Chicago Cubs Banner Ceremony
Earlier this week, the Chicago Cubs entered Wrigley Field for the first time since Game 5 of the World Series. The game was delayed over an hour due to inclimate weather, many worrying the game was never going to start. Then the tarp came off and it was time to celebrate the World Series champions.
It started off with the majority of the staff being introduced—coaching staff, bench players, starting line-up. After the national anthem, the entire starting line-up walked to the outfield dugout.
Then it was time to raise the banners, the first raised was the 1907 World Series banner raised by Ryne Sandberg. The second banner raised was the Cubs 1908 World Series banner raised by Fergie Jenkins. The third banner raised was the Cubs 2016 N.L pennant banner raised by Billy Williams. And then of course the last banner raised was the 2016 World Series Championship. Instead of one person doing most of the raising the whole team took a turn raising the flag. The best part about it was they did it among the fans which is incredible.
The Home Opener
A rematch of the N.L pennant between the Cubs and Dodgers gave us a great home opener. Jon Lester started on the mound for the Cubs. He had some control problems early in the game, but only gave up one hit to Yasmani Grandal in the third. Then he retired the next nine batters before a Joc Pederson lead-off single in the sixth. One important thing fans have considered extensively is about was the relationship between Contreras and Lester. They seemed to be on the same page throughout Lester’s start. The pitcher didn’t seem to shake off Contreras much, which tells us that Contreras knows what Lester wants to throw. That is a very good sign to see even though it is only two starts in. Lester’s ending line was satisfactory as always going- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO.
Cubs scoring plays
There wasn’t much action in the game until the third inning, when with two outs in the inning, Kyle Schwarber drew a walk. Then the 2016 N.L MVP came to the plate looking to stay hot. On a 2-2 count ,Bryant took a Alex Wood change-up to the left field corner. Scott Van Slyke had trouble getting the ball in his mitt. This allowed Schwarber to score all the way from first putting the Cubs up 1-0. Jon Lester dealt through the Dodgers side of the 4th, then up came the Cubbies again. Russell lead off the inning with a single, Contreras followed with another single. Then the Dodgers decided to intentionally walk Baez to load the bases to get to Lester, who was on deck.
On a 1-1 count Lester grounded out to Corey Seager to get the fielders choice and scoring Russell from third. The Cubs led 2-0 at that point and things were looking good for Cubs fans. The sixth inning came around Joc Pederson lead off with a single, Logan Forsythe singled a line drive to center. Then Corey Seager lined a double down the right field line scoring Pederson from second.
Dodgers scoring plays
In the eighth, the Cubs bullpen ran into some problems. Pedro Strop struggled giving up a lead off single to Logan Forsythe. On a 3-2 pitch Pedro Strop hit Turner allowing him to take first. Chase Utley then grounded out to Anthony Rizzo who threw to second to get Turner. An errant throw by Russell allowed Forsythe to score to tie the game 2-2 in the eighth. Cubs went quietly in their part of the eighth. Wade Davis stifled the Dodgers in the ninth then it was time for the Cubs to deliver.
Chicago Cubs walk off
When the game started something felt strange almost like a walk off was inevitable. The inning lead off with Jon Jay who put up a strong at bat against Sergio Romo, lining to right field for a lead-off single. La Stella, Bryant, and Rizzo were to follow. La Stella grounded out to Corey Seager, advancing Jay to second. Kris Bryant came to the plate, and with a man in scoring position things were getting tense. Bryant ended up striking out swinging but Jon Jay stole advancing to third with 2 outs. Then team captain Anthony Rizzo came to the plate choking up on the bat knowing he only needs a base hit. On a 1-1 count, Kenley Jansen threw a pitch up in the zone. Rizzo lined down the left field line scoring Jay for the game winning hit.
It was a long cold night but in the end it was all worth it. Emotions were high and the Cubs are off to a 5-2 start.