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But I got to stop wishing, got to go fishing. Cubs 3 Bucs 2.

But I got to stop wishing, got to go fishing. Cubs 3 Bucs 2.

The Chicago Cubs got their first win of the season today, thanks to some early offense and some dominant starting pitching and defeated the pesky Pirates 3 to 2. The Cubs put up a "picket fence"- scoring a run in each of the first three innings. Emilio Bonifacio continued his white hot start with a single to start the game. Bonifacio would then steal second base and come home on Anthony Rizzo's single to left. That's right, Anthony Rizzo got a hit off a lefty with a runner on base. Save the date…. In the second inning Mike Olt went the other way and got one into the jet stream and just into the right field seats. They all count the same however and it was 2-0 Cubs. Bonifacio would double in the third and score on a double play ball by Justin Ruggiano. The Pirates would score two runs and have the tying run on base but Pedro Strop would shut the door and the Cubs head back home for the opener with a win under their belt. Let's pick up some beer on the way back...

HAMMEL OF THE GODS

Can't ask for a better start than the one you got out of Jason Hammel today. Hammel threw 6 shutout innings today. Keeping the Pirates guessing all day. His only blemish would be a Neil Walker walk that would come in to score thanks to some tired pen work from Everyday Jimmy ( 3rd game in a row.) and Justin Grimm.  But Grimm, Reggie Ledoux looking Brian Schlitter and Vote For Pedro would get the job done for the Cubs.

ALL THINGS TO EVERYONE,  RUN RUN AWAY.

As you know, we don't say the "T" word here. But it goes without saying that the Cubs base running has been atrocious so far this year. Cubs have been thrown out on the bases 5 times already. That leads the league. So like….please stop doing that.

JUNIOR BIRDMAN

Junior Lake made waves when he ran out onto the field and spent his first at bat in the wrong uniform. Instead of having the big, block CUBS across his chest, Lake was sporting a uniform that read "Chicago" across the chest. How was that even in his locker? Anyway, add that up with some of his base running decisions and the fact that he's been playing left field from the warning track and it's safe to say that Junior could get his head into the game a lot earlier.

So hey hey, a win. Makes the series a lot closer. The Cubs were in every game. And had that 1 for 27 been anything else, we're looking at a winnable series. Speaking of winnable series, the Phillies are in town tomorrow for the Cubs home opener. Travis Wood on the numb, Fausto Carmona and/or Roberto Hernandez or the Phillies….whichever you prefer.  Should be a fun one. Until then.

Onwards.

Boxscore

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  • E M I L I O
    E M I L I O
    E M I L I O

    We have a lead off hitter. He slumped today , just 2 for 4, but everyone has an off day.

  • In reply to John57:

    My father has a new favorite player now. BTW my Dad's name is Emilio.

  • BTW John, I prefer Robert Hernandez. He once won 19 games as Fausto Carmona.

  • So far - so good - with the starting pitching mob,..... Let's see if Wood can make it 4 for 4 more or less quality starts to start out the season.

    And (with the exception of my continued concerns over Veras and maybe Wright and Villanueva) - the bullpen did its job again today.

  • Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 2m
    Reliever Alberto Cabrera cleared waivers, outrighted to Triple-A @IowaCubs

    Nice surprise...I didn't think he would clear.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I'm surprised. It's getting crowded in Iowa.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Very nice surprise indeed. I think the timing helped on this. Tough to add that late in the spring.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The timing helped, and the other thing that helped is probably Alberto's inability to throw strikes consistently.....

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Really not surprised with how poor his stuff looked in ST

  • Look, no one is more cautiously optimistic about the Cubs this year than me so please don't tell me this is just the first three games of the season and a lot can happen, and blah, blah, blah...I get that.
    But recognizing that we just played thirty-five innings of baseball with the Pirates with the final run tally 7-5 (bad guys), final game tally 2-1 (bad guys), and Vegas usually giving a run to the home team; and further recognizing that the Pirates won 94 games last year and made the tournament, one "truth seems self evident" as Jefferson once said: that we match up very well with the Pirates.

  • In reply to travelguy:

    True enough. And with even a shade more offense, and a bit less stress on the bullpen - could have easily been a 3 win hat-trick by the Cubs.

    IF we can get some consistent offense, any offense,..... this could be a very quietly effective club.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Honestly, if they can just hold water til midseason you're talking about an influx of Baez Alcantara and possibly more. So, they will have good offense in theory later in the season similar to if they made some big mid season trades.

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    In reply to travelguy:

    Agreed! (7-6 is the run tally, by the way)

  • In reply to travelguy:

    This is just the first three games of the season. ; ) Lets wait until we win a series against them before saying "we match up very well with the Pirates", please.

  • Interesting take Travelguy….

    Like your angle.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Always enjoy your post-game analysis Felzz...

  • Picket fence....now where did I hear that earlier today?

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    Chicago writers can ease up a bit about Rizzo today.

