Top Play (WPA): Starlin Castro’s single in the seventh that scored Anthony Rizzo and gave the Cubs their first run and lead of the game—and season (.159 WPA).
Bottom Play (WPA): Jon Jay’s two-out ground out with men on second and third in the sixth (-0.88) narrowly edged out Castro’s swinging K with men on the corners and one out in the fourth (-0.85). Both came when the game was scoreless.
Key Moment: A stretch with Lance Lynn in bottom of the seventh where we saw three consecutive mistakes, allowing the Cubs to score their first run of the season. It started with Lynn hitting Rizzo with a fastball in the leg and putting the leadoff man on. Lynn then proceeded to throw the ball away on an attempted pickoff, putting Rizzo in scoring position with no outs and Starlin Castro at the plate. Castro then broke through and finally gave the Cubs a hit with runners in scoring position to give them a 1-0 lead. It was the tale of two different at bats for Castro in today’s game. After Dexter Fowler struck out looking to lead off the fourth, Jorge Soler followed with a triple to deep right center. This put the Cubs in a perfect situation to score their first run with a runner on third with less than two outs. Rizzo followed with a walk and the Cubs would have been happy with most types of contact from Castro—but the shortstop failed to deliver in this big situation. Chris Coghlan followed with a hard-hit ball to center that didn’t find a hole and ended the inning with runners on the corners and the Cubs remaining scoreless in 2015.
Trend to Watch: Overall team strikeouts is the trend to watch for today. The Cubs have now reached the double-digit mark in both games of the season. Not an unexpected trend, but one that’s proving to stifle the offense early. It’s definitely killed some rallies, but they have faced two of the better pitchers in the National League.
Coming Next: The Colorado Mile High Air. The Cubs bats have likely been robbed of a few home runs and extra-base hits these past few days, a regular occurrence in April at Wrigley. This weekend seems like a great time to break out of their offensive funk and really string some runs together. Once heavily involved in trade rumors and questions about his future with the team, Travis Wood looks to start the 2015 season on a high note after securing a spot in the rotation this spring. It’ll be interesting if Welington Castillo gets a start behind the plate this weekend as we await to see how Joe Maddon juggles carrying three catchers on his roster. I’m very intrigued for Kyle Hendricks’ and Jason Hammel’s first starts as well, as they’re both coming off great stretches last year in Cubs uniforms.