The Chicago Cubs opened their 2017 campaign with a 4-3 walk-off loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium Sunday night in an odd game. It was filled with emotions that Cub fans have never felt before being the defending champs, and the same can be said for the players.
The Cubs were shut down by Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez through the first 7.1 innings and trailed 3-0 going into the 9th. After spoiling a golden opportunity in the 8th when the Cubs had bases loaded with one out, they capitalized off Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh as Willson Contreras tied the game with a three-run homer. It looked like another epic Cubs #WeNeverQuit story that was all for not when Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuck hit a bases-loaded, walk off single in the bottom of the 9th to give the red birds a 4-3 win.
So this game saw a bit of good things and not-so-good things for the Cubs. There were some heroes and goats that luckily won’t have too much to sulk about with 161 games left in the season. Here is a list of the goods, bads and mehs from opening night.
Kyle Schwarber in his first game in the leadoff spot was 2/3 with a double and single and also was hit by a pitch.
Willson Contreras hit the game-tying home run in the 9th inning and was 2/4. While he and Jon Lester seemed to have some communication issues at the plate at times (Lester showed his frustration), he had a good night at the plate.
Kris Bryant really had a rough night at the plate. He was 0-4 with three strike outs and stranded five runners. He came up with the bases loaded with one out in the 8th inning and popped out reaching for a 2-1 pitch. Bad first game, he will be okay.
Bullpen gave up three runs including the game-ending run and in 3 2/3 innings walked six guys. Mike Montgomery gave up the walkoff hit after loading the bags with two outs and Pedro Strop gave up a two-run home run in the 8th inning. Hopefully they get their command under control and rebound which they likely will.
Jon Lester had an interesting night. He by no means had his A-stuff and as previously mentioned seemed to have some issues communicating with Contreras at times, but he also wasn’t terrible. Lester labored through his 5.0 innings of work throwing around 80 pitches through the first four innings and worked out of a lot of jams. He gave up seven hits and walked two but only gave up one run and struck out seven.
Javier Baez missed a double-play ball that resulted in first-third with no-one out as he could not see the ball coming his way. He claims that the white sign on the brick backstop caused him to lose the ball. He still made a nice play in the 9th and had a single, just an odd occurrence.
Jason Heyward started the night off rough striking out on three pitches in his first AB but in the 9th “Respected 90” as he slid into first setting up Contreras’ game-tying shot on a bobble by Chris Carpenter.
Dexter Fowler in a Cardinals uniform.