Look, with Jose Quintana on the mound for the Pirates, the right-handed heavy Cubs should’ve scored WAY more than just two runs today – on two solo homers from one guy, no less. But there was just so much to be happy about in this one, I don’t even care.
Among the highlights? Drew Smyly continued a stretch of dominant starting pitching for the Cubs to open up the season. He went 5.0 scoreless innings with 11(!) groundouts and only three balls in play over 83 MPH. That is a winning combination. And, yes, it was just the Pirates, so we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but he did look good, especially the curveball, which netted 6 of his 8 whiffs.
And he wasn’t the only impressive Cubs pitcher. Really, they all were good. Chris Martin was throwing 96 MPH darts on the edges. Ethan Roberts had some NASTY sliders. Mychal Givens did give up the solo shot in the 8th, but he also struck out three batters in his inning (it’s pretty easy to see how tough of an at-bat he can/will be). And David Robertson closed out a one-run game with no drama … okay, except for that last fly ball ….
Offensively, the Cubs didn’t score a lot, but Clint Frazier hit the ball hard, netting a double. Ian Happ had another two opposite field hits from the right side of the plate (traditionally his weaker side), and still hasn’t struck out this season. And Suzuki hit his second and third home run of the season, one to the opposite field.
It just felt like the Cubs were so much better today than the final score suggests. And a win is a win.