This week in Cubs baseball we’ve seen Kris Bryant get his first major league start, Maddon get ejected for the first time in a Cubs uniform, Lester throw his glove to a quick thinking Rizzo, and Wood pitched 7 scoreless innings.
I was thrilled the Cubs brought Bryant up from the minors this past Friday and while his Major League debut was hitless his defense was working at Major League caliber. Personally I wouldn’t have slatted him to bat cleanup on his first day, but since he is the savior of all baseball perhaps I would have been wrong to not mark such an auspicious occasion with number four in the batting order. Bryant played well, and as evidenced by his second day in the Major Leagues and his broken bat RBI that tied the game in the fifth, got his big league jitters out. While I think the prowess of the entire roster, and not just on very talented youngster, will be what gets them a title at the end of the season the Cubs couldn’t have asked for a better person to bet on than Bryant. I’ll be glad when I get to my first game in May that he has already been called up so with any luck he’ll be batting a thousand when I see him play live for the first time.
The same day Bryant made his debut, Joe Maddon was ejected for the first time while wearing Cubbie blue. I was at a bar watching the game without subtitles so I was a bit confused at what I saw happening on screen. I saw a very sad three run homer hit by Wil Myers of the Padres, this sight caused me to order another drink, but what I saw next I didn’t understand: Maddon yelling at an ump. Of course it was a home run, I watched it happen, what is he yelling about?! It wasn’t until later when there had been a few write ups that I found out Maddon thought the home plate ump should have called the previous pitch the third strike, a notion I agreed with. Unfortunately Joe got all sorts of amped up and relief pitcher Brian Shlitter, with his Forest Gump post run hair and beard, just looked upset with himself, yea Brian I would be too. In the post game presser Maddon pointed out there was a pitch earlier in the game that he felt was a strike as well but that ultimately pitchers need to make the best out of the situation and we aren’t always going to get the calls we want. It was no Lou Pinella screaming match but it wasn’t bad for our first ejection of the season.
Earlier today in the second inning against the Padres Jon Lester made a successful throw to first base, which is great considering the last time he threw to firs the ball soared over Anthony Rizzo’s head. After scooping up a ground ball hit back toward the mound by Clint Barmes the ball got stuck in Lester’s glove. If you check out the video he seems to try and shake the ball out while jogging in the direction of first base and then realizes he’ll never get it out in time and tosses a quick thinking Rizzo (who also removed his glove to make a better catch) his entire glove procuring the out.Honestly …..whatever works kudos to both Lester and Rizzo on this one…even though the Cubs lost the game they didn’t erm lose their spirit? At least not in the second inning anyhow.
Wednesday against the Reds Travis Wood pitched 7 scoreless inning, allowing only three hits and two walks with 7 strike outs. In the past consistency has been his issue but for the time being I’m thrilled he was given that final rotation spot. It was a masterful outing for him Wednesday with the Cubs taking the W 5-0 against a formidable opponent from their own division. The Reds are now 5-6 after taking a beating from the Cardinals over the past couple of days. All told the NL central is already stacked with the most similar win/loss columns from top to bottom , with the exception of Milwaukee of course. The Cubs currently are sitting in second at 6-5 behind the Cardinals at 7-3. The Cubs are followed by Pittsburgh at 6-6 then the Reds at 5-6. If this is any indication of how the year will be the Cubs certainly have a fight ahead of them so if Wood can continue pitching as he did Wednesday all the better for Cubs Nation.
The Cubs end the week with 4 wins and 3 losses, not exactly stellar but pretty much on par with the res of the NL central. While my hopes are high for this season I think as long as the Cubs can keep a somewhat even pace with the rest of the division they’ll have more than a shot at the post season. History of course will say that come July and the all star break the Cubs will become the bumbling, hitless lovable losers we’ve watched for the last 100 or so years so maybe we should be looking to be setting the pace early in the season, you know just in case. We’ll see what next week has in store!
*shameless and corrected plug: last week I said my seats were 3&4 they are actually section 416 row 7 seats 103 & 104 so please message me if you would like to buy some!