Monday, April 1, 2013

Opening Day Results/Analysis

Opening Day Game Analysis
Chicago Cubs 3-Pittsburgh Pirates 1
Winning Pitcher Samardzija (1-0) Losing Pitcher Burnett (0-1)
Save by Fujikawa (1)
Player of the Game: Jeff Samardzija

Opening Day started off great for the Cubs, especially for their starting pitcher, Jeff Samardzija. Cubs got their first win in their first chance this season with a score of 3 to 1. The Cubbies won because of Anthony Rizzo’s bat and Jeff Samardzija’s arm. In the top of the first inning Rizzo belted a two run homerun to right field, which would end up being the winning hit for the Cubbies. Samardzija went for eight scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and giving up just two hits and one walk to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kyuji Fujikawa should be thanking Carlos Marmol for his struggles in the ninth because that led to Fujikawa’s Major League debut, which he only had to throw two pitches to get his first save as a Cub.

Impressive: What impressed me in today’s game was Jeff Samardzija’s outing. I predicted that Samardzija would have a quality start with nine strikeouts and it turns out I got the right amount of strikeouts, but I underestimated the quality start. Samardzija just didn’t put in a quality performance, he put in a fantastic performance and probably the best performance of this opening week. What was really impressive about his start was how he overcame adversity in the first inning; Samardzija had to throw over 20 pitches to get of the first inning because of the walk that he gave up to Starling Marte and because of error made by second baseman Brent Lillibridge. After the first inning, Samardzija calmed down and dominated the Pirates lineup by giving up a total of two hits and one walk in eight innings.

Surprising: What surprised me were Welington Castillo’s and Nate Schierholtz’s performances in the game. Castillo had a great game today, going 2 for 4 with two doubles and a RBI. I find this to be surprising because Castillo usually struggles against righties, but today he hit two deep hits against the RHP A.J. Burnett.  Nate Schierholtz’s performance was not as surprising as Castillo’s, but Schierholtz put in a great game in his debut as a Chicago Cub. Schierholtz started in right and reached base in all of his plate appearances today with a walk, a single, a hit by pitch and reach on base due to an error. I also found the news about Darwin Barney going on the DL today surprising because I initially thought that his injured knee would just keep him out of today’s game, but it’s going to keep him out longer. Now with Barney on the DL, the Cubbies will keep journeyman Alberto Gonzalez on their 25 man roster and start Brent Lillibridge at second.

Concerning: There were three things that I found concerning about today’s game, they were the amount of strikeouts the Cubs batters had today, the defensive play at second base and Carlos Marmol’s struggles in the 9th inning. The Chicago Cubs hitters had a total of 15 strikeouts in the game, while the Cubs hitters got enough runs to beat the Pirates in today’s game, their plate discipline needs to be better in order for the Cubbies to have success this season. The defensive play at second base is a concern of mine because of the injury to last year’s gold glove winner, Darwin Barney. With Barney being on the DL, the Cubs will have to rely on Lillibridge. Brent Lillibridge brings a little more pop to the lineup than Barney did, but Lillibridge’s fielding is not as superb as Barney’s; for example, Lillibridge committed the first error of the season for the Cubbies in today's game. The last thing that I’m concerned about is Carlos Marmol being the closer for the Cubs. Marmol came into the ninth inning with a chance for a save, but left in the 9th with only getting one out and gave up a run by hitting Andrew McCutchen with a pitch, which led to a RBI hit by Pedro Alvarez and then he issued a walk to Gaby Sanchez. The Cubs had to use James Russell and Kyuji Fujikawa to finish the game and to get the save and victory.

Preview for the next Cubs game: The Cubbies are off on Tuesday, April 02, 2013 and play next on Wednesday, April 3; therefore I will be previewing that game on the 2.

No comments:

Post a Comment