ST.LOUIS, MO –
After bad weather rained out Wednesdays rubber match between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals, both teams returned Thursday afternoon, looking to pick up a coveted opening series win. The game featured a pitching matchup between John Lackey (0-0) and Lance Lynn (0-0); both looking to start their regular seasons with a strong outing and a win.
The Cardinals looked to pour on the runs early in the ball game, pun completely intended, and did so by putting up three runs in the bottom of the first inning. After a back-to-back singles by Aledmys Diaz and Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina grounded into a fielders choice at shortstop, allowing Diaz to score from third, thus making the score 1-0. Matt Adams continued the string of singles with one of his own, resulting in a 2-0 lead when Carpenter crossed home plate. Can you guess what Randal Grichuk did next? Yes, another single, making the score 3-0 in the bottom of the first. Not the ideal start John Lackey had in mind when taking the mound.
In the third, Lackey picked up his first hit of the year, attempting to hopefully jump start the Cubs offense while simultaneously disrupting Lynn’s flow. Lynn would escaped the inning without allowing another hit.
Jason Heyward started off the fifth inning with a single to deep right, a good sign for Cubs fans. Lackey would continue his hot hand by singling to center, moving Heyward to second in the process. Newly acquired outfielder John Jay finally got the Cubs on the board with a single to center, making the score 3-1 Cardinals. But in the bottom half of the fifth, the Cardinals would add on another run on a Yadier Molina sac fly, making the score 4-1 heading into the 6th.
In the sixth, Addison Russell grounded out off reliever Matt Bowman, scoring Anthony Rizzo from third in the process. Lackey’s day would come to an end following the sixth inning; his final statistics read: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R/3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
The Cubs offense came to life in the 7th; it was only a matter of time before their bats would awake, and awake they did. After a drop third strike allowed Matt Szczur to get to first, relief pitcher Brett Cecil walked Jon Jay. Kyle Scwarber stepped up to the plate and launched a three-run homerun into the right field seats, propelling the Cubs into the lead, 5-4. Kris Bryant was then issued a walk, his first time on the base paths this season. Rizzo then singled to center, moving Bryant to third. Russell picked up his second RBI on the day by grounding out to reliever Miguel Socolovich, scoring Bryant, making the score 6-4.
Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless seventh in which he only needed 7 pitches to do so. The eighth inning provided minimal drama for the Cubs, but Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. were both needed to hold the Cardinals scoreless.
Wade Davis pitched a scoreless ninth, giving the Cubs the series win while consequently picking up his second save of the season in the process.
Kyle Schwarber – 1-4, 3-run HR, R, 3 RBI, 1 BB
Anthony Rizzo – 2-5, 1 2B, R
Jason Heyward – 2-4, R
Aledmys Dias – 2-4, 2 R
Lance Lynn – 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
The Cubs showed their resilience today by battling back from an early 3-0 deficit. Although Lackey gave up 3 early runs, he managed to settle in and give the Cubs opportunities to get back into the ball game. The bullpen was lights out while holding the Cardinals scoreless from the fifth on.
To be quite honest, there wasn’t many things that transpired today that I would call “bad.” The Cubs have made some easy mistakes on defense but that shouldn’t be a problem moving forward.
The Cubs will be back in action Friday when they face off against the Brewers in Milwaukee. The pitching matchup is as follows, Brett Anderson (0-0) vs. Jimmy Nelson (0-0).
First Pitch: 7:10 PM (CT)
Radio: 670 The Score