Cubs win! The Cubs took an early lead on a first inning home run by Anthony Rizzo that still hasn't landed. Combine that with eight strong innings by Jeff Samardzija (two hits, one walk, 9 strikeouts) and it's a recipe for a Cubs win. Carlos Marmol made the end of the game interesting by doing Carlos Marmol things at the beginning of the ninth, but Sveum rightly pulled him and had James Russell and Kyuji Fujikawa shut the door on the Pirates. Per Sveum, Marmol is still the closer, but didn't have it today. Better go pick up Fyukikawa in your fantasy leagues if you haven't already.
New Cub Nate Schierholtz reached base four times on a walk, hbp, error, and a single. Brent Lillibridge was not so lucky, going 0-3 with three strikeouts and a fielding error before being replaced by Alberto Gonzalez. Welington Castillo had a nice day with two doubles, mitigated by a dumb TOOTBLAN, even by the Cubs recent baserunning standards.
Players of the Game
- Jeff Samardzija (.378 WPA)
- Anthony Rizzo (.162 WPA)
- No one – highest WPA was Garrett Jones at a whopping 0.019
Goats of the Game
- Carlos Marmol (-0.142 WPA)
- Russell Martin (-.151 WPA)
Around the league
- Clayton Kershaw homered and pitched a complete game shutout in the Dodgers opener. I guess he's ready for the season.
- Bryce Harper led the Nationals over the Marlins with two solo HRs. Strasburg went seven scoreless innings, striking out 3 and walking none.
- The Mets pounded Rookie of the Year candidate Edinson Volquez. They're still a team starting Marlon Byrd in RF, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them end up with a worse record than the Cubs, fire sale be damned.
- Chris Sale shut down the Royals in a game the White Sox went on to win 1-0
- The Red Sox beat the Yankees, 4-0. Will the Yankees crack .500 this year?