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The first win of the 2014 season, and of the Ricky Renteria era. All you can really say is: whew.

Jason Hammel was fantastic today in his Cubs debut, keeping Pirate hitters off-balance, and working in the zone all day. The only run he allowed came on his only walk of the day … after he’d departed the game.

The Cubs took an early lead with a single run in each of the first three innings (including a Mike Olt homer and an actual hit with a runner in scoring position (from Anthony Rizzo)), and that was all they got. Things got dicey in the 7th, with the Pirates getting two, and leaving the tying run on second base when Brian Schlitter got Pedro Alvarez out on a dribbler back to the mound.

It was a little unnerving in the 9th, with Neil Walker singling on the first pitch Pedro Strop threw, but a caught bunt and a caught line drive double play later, and Strop had recorded all of the outs in the inning without a strikeout. Don’t see that too often.

But I can’t get over the big early-season story …

april 3 box

Full box score.

  • ChrisFChi

    I hope to see more of these type of EBS thru out the year

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I like working out my frustrations with the losses, but the wins are certainly more fun.

      • Billy

        I absolutely love the Lorde reference. Well played, sir

        • itzscott

          Indeed.

          Props to you

      • ChrisFChi

        Is the in game post something you will continue thru the year? I like this new addition

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It actually wasn’t planned – just kind of happened. If the situation warrants I’ll keep doing it (except when I’m at the game).

        • Karl Groucho

          +1 to this, really like it!

        • Cyranojoe

          Ditto, much fun.

    • Karl Groucho

      I’m on board with Chris all day today; love the photo in the EBS.

  • cubsfan1594

    I have been very impressed with the cubs pitching. In essentially 4 games played now because of extra innings they have allowed 7 runs to a team that was in the playoffs last year

    • itzscott

      Bosio is a magician

  • Sandberg

    I am so happy the Cubs won. The rustled jimmies in this place would have been epic had they not.

  • Kyle

    Castro didn’t look terrible against a tomato can left early, but he needs to get legit hot soon please.

    Wood and Samardzija the next two days against the Phillies at home. Over .500 by Saturday night, please?

    • Ballrock20

      C.Lee will be tough on Saturday.

      • Seth

        He didn’t seem to be in his first start.

    • Jon

      If we don’t sweep the Phillies the PedoRyno’s will be out in full force.

    • JCubs79

      I’ve really liked how Olt has looked at the plate in basically all of his AB’s.

      • Kyle

        Really?

        I thought he’s looked pretty awful. He’s got a great batting eye, but he can’t touch anything but hanging pitches dead in the middle of his hot zone. Whiffing on more than half his swings.

        340-foot fly balls to the right part of the park aside, he’s going to need to look better once he gets settled in.

        • Spoda17

          I didn’t see it live, but he hit a HR the other way on a ball on the otter half going away…

          • Kyle

            Yes. If you want to judge “how he looked” off one swing, then feel free.

    • terencemann

      Castro needs to stop swinging at BS pitches that are thrown 3 inches over the strike zone because pitchers know he’ll swing at them.

  • Forlines

    Certainly got scared for a bit towards the later innings, but they pulled out a decent win. Definitely happy about that.

  • dumbledoresacubsfan

    So I was watching this on GameCast during class, but couldn’t watch every pitch because, you know, learning.

    So can anyone tell me why they took Hammel out with 2 outs in the inning after his first walk? Was it just for match-up purposes or pitch count or something?

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      He was at 98 pitches, close game, 7th inning – always go to the bullpen after a walk.

      • dumbledoresacubsfan

        Gotcha. I just happened to look down and saw Russel was in, which led me to wonder why, exactly, they took him out if it was only his first walk. I figured up 3 you let him try and get the next guy based on his performance through the game, but I like that RR is quick to pull the trigger.

      • Seth

        Plus I think they were just being careful with him, too. With it being early in the season and everything.

  • Funn Dave

    Wait, who’s that lady? I am just not getting the jokes today.

    • Billy

      Lorde. Sings a song called Royals, “he’ll never be a royal” is a play on the lyrics to her song

      • miggy80

        ah hem, the line is “and we’ll never be royals”

        • Jason B

          Hence the reason that Billy said “…is a play on the lyrics to her song”

    • Fishin Phil

      Welcome to the wonderful world of Old Farts and Puppets. Enjoy your confusion.

      Damn kids and their pop music.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Yes…and who is this Justin Beaver kid everyone keeps talking about?

        • Fishin Phil

          I heard he was a Gangsta.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            Ahhh, must work for Hoffa then.

