Wrigley Field is back at full capacity, and the Chicago Cubs made the most out of an historic day. They completed a thrilling comeback versus their bitter rival the St. Louis Cardinals. St Louis jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the 5th inning but it didn’t last long. Chicago came storming back, helped by the energy from an electric crowd. They didn’t let the Cardinals spoil, what many people are calling, Opening Day 2.0 in the ‘Friendly Confines.’
Cubs comeback versus Cardinals at Wrigley Field
It was a rough start for the Cubs. They fell behind quickly. Kohl Stewart was on the mound to begin the game for Chicago, and had his hands full with a dangerous Cardinals’ lineup. St. Louis is finally starting to get back to full health, although they’re still missing a few key players. They never left Stewart get settled in. He gave up five runs in four innings, before Keegan Thompson entered in relief. This continued a trend of inconsistent starting pitching, which has been the biggest concern for the Cubs this season.
Thompson wasn’t perfect, but he did pitch a scoreless inning. That kickstarted another stellar bullpen performance, as the unit kept the Cardinals at bay. In the final four innings, St. Louis got just one hit. Tommy Nance was incredible yet again. He pitched two big innings, and got his first MLB win. The 30-year old rookie hasn’t allowed a run this season. He continues to impress and has earned a permanent role with Chicago.
Tommy Nance, who went undrafted in 2015, is yet to allow a run through 11.1 IP to start his MLB career with the Cubs.
— Foolish Baseball (@FoolishBB) June 11, 2021
Cubs’ Offense Responds
Led by Joc Pederson, the Cubs’ offense could not be contained. They were fueled by the jam-packed crowd, and took advantage of some untimely Cardinals mistakes to get back into the game. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina allowed for two runs to score, after giving up a passed ball and making a throwing error. By the end of the 5th inning, Chicago had life on offense, and managed to get the best of the opposing bullpen. Pederson was a triple shy of the cycle. He knocked in three runs, which was tied for game-high in RBIs with Nolan Arenado.
The game shifted when Anthony Rizzo ended a 14-pitch battle at the plate with a blast to right field. It was his seventh home run of the season, and tied the game at five runs apiece. Chicago took the lead in the following inning and didn’t look back. Willson Contreras added an insurance run with a late solo homer. He now leads all NL catchers with 11 home runs in 2021.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 11, 2021
Opening Day 2.0
Friday afternoon was a huge day for the Cubs. Fans can now fill the stadium at max capacity once again. Players will receive a little extra boost from their supporters. It’s even more significant because the team is exceeding expectations this season. They are currently leading their division, and could be in contention down the stretch. There is some potential for playoff games at Wrigley Field, but they have little margin for error in what will be a tight playoff race.
The good news: the Cubs are already 22-10 at home. Adding more fans may make them feel like they have an even bigger advantage. Their 8-5 victory over the Cardinals on Friday was the start an important series. St. Louis has noticeably been struggling, so Chicago has the chance to distance themselves even further in the standings. It will be a fun weekend in and around the stadium, especially with a division rival in town. Both games will be on national television, in what should be must-watch baseball.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images