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 calls umpire union statement about Manny Machado discipline “inappropriate”

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Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.

This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:

“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline.  Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires.  We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.