It’s always a good day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals. And Wednesday’s win might have meant a little more than usual. The Cubs scratched out a 2-0 victory with just two hits and capitalized on Lance Lynn’s mistakes. A team not known for playing fundamental baseball actually manufactured a run and gave the bullpen a little breathing room on a pitcher’s day at Wrigley Field.
Joe Maddon recorded his first win as Cubs’ manager Wednesday, and Hector Rondon gave him the ball after the 27th out was recorded. Maddon enjoyed his first week in Chicago and said, “I guess the honeymoon is on, and I anticipate the honeymoon to be forever.”
Joe Maddon would like to think Wednesday was the first of many wins to come for the Cubs this season. Maddon admitted in his post-game press conference he likes the way the team is playing and “going about their business.”
With the starts and stops of the first week of the season, the Cubs will at least fly to Denver to take on the red-hot Rockies with a win and a loss after two games.
The Cubs should be able to get into the flow of the season after today. The Cubs play 19 games in 20 days with two of the next three Thursdays off the rest of April.
Jake Arrieta was outstanding Wednesday after what he called one of the worst pre-game bullpens he’s ever had. Arrieta settled in following a shaky first inning in which he walked two batters.
Arrieta liked the way he and Miguel Montero worked together Wednesday. Montero made a couple of trips to the mound to get on to him. Arrieta admitted he needs that from his catcher. He explained some guys respond with a pat on the back, but not him. Arrieta would rather be yelled at instead of coddled.
Jake Arrieta has excelled with the Cubs since the trade from the Orioles. And he credits Chris Bosio for a lot of his success and helping him get his career on track.
Jon Lester met with the media Wednesday and said it’s been blown out of proportion about him not throwing to first base. Lester said he does not have a problem throwing to first and the only reason he hasn’t since April 2013 is because he didn’t have to.
Lester pointed out it really wasn’t a big deal until “someone on television brought it up.”
The Cubs and Lester are “working on something different” for him to use to hold runners on base. Maddon is working with him and he was seen practicing making throws during Wednesday’s bullpen session.
Lester also doesn’t like throwing to bases on balls he fields. His unwillingness to do so has raised questions in the past but has not been a real issue. With playing in the National League, Maddon is going to have to figure out a way to make sure his pitcher is covered. Maddon said he’s confident progress will be made with Lester throughout the season.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Not only did Joe Maddon use his relievers perfectly to close out the win over the Cardinals, it was refreshing to see a Cubs’ manager insert two players for defensive purposes late in a close ballgame. Maddon replaced Chris Coghlan in left field with Matt Szczur and Mike Olt took over at third base for Tommy La Stella.
• At the Bricks and Ivy Ball on Wednesday night, Joe Maddon asked everyone to raise their glasses and toast the greatest 1-1 team in baseball.
• Miguel Montero tweeted Wednesday night: “Great game today!!! Hey Cubs fans get used to W!!!! Love Chicago best fans ever. Jake Arrieta, the nastiest pitcher I ever catch and I catch a lot.”
• The Cubs have never been shutout in the first two games to start a season.
• Ron Coomer reported during Wednesday’s game that the Cubs will have a quick workout at Wrigley Field on Thursday morning before leaving for Denver. With three off days and only two games, he wants to make sure the players get a workout in before opening the three-game series against the Rockies on Friday afternoon.
• Joe Maddon said Wednesday that nothing is wrong with Jason Hammel. He was just pushed back because of the Tuesday’s postponement, that’s all.
• Mike Matheny declined to comment when asked if he thought Tuesday’s postponement had as much to do with the bleachers being completed and Kris Bryant being up when the game could possibly be made up as the cold weather.
• Starlin Castro has an 11-game hitting streak dating back to last season.
• Anthony Rizzo has reached base safely in his last 16 games dating back to Aug. 23.
• Dexter Fowler is making a clean start with the Cubs.
• Seven players made their Cubs’ debut Sunday night … Phil Coke, Jon Lester, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Tommy La Stella and Dexter Fowler. 1,990 players have played for the organization since its inception in 1876. The anniversary of the first game in franchise history is April 25.
And last, but not least, from Christopher Kamka: Wednesday was the Cubs first win with two or fewer hits since Sept. 1, 1999 against the Padres and first two-hit victory without a home run since Aug. 31, 1992 against the Dodgers. And seven hits through two games is the lowest total for the first two games franchise since the 1966 Cubs also recorded seven hits.
This Day In Cubstory
1995 – Cubs signed free agent Jaime Navarro
1985 – Cubs released Jacob Brumfield
1984 – Braves traded Ron Meridith to the Cubs for Terry Leach
1982 – Cubs signed free agents Hector Cruz, Mike Proly and Randy Stein
1980 – Ryan O’Malley, born
1969 – Billy Williams hit four consecutive doubles in a Cubs 11-3 victory over the Phillies behind Bill Hands at Wrigley Field.
1965 – Cubs released Don Elston
1964 – Blaise Ilsley, born
1963 – Mike Brumley, born
1963 – Jose Guzman, born
1961 – Brian Dorsett, born
1909 – Claude Passeau, born
1893 – Tiny Osbourne, born
1888 – Hippo Vaughn, born
1875 – Jack Hendricks, born