The Cubs got the 2018 season off on the right foot, with a 8-4 win over the Marlins on the road. Tonight, they’ll try to make it to 2-0 for the first time since …. 2016.
But before that, it had been a while:
From Cubs notes: Cubs aim to start '18 season 2-0 for only 2nd time since '96. '16 Cubs started 3-0 after franchise went 1-1 or 0-2 in 1st 2 games of previous 20 seasons.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 30, 2018
Kyle Hendricks is making his season debut tonight, after a killer Spring Training in Arizona (2.37 ERA, 23Ks, 2BBs). If he’s got his velocity up where it has been, there’s no reason he can’t have an absolutely dominant year. For what it’s worth, Hendricks will face the exact same lineup Jon Lester faced yesterday. Let’s hope he goes a bit deeper and gives the bullpen a rest.
The lefty Caleb Smith is starting for the Marlins tonight, because their previously scheduled #2 starter, Dan Straily, is out with right forearm inflammation. He’ll face a similar lineup as Jose Urena, but Ian Happ and Jason Heyward have been subbed out for Albert Almora and Ben Zobrist.
Smith throws from the left side of the plate and is a pretty straight-forward fastball, changeup, slider guy. He’s not much of a flame thrower, but he does work around 93-94 MPH, so he’s not a soft-tosser either. He hasn’t had much experience in the Minor Leagues yet, but he did perform well at Triple-A last season (2.39 ERA, 3.27 FIP). As far as I can tell, he won’t walk too many batters and he can rack up the strikeouts, but he struggles to keep the ball on the ground. So the key to tonight’s game might be in the long ball, once again.
Chicago Cubs (1-0) at Miami Marlins (0-1) – 6:10 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (R): 3.03 ERA, 3.88 FIP; 3.08 K/BB (2017 stats)
Marlins: Caleb Smith (L): 7.71 ERA, 5.62 FIP; 1.80 K/BB (2017 stats (only 18.2 IP))
- Lewis Brinson, CF
- Derek Dietrich, LF
- Starlin Castro, 2B
- Justin Bour, 1B
- Brian Anderson, 3B
- Garrett Cooper, RF
- Miguel Rojas, SS
- Chad Wallach, C
- Caleb Smith, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Jon Lester, P