The sun was out and the Old Style was flowing Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs took the field on Opening Day for the 148th time in their storied history and did not disappoint. Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman pitched six innings of scoreless baseball, striking out eight Milwaukee Brewers in the process. The bullpen took it the rest of the way from there – Keegan Bradley pitched the 7th, and newcomers Brad Boxberger and Michael Fulmer shut down the Brew Crew to give the hometown Cubbie a win against their Central Division rivals.
Chicago Cubs Make History on Opening Day
It was a historic win by the Northsiders to begin the season. In defeating the Brewers 4-0 on Opening Day, the Cubs won for the first time ever at Wrigley Field in March. Think about that for a minute. The Cubs had never won at Wrigley Field in the month of March. Ever. Not a bad day at the ballpark for a club founded in 1870.
New Look Lineup Fuels Victory
Everyone knew that the Cubs lineup would look different this season. Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, Trey Mancini, and Eric Hosmer were veterans signed to help the Cubs take the next step. No surprise to see their names in the Opening Day lineup. One name, however, did stand out. That title goes to starting right fielder Miles Mastrobuoni.
Subscribe to the Pinwheels and Ivy Show, a White Sox vs. Cubs podcast made for Chicago fans.
Speed and Contact Propel Cubs to Victory
Flashback to the bottom of the third inning. After a walk by Patrick Wisdom, new right fielder Mastrobuoni grounds into a fielders choice, forcing Wisdom out at second. Next up, second baseman Nico Hoerner, fresh off signing a new 3-year, $35 million contract just before Opening Day. His one-out single advanced Mastrobuoni to 3rd, bringing the Cubs’ offseason prize, $177-million free agent shortstop Dansby Swanson to the plate. On cue, Swanson delivered. 2-0 Cubs!
Following an Ian Happ single and a strikeout by centerfielder Bellinger, new Cubs’ designated hitter Trey Mancini got into the action, driving in fellow free agent signee Swanson.
Versatility Shines for 1-0 Cubs
Mastrobuoni getting the start in right field was a shock to many. But Cubs’ fans should not forget that he was targeted by the Cubs in an offseason trade. Last year for the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays AAA), Mastrobuoni hit .300 with a .372 OBP, 32 doubles, 16 home runs, and 23 stolen bases. His ability to play the infield and outfield gives the Cubs more flexibility and speed at the bottom of their lineup.
Add in veterans Eric Hosmer, Mancini, and Swanson to a Cubs’ lineup that already includes switch-hitting Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, Yan Gomes, and Patrick Wisdom; it’s nice to see a balanced lineup propel them to victory in the season opener and hopefully throughout 2023.