That was quite a series to kick off the season, eh? Tight games across the board, with late-inning drama in all of them.
It was a painful first inning for the Cubs, as Ben Zobrist dropped a sure-thing-would-be double play ball at second base, not only allowing a run to score, but extending an inning that went on to see two more runs come across.
The Cubs chipped away, getting things to 4-2 when Kyle Schwarber delivered the big blow. His three-run homer gave the Cubs the lead after the two men ahead of him reached base without the benefit of a hit: Jon Jay via the traditional walk, and Matt Szczur via the least traditional “dropped” third strike you’ll ever see (the ball literally got stuck to the front of Yadi Molina’s chest protector).
Kudos to John Lackey, by the way, for keeping the Cubs close after that first inning.
Things got dicey in the eighth inning for the Cubs, as Pedro Strop dropped a catch while covering first base, putting two runners on with just one out. The lead run came to the plate in the form of Game One hero Randal Grichuk, and Joe Maddon turned things over to Carl Edwards Jr. He gassed Grichuk with heat, and then froze Jedd Gyorko with a big bender to get out of the inning.
Hector Rondon got his first inning of work, and it was a clean one: a nice looking strikeout and two fly outs (both with 90mph exit velocity, so not crushed). It was quick, and hard to get a great read on how he was looking. The good news, though, is that it was a legit high-leverage situation in a real game, and Rondon got the results. That’s gotta help the confidence, which is a huge thing for all baseball players, but especially the lonely job of reliever.
Wade Davis labored a bit in the 9th, but got the job done.