Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 0, Pirates 1 – March 31, 2014

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Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 0, Pirates 1 – March 31, 2014

Enhanced Box Scores

I can think of worse ways to start off the season, but this would make the top ten.

The Cubs put on plenty of baserunners today, but could do diddly with them. They were scoreless through 10, and, unfortunately, the Pirates were scoreless through 9. But, uh, they get to bat in the 10th, too, and a Neil Walker walk-off did the trick.

Jeff Samardzija wasn’t absolutely overpowering today, but he was damn good. His splitter – which is his wipeout pitch – wasn’t working for him today, which I expect is an early-season thing. But he was mixing up his other offerings well, and his two-seamer had some seriously effective movement. The defense was fantastic behind him today, with a great double play by Starlin Castro (and a fake at second base on a hit and run that led to another double play by Emilio Bonifacio) and great speed in left and center (not used to seeing that).

Unfortunately for the Cubs, Francisco Liriano was absolutely overpowering today, and many of them looked a little silly against the lefty. Kudos to the Cubs for working counts and getting Liriano out after six, but it didn’t really matter, because the general storyline stayed the same after he exited.

At least Emilio Bonifacio had four hits. So what if he got picked off in the 10th inning? And at least the bullpen was solid. So what if swing man Carlos Villanueva swung right into that Walker homer?

(I know it was a close, low-scoring game, and I’m not going to jump on anything after just one game, but I sure didn’t care for the volume of sacrifice bunt attempts we saw called for in this one. I don’t want to get into a whole debate here, but sac bunts are pretty much always a bad idea (aside from the 9th inning, with a guy on second base, nobody out, and the team needing just one run), even when they’re successful. And, as we saw with Samardzija bunting into a crippling double play, they aren’t always successful. The Cubs gave away so many outs today with nothing to show for it.)

march 31 box

Full box score.


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.