(Sasha says: Although today is Opening Day, last night was Opening Night, and our own Emily Torockio bothered to watch the game and is here to tell you all about it, because it is baseball season in America once again. Cool Dad Joe Maddon is watching you.)
Baseball! It’s happening!
The season kicked off last night under the lights and weird new video screen at Wrigley Field. Yes, as an emotional and rabid Cardinals fan who lived on the North Side of Chicago for over a decade, I am kind of biased against Wrigley Field, but I feel like any human with eyes can agree that this “gradual modernization” of the “Friendly” Confines is the aesthetic equivalent of me every time I try to grow out my bangs — the final product may be pleasing, but in the middle, shit’s just UGGS. I’m also interested to know how much revenue they are losing by not opening up the bleachers; it’s gotta be A LOT, right?
ESPN2’s pregame was pretty indicative of the nation’s attitude toward this once-viable rivalry — high expectations and excitement for the new Maddon-led Cubs, and an air of “ugh, you guys again” for the Cardinals. Fair enough. “Ugh, you guys again” can also be used to describe the fact that Fall Out Boy performed during the pre-game show.
Then we listened to someone called London Lo turn “God Bless America” into an instrument of ear murder. Then, finally, there was baseball.
The gist of it: The Cardinals won 3-0.
The details of it:
- Adam Wainwright pitched 6 shutout innings and struck out 6. I don’t love that he gave up 3 leadoff doubles and that it took 101 pitches to get through 6 innings, but I guess it’s the first game of the season and I can calm down. It was reassuring to see Waino successfully working out of jams, while not reassuring that he got into jams.
- Jon Lester‘s Cubs debut was not great. He lasted only 4.1 innings and gave up 3 earned runs, but he did keep the Cardinals from breaking the game wide open in a few different spots.
- All eyes were on the Cardinals’ newest kid on the block, Jason Heyward, and boy did not disappoint. Heyward went 3 for 5 with two leadoff doubles, causing the Cardinals’ Twitter fan base to be like, “MORE LIKE JASON BAE-WARD, AM I RIGHT?” #JBae
- Dexter Fowler, Chris Coghlan, and Doug Ross all hit leadoff doubles against Waino, but the Cubs were just unable to get the key hits needed for runs.
- Carlos Martinez, newcomer Jordan Walden, and Trevor Rosenthal came in from the Cardinal bullpen for the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings, respectively, and killed it. Collectively they gave up no hits and struck out 6. Rosenthal had a fast 1-2-3 inning and struck out the side.
- Apparently Lester has a problem throwing the ball to the bases? Like for pickoffs? The ESPN announcers described it as being akin to having the yips, like he’s scared to do it and can’t out of his head about it. This is fascinating, because everyone knows about it, so won’t everyone try to run on him?
- Something was going on with the moon last night, because Yadier Molina allowed the Cubs’ Tommy La Stella to steal second on him, and then also had a passed ball. BONE-CHILLING OPENING DAY STUFF.
Overall, this game was not all that exciting, unless you are a Cardinals fan who is pleased as punch to have seen great pitching and a strong start to hopefully an explosive year for Jason Heyward. It was a good opportunity to get a peek at some of Cubs new young talent, and who knows, maybe Back to the Future IIwill be right after all. For now, I think I speak for us all when I say, thank the baseball gods that baseball is back.