Ah. We’re just getting right back into it, aren’t we?
The Cubs and Cardinals wasted little time in giving us an exciting game, but a Randal Grichuk walk-off hit in the bottom of the 9th ended things.
After riding the wave of the post-championship offseason, the Cubs didn’t do much worth note in the first eight innings of their opener against the Cardinals. That was mostly a credit to Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, who was fantastic. He was bringing 97-100mph velocity with silly tailing action, and getting great movement on both his slider and his changeup.
Things got awfully exciting for the Cubs in the 8th inning, as Willson Contreras and Javy Baez singled off of Carlos Martinez to end his night. Then closer Seung Hwan Oh hit Kyle Schwarber to load the bases with one out for Kris Bryant, who did not have a very impressive at bat (after three Ks against Martinez, Bryant seemed a bit eager against Oh, who was not throwing strikes, but Bryant popped out). Anthony Rizzo then flew out to right to end the threat.
But the Cubs got to Oh the next inning, as he hit Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward hustled out an infield single (with an assist from poor Matt Carpenter decision making), and then Willson Contreras destroyed one to left to tie the game.
It was all so wonderfully exciting and completely THIS TEAM IS DOING IT AGAIN … for about 10 minutes. That’s when the Cardinals finished things off.
The Cardinals got their first run with an assist from the second base ump and an MLB At Bat ad behind home plate – Javy Baez could see an Aledmys Diaz grounder off the bat, so a double play ball turned into a single, turned into an eventual run. Just one of those flukey things, and hard to feel too bad about. It happens.
Jon Lester overall had a solid season debut. Although he battled early, he settled in for a few innings before being pulled a couple batters into the 6th. The Cardinals second and third runs came on a Grichuk homer off of Pedro Strop, who, yup, still seems to struggle in St. Louis.
Then Grichuk played hero in the 9th after Mike Montgomery loaded the bases (the walk to Kolten Wong featured some really close calls that didn’t go his way).