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Opening Weekend vs Marlins

By Michael Cotton

The Cubs and Marlins were the first game of the entire MLB 2018 season and Ian Happ went yard down in Miami on the first pitch thrown. With that, Cubs fans jumped on-line and started reserving their tickets for the World Series this year. The weekend went up and down from there, which woke every Cubes Fan from his/her winter slumber to over-react to every single pitch. 

What did we actually learn? It's the first weekend of the season and going 2-2 over 4 games in an opposing ballpark is actually just fine like it always has been. Sure, the Marlins are supposed to be terrible this year, and the Cubs are supposed to be awesome, but that doesn't mean anything to these young guys on the Marlins trying to make a name for themselves after everyone wrote them off back in February. Also, 2-2 in the opening weekend does not translate to 81-81 for the season so there's no point in getting freaked out with 158 games left to play. 

Another thing we learned is that the umpires are terrible. The MLB seriously needs to turn balls and strikes over to a computer with the umpire there as quality control in case something isn't calibrated correctly. I don't think the umps were harder on the Cubs than they were on the Marlins. They were just completely inconsistent so none of the players knew what was a strike or a ball. This lack of consistency directly contributed to two games going into extra innings. 

As for the Cubs, we learned that Happ can hit the ball a ton if he can hit the ball. That opening pitch homer was great, but following it up with 8Ks and only 1 walk over 4 games is not going to cut it.

Kyle Schwarber figured out his hitting over the winter, which is good because he has looked bad in left field. The slimmed down slugger went Yahtzee twice and also hit 2 doubles. Hopefully the confidence at the plate will leak out to left field because the guy looks scary out there causing a Jon Lester meltdown in game 1. 

KB is good. We've always known that, but if this weekend is a premonition of what 2018 is going to be for him, he's going to be a monster. He had 4 walks and a hit by pitch to go along with his 7 hits, which included 3 doubles and a homer. 

Zobrist might be back. We all know that Baez is The Upgrade at any position in the field so we all expect him to be the starter on this team. That being said, Zobrist came out swinging a hot bat and racked up 4 hits and 2 walks compared to Baez's 1 hit and 1 walk. Zobrist might just hit Baez back onto the bench unless El Mago can pull some offense out of his hat. 

On the mound, we found out that Eddie Butler is a goat damn warrior. The guy threw 90 pitches over 7 innings of extra innings of game 2 before finally giving up 1 earned run to get the L hung on him. Wins and Losses mean nothing. 

The bullpenis strong so far. They had to pitch a ton this weekend and really held their own against a constantly changing strike zone. 

The starters were not as sharp as we would have hoped. Of course, Schwarber ran up Lester's pitch count in game 1, which hurt him as he faded early in his first start of the season. Hendricks was good when the offense was not and that led to a 17 inning game that forced Joe Maddon to leave Darvish and Quintana in their games too long. Both Q and Yu had to go a bit long and got touched up more than should have happened if the bullpen wasn't smoked after 2 extra inning games. 

The offense is Jekyll and Hyde right now. In games 1 and 3, the Cubs posted 18 runs over 19 innings for two wins. In games 2 and 4, they only managed 1 run over 26 total innings. Two games raking and two games flaking so we have no idea who the real Cubs are right now. 

The Recap usually won't be this long, but I had a bit more excitement about opening weekend. It's time for the Cubs to move on to Cincinnati for two games of sloppy red stuff they call chili. Let's hope they don't split there too. 

Rakes: Kris Bryant was on fire. It was great to see him doing it when it really mattered too. 

Flakes: Ian Happ. 8 strikeouts in 13 at bats would have had Cubes Fans calling for him to be benched if he hadn't hit the first pitch of the year over the wall. 

Throws: Eddie Butler's 4 hits, 1 walk, and 5 Ks to only give up 1 run was gutty performance considering he entered the game in the 10th inning and was the only reason the Cubs bullpen weren't absolutely destroyed this weekend. Honorable mention to 5 bullpen guys who made it through the weekend with 0.00 ERA's over a combined 14.1 innings. 

Blows: This is unfair, but I'm doing it anyway. Brandon Morrow gets the blow because he threw 2 pitches and one was a game winning hit. Lester, Darvish, and Quintana all made cases to be the Blow, but I'm not ready to kill them quite yet. 

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