That was certainly an exciting game. Kyle Hendricks debuted. Arismendy Alcantara broke out. Anthony Rizzo muscled up for his teammates. Luis Valbuena very nearly had an-inside-the-park homer. And the Cubs won in 12. The curse of The Big Trade is over!
First, the dust-up: the Cubs took vocal umbrage at a dangerously close pitch from Aroldis Chapman that nearly took of Nate Schierholtz’s head (keeping in mind that Anthony Rizzo was plunked in his first plate appearance after homered the last couple days), and when Rizzo took the field the next half inning, someone in the Reds’ dugout must’ve said something to set Rizzo off. He threw down his glove and hat, and basically said, “come at me, bro.” It wasn’t an aggressive or unjustified thing – it had more of a “leader” vibe. I dug it.
Next, the Hendricks debut. After some clear jitters in the first, coupled with an unreasonably tight zone, Hendricks gave up three in the first, including three walks (one intentional). From there, he settled down, and he cruised. I’ll have more on him, but there were some really nice looking things – including the fact that he was able to get himself re-focused after that first inning.
The Valbuena near inside-the-parker was typical of those types of plays – outfielder collides with all, ball gets away – and Valbuena was thrown out at the plate after trying to dance around the catcher. It was reviewed, because it sure seemed like the plate was blocked, but for some reason the call stood. That’s another one on which we’ll have to get a little more info.
The Alcantara break-out, well, what can I say?