            (No lie, I really did think (for at least a year or so) that his name was Justin Beaver)

        • Funn Dave

          Justice Beaver? A crime-fighting beaver, of course.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            I would do a google search for a photo but I am at work

            • Picklenose

              It was surprisingly safe for work.
              [img]http://i.imgur.com/19eMpIt.png[/img]

              • Fishin Phil

                You got lucky. Whatever you do, don’t google ” Angry Beaver”

                • Picklenose

                  That sounds like good advice – both online and in the real world!

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      She sings a song “Royals” that has the line “We’ll never be Royals”. If I have heard correctly it was losely inspired by the KC Royals (something to the effect that she liked the word).

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_WyB1Yunqw

      • cking6178

        Sarcasm??

        Just checking, bc the song has nothing to do w/KC….she’s British and the song is about the fact that her and her friends are from the slums (“no postcode envy”) and will never be high class (royal)….

        On that note….check out this parody….

        https://screen.yahoo.com/white-girls-040000964.html

      • KSUCub

        I had heard that too. Hansman is right… according to the Huffington Post anyway.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/lorde-royals-inspired-by-kansas-city-baseball_n_4311348.html

        • Diehardthefirst

          Ariana is a closet Cub fan dahling

        • cking6178

          Thanks for the link, KSU…Hansman correctly points out that “she liked the word”…the lyrics have nothing to do w/KC Royals though and she says as much in that interview….interesting nonetheless…

  • another JP

    Bullpen usage has already been high- if Wood & Shark can give us a couple more quality starts that should help.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      A couple 7-inning starts coupled with victories the next two days would reset the bullpen.

  • Danny Ballgame

    This is the start. Well on our way to 160-2. Go Cubs Go!!!

  • CubsFaninMS

    In this one game our RISP was as good as the Cardinals were last year! Someone insert Jim Carey/Dumb & Dumber picture!

  • Travis

    Way to get the first win, Cubbies! Glad to see Castro at least get a hit today. He was quite frustrated last night.

    • Funn Dave

      Thank god. Gotta get that confidence level up.

  • arta

    auto management.

  • Cubsin

    Fearless prediction #6: If the Cubs continue to win all their games that go nine innings or less and lose all of their extra-inning games, we’ll win the World Series this year!

  • NorthSideIrish

    Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 2m
    Reliever Alberto Cabrera cleared waivers, outrighted to Triple-A @IowaCubs

    Nice! I didn’t see that happening…

    • Fishin Phil

      That is a nice surprise. I would have lost money on that bet.

    • ssckelley

      I think the Cubs got lucky, other teams obviously have roster crunches as well which is probably why he made it through. I thought Cabrera looked good this spring, hopefully we will see him later this summer.

      • Jon

        Every front office now has a team of analytic and scouting guys that crunch every guy on the waiver wire. Every other team in baseball probably just doesn’t think he’s any good.

        • ssckelley

          Not necessarily that they think he is not any good but not good enough to justify knocking off someone else from their 40 man roster in order to claim Cabrera. I did not look but I doubt there were very many waiver claims across the board.

          • Noah_I

            Remember, those other teams also would have had to put Cabrera on their active roster because he’s out of options.

            • ssckelley

              Which makes claiming him that much more difficult. I am sure a team would get some backlash having to turn around a player who you just told made the team in favor of Cabrera. It would not be a comfortable situation for Cabrera either.

    • Funn Dave

      Whew! Here’s to keeping that bullpen hella deep.

  • djraleigh

    I’ve been telling friends all winter long that a bright spot might be our bullpen this season, and besides a couple of hiccups it hasn’t disappointed. Really impressive power arms and good movement from Strop and Grimm. Nice to see Schlitter getting outs the way he does. Going into the bottom of the 9th last night I was hoping they would let him finish the game out but you can’t not give Veras the save opportunity in that situation. Oh Well… Go Cubs!

  • jeff1969

    I can feel legendary status for Schlitter approaching.

    • Jon

      I think eventually his numbers will go done the Schlitter.

      • jeff1969

        Yeah, but he still might be a Cubbie legend.

      • Noah_I

        Was Schlitter a legit bullpen prospect before the injury bug caught him? He seems to have pretty good stuff, at least in a middle relief role.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    That win was huge. Kind of takes the pressure off. We played well enough to take all three, but one is better than going home winless. Castro looked better at the plate today so hopefully he gets it going at Wrigley. Out of the whole three gme series I have to say that Veres was the big disappointment. I am impressed by Grimm, Schlitter, Rondon and Stropp. They are far and above what we had last year. Hopefully we get these home games in without rainouts. You have to feel good about having Wood and Shark taking the hill for two games. Rizzo is starting to find his groove so life is good again.

