The Cubs' Largest Shutout Win in Team Opening Day History and Other Bullets

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The Cubs’ Largest Shutout Win in Team Opening Day History and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

wrigley crowd win flagHours slept: 3.75.

Sick kids home with me today: 1.

Caffeinated drinks before 8am: 2.

Games left this season: 161.

Feels about last night’s game: all of them.

It’s actually embarrassing to admit how much of an impact the outcome of last night’s game has on my psyche and ability to get up-and-at-em today. If the Cubs had lost a close one last night, I can tell you, I’d really be dragging today. But a 9-0 win? A game where it didn’t even seem like the Cubs were blowing the Angels away, and instead just felt like they were doing their thing (which happened to result, almost by magic, in a 9-0 win)? Man. I tell you what. I’m feeling good.

  • It sounds like Joe Maddon was feeling the same way about how that game played out, in terms of it looking like the Cubs just kinda cruised to a blowout win: “It was a really fun game to manage,” Maddon told ESPN. “When you have to do absolutely nothing, it’s great.” They won’t all be like that, of course. Actually, probably very few will pair a dominating starting pitching performance with a huge offensive output. But it certainly made for a great first game at the end of a very long day of anxiousness. From that very first Anthony Rizzo RBI single with two outs in the first, I started to feel very relaxed.
  • The win was also something of a historic one for the Cubs. If I’m reading this correctly, and I am, last night’s win was the Cubs’ largest shutout victory on Opening Day in team history:

  • Theo Epstein discusses the season that lay ahead for the Cubs – and the front office – and not letting the end goal (the World Series) hang over everything in a way that negatively impacts performance, because the season plays out as a day-to-day grind (CSN). At the same time, Epstein acknowledges that everyone wants to make sure any failures that occur this year are not because there was a lack or work or preparation. (More on Epstein later today.)
  • Dexter Fowler reached base four times last night, and scored three times. Whatup, leadoff hitter. I am so glad he came back.
  • A fun moment for Matt Szczur last night, who entered the game as a defensive replacement shortly after his alma mater Villanova won the men’s college basketball title, and then hit a bases-clearing double.
  • Jeff Passan’s new book ‘The Arm’ is out today, and there’s another excerpt up at Deadspin about the nitty gritty of Tommy John surgery. One slice I found especially fascinating was about the science behind how a tendon from another part of the body comes to replace the destroyed ulnar collateral ligament: “Over the next two years, the new tissue slowly undergoes a process called ligamentization, in which tendon cells called teno­cytes modify their function and how they secrete the regenerative protein collagen, and, after about two years, change their entire form. In adapting to its new role holding the upper and lower arms together, the tendon actually morphs into a ligament, con­necting bone to bone.” So, then, there’s a reminder there: although guys can come back and be pitching within a year of the surgery, there are things happening on a cellular level that cannot be sped up, and will not necessarily be finishing doing their thing for two years. Freaking fascinating.
  • Also out today, but wholly unrelated to baseball (unless you count BB-8), is the physical copy of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ I’m waiting to re-watch it on Friday with The Father-In-Law, who hasn’t seen it yet. Gonna be fun.
  • Speaking of fun, Bryce Harper wore a “Make Baseball Fun Again” hat:

  • Some hallway celebration last night:

  • More Arrieta praise:

  • Meanwhile:

Author: Brett Taylor

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