As bad and ugly and un-fun as Opening Day was, this one was reasonably close to the opposite.
Jake Arrieta made his return to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, and his threw six innings of one-run ball, with five strikeouts and just one walk. He won’t look like the old Jake to anyone who remembers, but he sure as heck looked like a guy who could throw a lot of competitive innings for the Cubs this year.
Even in his 25-pitch first inning, Arrieta was looking pretty good. The damage came on a walk to Ke’Bryan Hayes (I don’t hate that), a solid oppo single, and then a nothing groundball up the middle. More importantly, the velocity was where you want it, the pitches looked good – especially the curveball – and it felt like he might have a solid day ahead of him.
He did, he kinda cruised, and then Brandon Workman, Andrew Chafin, and Craig Kimbrel all looked fantastic out of the bullpen to finish the game off. Kimbrel struck out the side in order in the 9th and I was feeling feelings. The curveball looked sharp and while the fastball will still need a click or two, it was playing really well at 96/97 mph with late life.
Offensively, the Cubs got big blasts from Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward, with Javy Báez running wild on the bases to create a run and driving in another.
It was a happy day all around. And a special one.