I had some premonitions coming into Opening Night.
The Chicago Cubs’ Jorge Soler would homer. Their starting pitcher, Jon Lester, would pick up a hit in his first at bat. And the Cardinals would win 8-3.
Okay, so none of those came true.
Now that I’ve lowered your expectations of my predictive abilities, here’s my call for the NL Central this season.
1. St. Louis
But really I’m kind of torn on the order of 1 & 2 and 4 & 5. Might flip those based on when you ask me.
As for last night’s game, the Cubs looked like “the same old Cubs”, but if you’re hear anybody say that, you might want to call them out as lazy.
Chicago went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Jorge Soler kicked the ball around in right field and Starlin Castro had a few issues of his own at short.
My brother came up to watch Opening Night with me and, although he wouldn’t bet actual dollars, I gave him a line of 11.5 for the number of times the Cubs would strike out. He took the under, but they finished with 12.
So, yes, many things were replicas of their bad recent seasons, but it’s one game, folks.
I wasn’t a bit fan of the tarps that were placed over the bleacher sections in Wrigley Field and look forward to those going away.
Both teams got terrific work from their bullpens.
The Cards’ Martinez, Walden and Rosenthal threw a combined 3 innings and allowed no hits with a pair of walks and 6 strikeouts.
For the Cubs, Coke, Motte, Ramirez, Strop and Rondon tossed 4.2 innings with 4 base runners and 5 strikeouts.
Neither pen allowed a run.
“The new guy”, Jason Heyward, showed the Cardinals faithful what they got with a 3-hit Opening Night out of the two hole.
Heyward, Matt Carpenter, and Matt Holliday combined in the top 3 spots of the order to go 7-for-14.
Not too shabby.
These two teams resume their series Tuesday.
Today, however, is the traditional Opening Day.
I have taken the day off to maximize how much baseball I can consume.
Also, this should be a national holiday.
Thoughts Due Up
- Opening Day means the opportunity to see #1 pitchers up and down the league. As much as I’d like to focus my baseball watching on the NL Central, there are some guys that are just too entertaining to pass up. Tanaka returning for the Yankees, David Price in Detroit, Color versus Scherzer in D.C., King Felix in Seattle, Kershaw in L.A. Decisions, decisions…
- I have a man crush on Andrew McCutchen. Watching him go against Johnny Cueto in Cincinnati will be my top divisional “must-see” today.
- The other divisional game has Kyle Lohse starting for the Brew Crew at home against the Rockies. Honestly if I see one more person asking “who is the real Brewers team?” I will scream. Yes, they spent five months in first place, but that’s not the same as saying that this was “a first place team” for five months, if you catch my meaning. They were in first place for five months, but did not play like a first place team for five months. Through April 29 they were 20-7. That’s good. Actually, that’s great. At the end of May they were 33-23. They were still in first place. But that meant they had just gone 13-16 in their last 29 games. That’s… not good. The Brewers were not playing like a first place team. They were treading water. In fact, if you break the season down into 6 months, the Brew Crew had 2 winning months and 4 losing months. This was a team that took advantage of a few bad teams to start the season and then tried to coast off of that the rest of the year. Baseball seasons are long. Things don’t work that way.
|0-0||Colorado||Kendrick, K||0-0, –|
|0-0||Milwaukee||Lohse, K||0-0, –|
|1:10 PM CT|
|0-0||Pittsburgh||Liriano, F||0-0, –|
|0-0||Cincinnati||Cueto, J||0-0, –|
|3:10 PM CT|