Organizational Recap – Dodgers (and rain) can’t stop Cubs in home opener
I have class in the mornings. Many have work. The game approached 1 a.m. Central time, but I wouldn’t dare turn it off. A Jon Jay lead-off single, Tommy LaStella groundout and Anthony Rizzo RBI single sent me to bed and the few that remained at Wrigley home happy with a 3-2 victory.
It was a big night. The pregame ceremony was grand and illustrious, as not one, two or three, but four banners were raised by the likes of Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins before the current Cubs finished the deed by each taking a pull on the World Series flag.
Jon Lester started the game for the Cubs and successfully maneuvered his way through the Dodgers lineup, tossing six innings, fanning seven and allowing just one run on four hits.
A Bryant double (thanks Puig!) brought home Chicago’s first run in the third inning, and Lester helped himself in the fourth inning with an RBI groundout.
The game got a bit dicey in the seventh inning, as the Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs. Justin Grimm entered in relief of the struggling Carl Edwards and miraculously got out of the inning without a scratch.
Los Angeles knotted the score 2-2 in the eighth inning through an uncharacteristic Addison Russell error.
In the end, “Go Cubs Go” blasted from the speakers and Chicago won its third consecutive game.
L.A. still can’t hit southpaws
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is desperate to find a way for his lineup to produce against left-handed pitching. The inability for the Dodgers to hit southpaws has officially emerged as a storyline to follow in Los Angeles after the team hit just .213 last season against lefties and an abysmal .195 in the playoffs.
Roberts emptied the suggestion box last night in hopes of finding a way to crack the code. Included in these revisions were the platooning of Franklin Gutierrez and moving Adrian Gonzalez to the No. 6 spot in the order. No dice.
Evaluating Lester’s performance
To me, last night was vintage Lester. He grinded. He yielded swings and misses. Most importantly, he gave his team a chance to win. Lester threw six clean innings despite a bit of stinginess from home plate umpire Sam Holbrook. Lester is virtually unhittable when he gets those calls on the corner, but, nonetheless, he maintained his cool—about as well as his intense competitive nature allows—and turned in a quality start.
Lester allowed just four hits but his battery mate Willson Contreras saved a fourth—and a second run—in the sixth inning with a silky smooth defensive play that required him to pounce from his catcher’s position (Lester barely flinched) and sprint 45 feet towards the mound, scoop, spin and fire a laser to retire Scott Van Slyke on a swinging bunt.
3 cheers for Grimm
One for each out he magically induced while stranding three Dodgers. Edwards entered in the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead. I always thought Edwards was better suited coming into a fresh inning, but at least in this case, I was proven massively incorrect. It seemed like something was off with Edwards, as he seemed to be significantly overthrowing, especially against Puig to begin the inning.
After Puig’s four pitch walk, Edwards had Gonzalez down 0-2 before Willson Contreras was called for catcher’s interference. Just me, or does Contreras rack up more than his fair share of those? Anyway, Edwards then walked Grandal to load the bases without an out.
Grimm then proceeded to get a shallow pop fly, and then a double play ball to get out of the inning unscathed. C.J. owes him dinner. Maybe Maddon owes him some more playing time?
AAA – Iowa 2 @ Oklahoma City 5
SP — Ryan Williams – 4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 K
2B – Chesny Young – 1 for 3, BB
AA – Tennessee 2 @ Pensacola 3
SP – Duane Underwood Jr. – 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 8 K
LF – Charcer Burks – 1 for 3, BB, R
A-Adv – Buies Creek 3 @ Myrtle Beach 2
SP – Casey Bloomquist – 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5 K
DH – P.J. Higgins – 1 for 4
A – South Bend 5 @ Fort Wayne 3
RP – Dakota Mekkes – 3 IP, 0 H, 5 K, W
SS – Isaac Paredes – 3 for 4, 2 R