. The match-up features another pair of dominant pitchers, Jake Arrieta and Adam Wainwright. The Cubs look to rebound from yesterday’s loss and pick up the first W on the season.
The Cubs lineup can also be expected to look a little different for tomorrow’s game. The lineup submitted for Sunday’s game was a nod to the players who were on the field for game 7 of the World Series. “It’s a tribute to the World Series,” Joe Maddon said. “That’s it. Those are the guys who were on the field in the seventh game of the World Series so I wanted to, as a tribute to them, what they’ve done for us, put them on the field tonight. It’s no more complicated than that.”
With all this being said, tomorrow’s game, as well as the rest of the season, should be very, very exciting.