Christopher Morel hit the first pitch of this game out of the yard [VIDEO].
So that’s good! And that ball was crushed!
Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Keegan Thompson had the worst start of his career and really didn’t do anything right. He got smacked for three home runs and also hit two batters and allowed seven runs in three innings That ballooned Thompson’s season ERA from 1.99 to 3.17 and the Cubs lost the series opener to the Orioles 9-3, their first loss to the O’s since 2008.
Honestly, there isn’t much more to say about this game. Alec Mills, just activated from the injured list, made his season debut and threw reasonably well (five innings, six strikeouts, an efficient 73 pitches), though he was also touched for a pair of home runs. In finishing up the game, he saved the rest of the bullpen for Wednesday’s game.
There were a couple other Cubs highlights, so let’s look at them.
That ball also went a long way:
Funny thing, as we learned in the series preview from Mark Brown of Camden Chat, the Orioles carved out a whole bunch of seats in left field to make it harder to hit home runs there. And yet, seven balls left the yard Tuesday, go figure. The five homers Cubs pitching allowed is the second time in the last four games they’ve done that (also last Friday against the Cardinals).
The Cubs put another run on the board in the sixth. Jason Heyward walked with one out and one out later, Morel tripled him in [VIDEO].
Morel’s two-hit game extended his franchise record streak of reaching base from the start of a career to 21 games. Only 11 players in MLB history have had a longer such streak (and it’ll still be 11 even if Morel gets a hit Wednesday, because next up are two 23-game streaks). This, at least, is something fun about the Cubs to keep an eye on, and every game Morel has like this solidifies his claim to stick around in the big leagues. If he keeps this up, he’s going to get some Rookie of the Year votes.
Attendance was announced as 11,509, but it looked like maybe 5,000 were in the house at one of the nicer ballparks in baseball, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The weather wasn’t great — it rained off and on much of the game — and that was likely a factor, but Baltimore is averaging fewer than 16,000 per game this year.
This brief recap is over, and speaking of “brief,” the Cubs will wrap this quick two-game set in Baltimore Wednesday evening. Marcus Stroman will start for the Cubs and Jordan Lyles is the scheduled starter for the Orioles. Game time is again 6:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.