Second verse, not as fun as the first. I didn’t see all of this one, but I sense that I didn’t miss much after I went out for the day. I left the house just before the Christian Yelich homer that made it 6-3. Yelich is gonna happen at some point. I can’t get too bothered by that, but there was plenty to be bothered by.
It’s trite to say that this result occurred because there was an abbreviated spring training followed by months off, followed by a hasty scramble to get ready to play. Certainly, rundown drills were run in the spring, but that isn’t the point. Plays like the Lorenzo Cain rundown happen to just about every big league team at some point in the season. Something goes sideways and someone doesn’t execute properly and a heads-up player takes advantage of the situation. If we don’t see Javier Baez do that at least a small handful of times in this abbreviated season, I’ll be surprised. That doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
The net result? Yu Darvish was already toiling at least in part due to an inconsistent strike zone. A really inconsistent strike zone. Yu had pitches that I was pretty certain balls called strikes and vice versa. And it was the same for Corbin Burnes on the other side. Irregardless of the score, the first two innings of of the game yesterday bordered on unwatchable. The two pitchers combined to throw close to 100 pitches through two innings and the score was only 1-1.
I realize this next thought doesn’t exactly demonstrate a full nuanced understanding of baseball. Just the same, it will never cease to amaze me that Kyle Hendricks has “stuff” that some grade out as barely Major League quality, yet year after year he is one of the better pitchers in baseball. He gets by on working in the zone, moving the ball around in the zone and often pitching to contact. Darvish is blessed with a dizzying array of pitches and yet he works so frequently out of the zone. Again, I get that the devil is literally in the nuance in these thoughts, but there are certainly times where you just wish Yu would attack in the zone. Of course, to be fair to Yu, he’s a four-time All-Star. He hasn’t exactly been a slouch in his career. It’s just frustrating to watch sometimes.
There are going to be days like this. Whatever. I saw that a record 22 teams started out 1-1. A team that reaches 32 wins is a virtual lock to make the expanded playoffs. 35 wins ought to be an embarrassment of riches. So as much as everything is condensed, one game is not going to make or break this thing. At least not early on. At least, this wasn’t a game that looked in hand and then was lost.
- Superhero: Kyle Schwarber (.131). When he hit his two-run homer in the fifth, I was pretty excited. It felt like it reset the game to a point where either team could win.
- Hero: Willson Contreras (.071). Willson had an RBI-single in the first inning. At a time where I hoped that a Brewers team with a ton of turnover was maybe stumbling out of the gate.
- Sidekick: Javier Baez (.067). Javy had a pair of hits and scored on the Schwarber homer.
- Billy Goat: Brad Wieck (-.177). Wieck allowed the sixth inning Yelich homer. Yelich is a beast. That’s going to happen. Walking Eric Sogard on four pitches in front of him? Yeah, that’s gonna get you in trouble.
- Goat: Yu Darvish (-.133). Yu wasn’t hideous, but he wasn’t good either. He allowed six hits and three runs over four innings of work. He struck out five and didn’t walk anybody.
- Kid: Jason Heyward (-.128). Jason does not look good at the plate in the early going. He’s back hitting weak grounders. He hit three of them yesterday before striking out in the fourth at bat.
WPA of the Play of the Game: Brad Wieck allowed Christian Yelich’s two-out two-run homer in the sixth (.213). That put the Brewers lead back to three and for me anyway, it took all of the wind out of the proverbial sails.
*Cubs Play of the Game: Kyle Schwarber’s one-out two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth cut the Brewers lead to one. (.186)
Up Next: The final game of the three-game set with the Brewers. Tyler Chatwood will match up against Freddy Peralta. Craig Counsell has hinted that Peralta might not have a full-fledged starter role. Whether that means he is solely making a spot start or if he might go once through the order and give way to the pen, we shall see.
Most of the odds sites have the Cubs as a slight favorite in this one. I’m not sure if home field advantage is quite what it normally would be with the empty stadiums and in the weird environment in general that is 2020. This one looks like a toss-up. Hopefully, the Cubs bullpen is better today than the five runs they gave up in five innings yesterday.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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