View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



April 2017



Organizational Recap – Dodgers (and rain) can’t stop Cubs in home opener

Written by , Posted in General


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

  • Ben

    Only watched through the third and the ump was a little stingy around the corners. I thought Contreras made a pretty good throw to second for the out in the third. I also read the headline that Anthony Rizzo gave us the game winning RBI. I think for how good our line up is. The best thing we have is clutch. Anyone in that line up can deal with the pressure and be clutch. I will take that any day over having the team reach 1000 RBIs on the season. That’s just my opinion though.

  • Dork

    It was 2-0 when I fell asleep glad to see they won. The Cubs are battling the reds for first and the Cards are in last place just like we all thought.

  • Adam Peters

    Grimm Reaper!

    Nice to see us beat Jansen. Good to have some success to bolster the confidence against a guy like that.

    Was it just me or was the flag raising kind of a CF? Rhyno’s flag was OK, but why didn’t they unroll the other three before they started raising them. Especially the third and fourth after they had to shuck & jive the second one to get it to unfurl. It all worked out in the end, but it seemed like they made it unnecessarily complicated.

    • cap’n realist

      Seemed like a classic ‘ready, fire, aim’ scenario.

    • Bryzzo1744

      I give a pass. It hadn’t been done for 108 years,

  • Bryzzo1744
  • Eddie Von White

    This is what we are used to with this team – winning. It is so ordinary now – and satisfying. Go Cubs!

    • Bryzzo1744

      These aren’t the same Cubs that me and Woody grew up with

      • Put down the Gorilla Glue.

      • Sherm

        Woody and I.

        Just sayin’ (although it sounds like a lonely boy’s autobiography)

  • Doc Raker

    Sherm has to be happy with Grimm, he is a big Grimm fan. Great Win, although I still would like to see a bunt or two like in the 8th inning after the leadoff double by Almora, MVP failed to advance the runner to third with an ugly K, or was that ugly K in the 9th inning or was there 2 ugly K’s? Small ball is especially appropriate on a 35 degree day with The Wrigley playing like a 500 foot ball park small ball will win.

    Cardinals are 2-5 and seem to have some pitching problems, pity.

    • Kyle

      I went to bed with the bases loaded and no outs and still up one. I was convinced they were going to blow it, so had to cut out while a shred of hope existed so I could sleep better. Wake up to Grimm-Reaper coming through in the clutch. Hopefully he earned himself more regular duties.

    • Sherm

      There was a time in not so distant Cub history that a game like that resulted in a loss. One of the huge differences of the last three seasons is winning games ANYWAY. Historical Cub FINDS a way to lose. NEW Cub finds a way to win. I prefer the new way. A LOT.

  • That was a fun one… send the Dodgers home cold after 5 hours of Cubs stuff. Riz finally went with a pitch.

    • Doug S.

      The Dodgers get to endure the ring celebration tomorrow. Fun!!

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        couldn’t have happened to a better franchise.

  • Kyle

    Did anyone else wonder why Baez didn’t slide at the bag on the play where he was called safe on the force, but then replay showed he missed the bag, so he was out. (Lester’s RBI) I mean, if he slides AT THE BAG, he’s safe. How did he miss the bag!? Was he intentionally trying to mess with the 2B’s ability to throw to first?

    • Brad Lyerla

      That was my impression. He was aiming for the player, not the bag.

  • Brad Lyerla

    I was traveling and without the internet for a few days. But I got home yesterday and was at the game, for a while. Man, it was cold. The temperature dropped a reportedly 37 degrees from about 70 degrees at 5:30 to 40-ish degrees by the time they hoisted the flag. With the wind chill, it felt like 20 degrees or lower by the time we left.
    The ball park looks great, but the scene was kind of unpleasant. On special nights, everyone seems to arrive at the same time and the concourse last night was so crowded that you could hardly move. It stayed that way during the entire rain delay.
    I live close enough that when I left, I got home quickly and did not miss much of the game. But it was late, so I watched only a few outs of the espn broadcast. Listened to the radio instead and heard Len call the play by play a half inning on the radio with Pat and Coomer. Len is better on radio. Sticks to the game.
    Because Fergie, Billy and Ryno were singing during the stretch, they were in the booth for the top of the seventh. That was a mess. I mean, why do they interview celebrities while the game in being played? The interviews are superficial and the game becomes an afterthought.
    Great game for the Cubs, but the weather was not fan friendly, like most other opening games I have attended.

    • Buddy

      It was a great night indeed. I especially liked the part when Len talked about some crappy band that nobody listens to anymore. Oh wait, that’s every night.

      • Doc Raker

        Night Ranger is in town

      • Buddy

        Are they giving away tickets? First prize is two free tickets to Night Ranger. Second prize is four free tickets to Night Ranger.

    • Doc Raker

      I never recommend going to Wrigley prior to Memorial Day due to the brutal cold. I was listening to Pat when he had Ryno, Billy and Fergie in the booth- it was when Grimm was getting out of the jam. When he got the double play ball all I could here was those three guys yelling, “Ya, that will work. Double play. Ya ya ya Yeh, YEH” I could hardly hear Pat’s call but I thought it was fun hearing all the enthusiasm from the group.