    I think Castro will be fine. He's making pretty good, hard contact.

    Can we just trade Bonificio now while his value is up?

    Great overall game but the bunting, oh the bunting, is killing me.
    At least Hurdle was dumb enough to do it, too. Worked out well for us.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Everyone seems to recognize our offensive deficiencies. I submit it is even more appropriate to use the sac bunt to move runners into scoring position when you have a weak offense because you can't sit back and wait for the "big inning." Our problem hasn't been the sac bunts, its the lousy hitting with RISP after the sac bunts.

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    In reply to TTP:

    I submit that given these offensive deficiencies, outs are even more valuable, and should not be given away.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Long article, but the gist: Statistically, sacrifice bunts hurts the offense, not helps. Managers are getting wiser to it.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/were-the-yankee-sac-bunts-in-the-8th-inning-correct/

    Look no further than today's rally-killing bunt attempt on the part of Gaby Sanchez. Gift wrapped for the Cubs!

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Maybe Hurdle is getting that "idea" from watching Ricky keep doing it......

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    2 more Ks today. 5 on the year so far. Wheres the contact?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Who are you talking about? Castro has 3 strikeouts in the first three games, Rizzo has 3 also.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    RE: I think Castro will be fine. He's making pretty good, hard contact.

    I hope I'm wrong but I completely disagree. Castro looks lost at the plate right now. He doesn't have a plan up there, or if he does, it's the wrong one. He has the look of a player who has been figured out by the league, has been struggling ever since as a result, can't make the adjustments because he was rushed in his "development" and never had to change his approach before. Now he looks like he's lost confidence in himself, is second guessing himself at the plate, and as a result he's now swinging at garbage and then taking meatballs down the heart of the plate for strikes...in hitters counts. I really hope he snaps out of it, makes the adjustments, and get's back to being a hit machine, but I have serious doubts at this point. Hopefully I'm way of base and Castro gets back to All-Star form this year...if not Baez just might end up staying at SS for the Cubs.

  • Base running and bunting: Do these count as fundamentals?

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    In reply to Oneear:

    Base running? Yes.

    I'm baffled that an organization that's become so analytics savy even bothers.

  • I hope that Olt isn't given any more days off for awhile,that Valbuena and Barney do the platoon thing at 2nd, and that Bonifacio takes CF in lieu of Sweeney.

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    In reply to TTP:

    For what it's worth, advanced metrics does not like Bonifacio's work in CF. Sweeney seems to grade as average. So we do lose a bit there.

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    Felzzy, the great thing about that picket fence is that they didn't get caught watching the paint dry.

  • I feel pretty good about the three game series against a playoff team on their turf, and the run differential was 1. Could easily have been the other way. Playing well.

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    I was in meetings all afternoon. Why was Olt pulled?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    John told LZ and myself on FBMSGR that is was for defense.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sure looks like Ricky is thinking straight L/R platoon with Olt and Valbuena. Olt needs to be in the line up everyday.

  • he was pinch hit for, but why is the question?

  • rizzo grounded a single the other way for his RBI.. Niiice.

  • Not to be a downer, but before we get too excited about hanging with the Pirates, many analysts are expecting the Pirates to take a step backwards this year. For example, Baseball Prospectus had the Pirates projected to go 80-82 this year and finish 4th in the Central. They have the Cubs at 72-90 by the way.

    As for why Renteria had Valbuena pinch hit for Olt... Luis had been the hottest hitter this spring and had been on base in 6 of 9 plate appearances coming into today. I have a feeling that Valbuena is going to pinch-hit for Olt against right-handed pitching late in games quite a bit. He did it in the first game also. I'm not saying that I would do the same thing, but I think it's pretty clear that's what happened.

  • LOVE the Slade reference Felzzy!!
    Great song! Weird yet cool video.

  • get used to platoon splits.. is probably gonna happen all year - my guess

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    Ummm. The Iowa Cubs lineup is stacked tonight. I wouldn't want to face that offense. Has the potential to go off every single night. Didn't realize how jacked it was until I saw it tonight.

    http://www.milb.com/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_04_03_mrbaaa_iowaaa_1&mode=gameday

  • In reply to Stomper90:

    They're going to need it, Rusin has already given up three runs.

  • Bryant just hit a BOMB!

  • Bryant goes deep off Matt Latos (rehabbing) in his first at bat!

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Soler follows with a double

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I hate to ask but Soler hurt already? I see he only got one at bat!

  • fb_avatar

    Where are you following AA? This isn't tracking their game?
    http://www.milb.com/scoreboard/index.jsp?sid=milb&org=112&ymd=20140403

  • In reply to Stomper90:

    I'm watching it on MiLB.TV

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    Feel free to laugh at me later... But I think it will be a fun year on the north side. I like the make-up of this team, especially if Olt, Baez and Alcantara develop as I expect them to this year. I think .500 is a very reasonable expectation despite the very tough division that we reside in... Go Cubs Go!

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