Cubs Record: 7-1 (1st Place NL Central)
W: John Lackey (2-0, 5.68)
L: Alfredo Simon (0-1, 9.53)
MVP: The Entire Cubs Lineup
The Cubs jumped on Reds starter Alfredo Simon immediately in a five-run 49-pitch slog of a first inning that Simon couldn’t get out of. The Reds bullpen didn’t fare any better, giving up four more runs before the game was over. That was more than enough for John Lackey, who recovered from a shaky first to go 6.2 strong innings of one-run ball to pick up what would eventually become a 9-2 win. Usually one player wins the MVP but the devastation wreaked by this Cubs lineup tonight deserves a group award.
Hard to know where to start with today’s game. So much good to mention for Cubs hitters. As a lineup, the Cubs reached base a total of 19 times! A big part of that total was an amazing-but-fast-becoming-common 10 walks by Cubs batters. Let’s single out a couple of the strong performers tonight.
Miggy Montero got on base three times and scored every time he did. He also caught a very solid pitching performance after John Lackey escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning.
A little dap here for John Lackey too. I still haven’t totally warmed to him and it was looking like I still would be cold three batters into the top of the first. The bases were loaded for Brandon Phillips with no outs, but after a strikeout, a sac fly, and a great play by Ben Zobrist the inning was over with only one run in. From there with a big lead it was smooth sailing for Lackey.
Speaking of Zobrist, he had another excellent game at second for the Cubs. He only got on base once via the walk (at this point I may start to assume Zo walks once every game), but Breally stood out on defense tonight. In addition to his diving play to end the first, he turned a silky smooth 4-3 double play to short circuit a rally in the third.
Finally, a big game for a personal favorite of mine Jorge Soler. He kicked off his night with a sac fly in the first. Two singles and a walk followed. If Soler can work walks and make solid contact like tonight, this lineup can be unstoppable.
The Reds pitching staff had a rough night tonight against an unremitting Cubs attack. As a unit they threw an astonishing total of 188 pitches. Added on to ten walks and constant pressure it was a taxing night that hopefully will spill over into tomorrow.
Simon’s first inning was ugly to say the least. The Cubs carbo-loaded on Alfredo immediately out of the gate. The details are pretty gruesome, so any young children or Brennemans should avoid reading the next sentence. In a total of 2/3 of an inning, Simon allowed 5 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks over 49(!) pitches. The coup de grace was an RBI single by opposing pitcher John Lackey. All I can say is ouch, babe.
Tomorrow night Jason Hammel (0-0, 1.50) takes the mound against the Reds’ opening day starter Raisel Iglesias (1-0, 2.31). Hopefully the Cubs can continue their grinding ways and crack into a very beaten-up Reds bullpen.