Sanitizing 2019–Cubs 3 Brewers 0
Friday at 8:54 pm
Recaps are going to be slightly different in 2020, and the short version is that this is most likely what you will get immediately after a game in 2020. A full explanation of what is happening and why will be posted below.*
The Cubs had to wait an awfully long time for it, but the Northside ball club washed away some of the bad taste of 2019 with a solid all around game. The Cubs offense wasn’t potent by any stretch of the imagination. However, they were patient against some difficult pitchers. It felt like the Cubs lineup provided a threat up and down the whole lineup as opposed to pitchers just having to worry about the one or two hot hitters in the lineup at any given time in 2019.
The story of the night was the Cubs starter. After that performance some may be wondering whether Greg Maddux was a poor man’s Kyle Hendricks. It is a bit of opening day hyperbole but the Professor tossed a near Maddux in his first opening day nod. He had everything working with the elite change up and throwing that front door two seamer to lefties the way Maddux used to. If it wasn’t for Orlando Arcia’s best Ted Williams impersonation, he would have been perfect. But perhaps most worrisome to the NL Central was Kyle Hendricks saying in his best Happy Gilmore voice, “Kyle learned how to throw a curve.”
The Cubs offense had a bit of déjà vu all over again with Ian Happ hitting the Cubs first homer of the season. This year it was after working a 3-1 count in the nine spot as opposed to jumping on the first pitch of the 2018 season. The Cubs failed to manufacture a run without the longball, but that was about the only complaint as the Cubs won their third straight opening day.
The Professor was locked in right from the start of the game. He retired eight hitters in a row before yielding a single to Orlando Arcia three times. The Cubs made hard-throwing Brandon Woodruff work his whole night but their first two base runners were erased on inning ending double plays. Nico Hoerner managed to sneak a groundball up the middle with one out in the bottom of the third, and Ian Happ made it count by driving the ball to dead center for the first runs of the Cubs season. There was a scary moment with Anthony Rizzo receiving a glancing blow off the hand to reach for a second time, but he would be more than fine to go the rest of the way.
The middle to late innings saw a duel between Kyle Hendricks and the rest of the Brewers staff. Victor Caratini ripped a double to start the fifth inning in Woodruff’s final inning of work, but the Cubs failed to advance him. The Brewers bullpen then shut down the offense until two outs in the eighth inning. Anthony Rizzo hooked one inside of the right field pole to extend the lead to 3-0.
Thankfully Kyle Hendricks was up to the task cruising through nine innings. Pesky Orlando Arcia provided the only blemishes on the outing. The leadoff single Hendricks allowed in the ninth inning provided David Ross’s only work for the night getting Craig Kimbrel warmed. Ross went out to check on the Professor after he just crossed the hundred pitch threshold recording the second out of the final frame, but the new skipper trusted his ace. He was rewarded with a quick groundout to earn the first W flag of the Ross era.
It didn’t really matter the outcome. There was only going to be one thing that was fitting after the longest wait in MLB history for baseball to return. It is still a complicated situation and one whose completion is far from certain. But tonight none of that matters because…
*As you may have noticed the staff at Cubs Den has been dwindling for a while. That is a somewhat intentional choice. The intentional part was that there has been no effort to replace the writers who have decided to move onto other things over the past several years. Cubs Den has always been in a difficult position of keeping the writers trying to continue this passion project. It simply did not feel right to try to expand the staff given the precarious nature of journalism in 2020 and the questionable ethics of hiring writers paid with exposure.
This year I will be the only one writing a traditional recap, and as such I am going to try to keep the recaps shorter than the 1500 word behemoths I usually churned out in the past. It also means that there might not be a same day recap after every game. A little shop talk here but generally game recaps only receive any traffic when they are published within an hour or two of the final pitch. There is simply no way that I am going to be able to produce something in that time frame 60 times (hopefully more) this year. I am not ready to retire the Cubs Den recap at this time, and so I am going to try to produce as many as I can this year.
Michael is looking at starting a morning after recap that will published regardless of whether or not there is a same day recap. This is part of a larger attempt for the site to evolve to meet the challenging environment that everyone finds themselves in during 2020. I and everyone else at Cubs Den appreciate your support now and in the past. I look forward to sharing this strange and hopefully wonderful year of Cubs baseball with you.