Cubs Opening Series Recap: Baseball is back and the Cubs have gotten off to a solid start to the 2021 regular season. Expectations are a bit down entering play, but the Cubs reminded everyone of just how good they could be ths weekend.
The Cubs posted a 2-1 record through their first three games, and that has them in a first-place tie at the top of the NL Central Division. There are still 159 games to go, but it’s always nice when the Cubs are in first, and the St. Louis Cardinals are in last.
These series recaps will be delivered throughout the regular season, and hopefully most of them have a happy and positive tone as this one will. The Cubs aren’t expected to win 100+ games, but anytime the team wins a series then it is a successful one.
Rough Opening Day
The season got off to a rough start on Opening Day as the Cubs suffered a 5-3 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kyle Hendricks managed to get through just three innings, and the bullpen really struggled the rest of the way.
The Cubs also really struggled to get the bats going on a very cold and windy day at Wrigley Field. It was nice to have fans back in the stands at Wrigley, but that was about the only positive to come out of the season opener.
Fortunately for the Cubs they had a day off on Friday to recover and get things back in order to play the second game of the season on Saturday.
Welcome Back, Arrieta
Game two of the 2021 season will be remembered as the day that Jake Arrieta returned to the mound at Wrigley Field. There is just something special and magical about seeing Arrieta toe the rubber at the Friendly Confines, and it brought back a wave of memories from 2015 and 2016.
Not only was it great to see Arrieta back on the mound, but he was also great back on the mound. The former Cy Young Award winner completely dominated the Pirates after a slow start, and really led the Cubs to a win.
Arietta chose to return to the Cubs on a team-frendly deal, and it could wind up paying off big for the Cubs. This starting rotation still has some question marks, but the number two spot could be locked up.
Bryant Looks Locked In
Many around baseball did not expect Kris Bryant with the Cubs to begin the season. It’s also unlikely that KB finishes the year in Chicago, but what a weekend he had.
Bryant blasted a home run on Saturday, and then had a great day at the plate on Sunday in the win as well. It’s almost as if people forgot how good Bryant can be, but he can definitely carry the Chicago Cubs when he is healthy and hitting well.
The entire offense looked locked in the last two games, and they were able to draw a number of walks and cut down on the strikeouts. This lineup still has the potential to be amongst the best in baseball.
Kimbrel Looks Untouchable
The Cubs have not yet seen Craig Kimbrel be at his best, even though he was pretty solid at the end of 2020. Kimbrel is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball, and he looked like it this weekend at Wrigley Field.
On Saturday, Kimbrel came in and struck out the side in the ninth inning, and all of them were of the looking variety. Sunday, Kimbrel again pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning, and the Pirates hitters simply had no chance.
If the Cubs can count on Kimbrel to close out games all season long, then that could propel this team to a great record. The entire bullpen looked sharp after the loss on Opening Day, especially Ryan Tepera.