Jason Heyward, Adam Wainwright lead Cardinals to a 3-0 win over the Cubs on Opening Night

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Jason Heyward went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a stolen base in his Cardinals debut and Adam Wainwright blanked the Cubs over six innings in a 3-0 victory on Opening Night in Chicago on Sunday. The Cubs had plenty of opportunities to score, but went hitless in 13 at-bats with runners on scoring position.

The Cardinals took an early lead with a one-out double to right field in the first inning by Heyward, followed by a Matt Holliday single, also to right field. Heyward doubled again in the third and singled in the fifth, but was stranded both times. The Cardinals scored once in the second inning on a Matt Carpenter RBI single and again in the fifth inning on another Holliday RBI single to right field to take a 3-0 lead. The Cardinals’ 1-through-3 hitters combined to go 7-for-14 with two doubles, three RBI, and two runs scored on the evening.

Cubs starter Jon Lester, making his debut with his new club after signing a six-year, $155 million contract in December, lasted only 4 1/3 innings. On 89 pitches, the lefty allowed eight hits, walked two, and struck out six. Phil Coke relieved Lester with runners on second and third and one out, sandwiching an intentional walk around two strikeouts to exit the frame.

Wainwright, meanwhile, threw 101 pitches over his six innings of work, yielding five hits and no walks while striking out six. The right-hander had minor elbow surgery in October and dealt with a minor abdominal injury shortly after pitchers and catches reported in February, but looked completely healthy facing the Cubs. He unleashed a handful of devastating curves during the course of the evening.

Once the starters were out of the game, both teams’ bullpens threw up zeroes the rest of the way. On the Cubs’ side, Coke, Jason Motte, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon combined to allow just two hits and two walks while striking out six in 4 2/3 innings. For the Cardinals, Carlos Martinez, Jordan Walden, and Trevor Rosenthal combined to allow no hits and two walks while striking out four in three innings. Rosenthal earned the save by striking out the side in the ninth inning.

In non-baseball-related matters at Wrigley Field, which is still undergoing renovations, vendors reportedly ran out of hot dog buns. Arguably more importantly, there were reported issues with the restrooms as well.

The two clubs will enjoy an off-day on Monday — Opening Day for everyone else — before resuming the series on Tuesday, when Lance Lynn of the Cardinals opposes Jake Arrieta of the Cubs.

Welcome back, baseball! We missed you so, so much.

MLB to move the draft to Omaha on the eve of the College World Series

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SAN DIEGO — We spend a lot of time on these pages criticizing Major League Baseball’s decisions. And yeah, they make a lot of questionable decisions (or logical decisions which serve questionable motives). But in the past day or so they’ve certainly gotten a couple of things right.

First was what we posted about last night: MLB moving to take marijuana off the banned substance list for minor leaguers. This, combined with the recent report that MLB/MLBPA are moving to a treatment, as opposed to a punishment-based regimen for opioids, shows that sense, as opposed to hysteria and optics, is beginning to move to the fore when it comes to baseball’s drug policies. It’s certainly welcome.

Also reported last night — by Kendall Rogers of the website d1baseball.com — Major League Baseball plans to move the amateur draft from the MLB Network studios in New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska, and schedule it at just at the start of the College World Series. The move has not been officially announced yet, but I’d expect an MLB press release on it before we all get on our planes on Thursday morning.

It would be nicely coordinated too, Rogers says, coming just after the super regionals but before the actual CWS. This would allow the top players expected to go to all be on hand, either as players in the CWS or because, hey, they just got done and would probably be there anyway. It’s way better than putting a six guys in a green room in Secaucus. That’s always so awkward. You can tell they don’t really want to be there and don’t know what to do with themselves. In Omaha they’ll be among their friends, teammates, family, and counterparts. The atmosphere will almost certainly radically change for the better.

It’s still a very, very tall order to ever create the same level of interest in the MLB draft that exists for the NFL or NBA drafts, as the structure of college football and basketball and the fame of its stars is a totally different deal coming in. But this is a positive move forward for the baseball draft. Good job to whoever’s idea it was.