I hate off days. I know they’re needed and all but I don’t like them, especially early on in the season. I may not watch the Cubs tonight but I will watch some baseball! Well, let’s get into the recap of the Cubs first series at home.
Phillies 7, Cubs 2
W: Hernandez (1-0) L: Wood (0-1)
38,283 fans showed up for Friday’s Home Opener. I unfortunately couldn’t attend due to work but I would have loved to. The home opener is so special regardless of the outcome, plus who doesn’t want to attend the party of the century?! Wrigley Field first opened in 1914 and has been the Cubs' home for 98 seasons. Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg shared the first-pitch duties and all but Sandberg sang the seventh-inning stretch. The Cubs totaled three hits, including Welington Castillo's solo home run, which wasn't enough for Travis Wood. The lefty took the loss in his first start of the year, striking out eight and scattering six hits over 6 1/3 innings. Wood totaled 24 quality starts last season, and picked up his first this year. Phillies’ starter Roberto Hernandez (aka Fausto Carmona) surrendered three hits, two runs, one walk and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings. The Cubs did carry a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning but that’s when the Phillies came alive. They scored their first run in the fourth, when Marlon Byrd scored on a single from Domonic Brown, who went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. The Phillies struck again to take a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Carlos Ruiz, who went 1-for-2 with two walks and a hit by pitch, singled to right and Utley followed with a two-run home run to right-center field. Utley singled to right in the seventh to score Ben Revere, who went 3-for-5, to hand the Phillies a two-run lead. John Mayberry Jr. smoked a pinch-hit, two-run home run to left field in the eighth to make it a 6-2 game.
Phillies 2, Cubs 0
W: Lee (2-0) L: Samardzija (0-1)
Jeff Samardzija took the loss in his first start at Wrigley Field this season, he had a tough opponent in the Phillies' Cliff Lee, who looked more like a Cy Young winner than the pitcher who gave up eight runs on Opening Day to the Rangers. Lee scattered 10 hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter in seven shutout innings. Cubs’ starter Jeff Samardzija did have a strong outing but didn't receive offensive support. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked three, including one intentional and struck out eight. It was the fourth quality start in five games for a Cubs pitcher. Chase Utley had three hits, including his second home run in as many games, and scored the Phillies' second run to post a 2-0 victory Saturday over the Cubs. Emilio Bonifacio and Starlin Castro got on base five times but the Cubs continued their offensive woes, as they left 10 runners on base.
Cubs 8, Phillies 3
W: Villanueva (1-0) L: Burnett (0-1)
Carlos Villanueva said he was ready, and he was on a mission to get the win, and that, he did. This was Villanueva's third appearance after pitching in relief twice last week against the Pirates in extra-inning games. He took the loss in both, but manager Rick Renteria gave the right-hander a little pep talk that seemed to do the trick. He gave up one run on six hits over five innings and picked up the win in his first start of the season and continued a nice trend for Chicago starters, who now have a 1.93 ERA (eight runs over 37 1/3 innings) in the first six games. It was a great day at the plate for the Cubs’ Ryan Kalish, he reached base four times and racked up three RBIs on a pair of extra-base hits, he hit an RBI triple in a four-run first and added a two-run double in the sixth . Phillies starter A.J. Burnett struggled with his location, issuing six walks in the loss. The Phillies loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, getting an assist when Starlin Castro made an error on a potential double-play ball. But Cody Asche hit a comebacker to Villanueva, who threw home for the force. The Phillies made it interesting in the ninth against Jose Veras, adding two runs but Pedro Strop got Howard to fly out to Kalish in left to end the game.
After an off day today, the Cubs square off once again against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates in a three game series. Here are the upcoming games and probable pitchers:
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs
Tuesday, April 8, 7:05 PM CDT
Wednesday, April 9, 7:05 PM CDT
Thursday, April 10, 1:20 PM CDT
Gerrit Cole, RHP vs. Travis Wood, LHP