The Chicago Cubs kicked off the season this weekend with a home series against the Milwaukee Brewers. They were able to take two out of three against their divisional rival. The team hopes to gain some momentum as they go through their grueling schedule. They won’t have a day off until August 10th. Next up, the Cubs will head to Cincinnati to take on a much-improved Reds team. But first, let’s take a look at some performances that stood out on opening weekend.
Hendricks, Chatwood Dominate
Kyle Hendricks had arguably the best outing out of any Opening Day 2020 pitcher. He pitched a complete game shutout, the first player to do that on Opening Day since Bill Bonham in 1977. Orlando Arcia was the only player to get a hit against him. He managed to get three knocks versus Chicago’s ace. In an era where everyone is focused on velocity, Hendricks shows that pitchers can perform at an elite level by relying on location. It took him 103 pitches to beat the Brewers, and not a single one broke 90 mph.
Kyle Hendricks complete game…. 0 pitches above 90 MPH. 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/FtLRm28uR7
— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 25, 2020
As for Tyler Chatwood, he helped the Cubs bounce back in the rubber match. Chatwood looked much improved from previous seasons. He pitched six innings with eight strikeouts and only allowed one run on three hits. David Ross clearly has confidence in the right-hander, because Chatwood got the start over veteran Jon Lester. Chicago needs to get quality starts from their rotation to take pressure off a somewhat weak bullpen throughout 2020.
Offensive Explosion at the Plate
Chicago’s whole lineup shone in their 9-1 win on Sunday afternoon. Eight different batters got hits in the contest. Ian Happ, Willson Contreras, and Anthony Rizzo all homered, helping them cruise to a victory. Happ also contributed defensively with a great catch against the ivy in the sixth inning. Expect for him to continue to get starts over Albert Almora in center field as he impresses in both aspects of his game.
Ian's Ivy Adventure pic.twitter.com/Xz2ZNoKris
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 26, 2020
Young second baseman Nico Hoerner had a two-hit performance. It looks like he is developing into a reliable contact hitter. Although he may split time with Jason Kipnis throughout the season, Hoerner is certainly part of future plans for the Cubs. It’s a future that is easy to be optimistic about when considering the amount of potential this roster has. Though they will need put more on display before they are labeled contenders because in the past, Chicago’s stars have struggled to stay consistent at the plate.
The Cubs will be in action again Monday against the Cincinnati Reds. Jon Lester will be on the mound for Chicago versus Cincinnati’s Wade Miley. Every game is important in this shortened season, so this four-game series will get plenty of attention. It could highlight an early favorite in the NL Central.
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