I told you this Cubs team had talent and was better than you thought.
They showed off some of that talent Tuesday in Pittsburgh, as Seiya Suzuki’s two home runs provided the margin of victory in a 2-1 win over the Pirates. And, Drew Smyly’s Cubs debut was a strong, successful one, with five really good innings.
The teams traded zeroes over the first four innings, with the Cubs providing some sparkling defense from Nico Hoerner [VIDEO].
Who says Nico can’t handle MLB shortstop?
Smyly allowed just three hits and didn’t walk anyone. Among his 15 outs were 11 ground ball outs and this strikeout of Roberto Perez in the fifth [VIDEO].
In the top of the fifth, Suzuki gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead [VIDEO].
Pretty good distance for oppo:
I thought David Ross might leave Smyly in the game for the sixth, as he had thrown just 68 pitches (49 strikes). But not only are the Cubs being careful with starters, Ross has to get to know who’s in his bullpen circle of trust, so I understand the move to Chris Martin in the sixth. Martin allowed a single but threw a scoreless inning, and then in the top of the seventh, Suzuki hit his second long ball of the day [VIDEO].
Ethan Roberts retired the Pirates scoreless in the seventh with one hit allowed, and Mychal Givens then made the only real Cubs pitching mistake of the day, a home run served up to Bryan Reynolds that made it 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth. Givens did strike out the side.
That left it to David Robertson to wrap things up in the ninth, and he did so 1-2-3. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].
Here’s where I open the complaint department door just a tiny bit. The Cubs had a lot of traffic on the bases in this one — six hits and a pair of walks besides Suzuki’s two homers. They went 0-for-5 with RISP. That’s not normally going to be enough to win, but... they won, so I’m closing that door again for today. Solid pitching both from Smyly and the bullpen was enough to win without the Cubs scoring more than on the solo homers. And winning is always good!
Hey, here’s a cool stat about Suzuki:
Seiya Suzuki of the @Cubs is the only MLB player with 8+ RBI and 4+ walks over his first 4 career games since RBI became an official stat in 1920.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) April 12, 2022
Looks like he’s exactly as advertised coming over from Japan — an on-base machine with power. This is an excellent signing by Jed Hoyer and he’ll pay dividends far beyond 2022.
The two-hour, 51-minute game is the Cubs’ fastest so far this year, not that 2:51 is “fast.” Hopefully this will become a trend. Also, personally I liked seeing the Cubs come out in their traditional road grays for this one. Perhaps you like the blue alts better; I don’t.
The Cubs will go for a sweep of this brief two-game series Wednesday. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and Zach Thompson will go for the Pirates. Game time is early — 11:35 a.m. CT, and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. Site note: With the quick turnaround to an early game Wednesday, the game preview here will post at 10 a.m. CT, 90 minutes to game time.
My favorite Cubs road jersey is...
This poll is closed
... the blue alternate
... the traditional gray
... don’t care either way