  • Jamie Lannister

    Ah, I see the Phillies are rostering a bastard and a fraud…we should easily come out as the victors.

    • Fishin Phil

      I enjoy your style, but you really need to find an appropriate avatar and hook it up with Gravatar to pull this off.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        And preferably of your sister…..

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          I’m sure he has tons of photos of his sister that we would all love to see.

          • Jamie Lannister

            Watch it! I could have all your heads on spikes

      • Jamie Lannister

        I am on the Kingsguard Ser Phil, I know my duties, so please guard your tongue…Aye, you make a good suggestion, however, so an appropriate avatar will be chosen.

        • Funn Dave

          Nerd alert!

          • itzscott

            God help us, as if there weren’t enough high school math club members here already. Now comes a frustrated thespian who’s going to post as Wm. Shakespeare?

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              Think you kinda missed the reference here itzscott

            • Chef Brian

              Or posting as Jamie Lannister from GOT…

          • mjhurdle

            [img]http://s13.postimg.org/xwc8r64mv/a_math_joke.jpg[/img]

            haha math humor rules

  • Jason P

    It was a little shakier today than in the first 2 games of the series, but I think the bullpen has a chance to be really good. I love the power arms and the depth. When someone gets hurt or struggles, no more turning to Kameron Lowe or the likes. Tv his year, we’ve got Parker, Vizcaino, Rosscup, and Fujikawa, not to mention Cabrera and Neil Ramirez who could wind up serviceable arms themselves.

  • Jason P

    It was a little shakier today than in the first 2 games of the series, but I think the bullpen has a chance to be really good. I love the power arms and the depth. When someone gets hurt or struggles, no more turning to Kameron Lowe or the likes. This year, we’ve got Parker, Vizcaino, Rosscup, and Fujikawa, not to mention Cabrera and Neil Ramirez who could wind up serviceable arms themselves.

    • Jason P

      Oops, double comment.

    • Jon

      It’s exciting to think all the leads that won’t be there for them to hold

      • Lou Brown

        I wouldn’t stand for it any more Jon. Make a stand. Boycott all things Cubs, the team, Wrigley field, both Clark and Addison, this board (especially this board). The time is nigh, embrace hockey, soccer, and any other number of sports. Leave Cubdom behind (and especially this board).

        • Jon

          [img]http://www.quickmeme.com/img/3b/3be7dd36e1bf27ef71b5aedf625e2d2aa9902a5cbf73abb4b3bf7f1188547929.jpg[/img]

  • esruc

    And he will hopefully never be a cardinal…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev3Y4wrDy_Q#t=190

  • Cornish Heat

    And he’ll never be a Royal…

    hahahaha…haha…ha…ha……..

    Ha.

  • SKHERK

    Very, very happy with this series and what we’ve seen through 3 games! The horrendous RISP numbers will get better, especially as Castro gets up to speed at the plate. Starting pitching was great, and I can’t remember being this excited about our bullpen and defense!

  • ssckelley

    I know it sucks the Cubs are 1-2 but just think how close they are to 2-1 or even 3-0 after playing a very good Pirate team on the road.

  • ssckelley

    The ICubs lineup looks pretty good today:

    1 Szczur
    2 Alcantara
    3 Baez
    4 Vitters
    5 Coghlan
    6 Villanueva
    7 Jackson
    8 Whiteside
    9 Rusin

    Of course every lineup looks good with Baez in the middle of it.

  • MightyBear

    James Russell is now on pace for 162 appearances.

  • TimBeam

    .666 with runners in scoring position today!

  • Picklenose

    Is anyone watching the Cards-Reds game. Matt Holiday refused to be called off a routine fly ball leading to an error. Pretty ugly play, you could see Jon Jay calling him off.

  • oneshotdan

    we got lucky…should have lost yet another game…THE HEAD BRASS MADE ME A DISLIKE THIS TEAM SO MUCH…..TIRED OF THE BS FOR HOYER ….

    • Picklenose

      It will be okay Dan – just shut the door on your way out please.

    • mjhurdle

      I think it is funny that somewhere, there was disgruntled Pirate fan guy saying the same thing about their first 2 wins, minus the Hoyer bit. :)

      • Picklenose

        The announcers in that reds/cards game are harping on the reds leaving runners on base, especially the bases loaded 1 out situation after the dropped popup. Seems like everybody is unhappy about risp failures.

  • Spoda17

    Brett, you should do a BN fundraiser to add a live chat function… it’s damn hard to follow when people reply to different posts… live chat bro, wave of the future… I know, I know… sounds crazy, but it is available…

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