Ah, nothing like shredding the bullpen in the second game of the season.
After 17 innings, Brandon Morrow finally entered the game for the Cubs, though not to close it out. Instead, he was summoned to hold fast to the tie that Eddie Butler(!) had preserved for seven incredible innings. Morrow immediately gave up the game-winning hit. Bummer.
Kyle Hendricks was efficient and effective through six innings, doing just about what you’d expect him to do against this Marlins lineup, even without his best command. Very encouragingly, Hendricks’ fastball velocity was up in the 86-88 mph range, which is perfectly playable for him. You’ll recall, he kicked off last season around 85 mph, and it was a serious problem for the overall effectiveness of his pitches. But, after a DL stint for tendinitis in his middle finger, Hendricks’ velocity more or less came back, and it’s good to see that it’s carrying through to the start of this season.
The story of this one, though, was the lack of offense for the Cubs, who got a homer from Kris Bryant, but little else except a couple missed opportunities and a boatload of strikeouts. They were grinding at bats well throughout the night, making Marlins pitchers work … but those ground ABs were consistently ending in strikeouts. And against guys the Cubs shouldn’t be striking out against.
All in all, that was a crummy one to lose, both because it was so very winnable, and also because now the Cubs’ bullpen is all wrecked for the next two days. Hope you’ve got a long one in you, Yu Darvish.