Why are the Cubs so great on Opening Day and so mediocre from Games 2 through 162? They destroyed the Reds today, much like they destroyed the Diamondbacks on Opening Day last year and the Mets on Opening Day in 2003.
Some observations about today’s game:
- Carlos Zambrano was able to get through command problems and a tight strike zone without a) hitting someone on purpose or b) getting ejected after telling the umpire he needs glasses. He gave up a few walks and a few runs, but he’ll be just fine.
- Jacque Jones is the new Corey Patterson, but without the upside and youth. Nothing beats flipping your bat and going into a home run trot after hitting a ball that ends up on the warning track.
- Matt Murton is going to be really good.
- Having a leadoff hitter helps an offense score runs. This seems fundamental, but it took the front office three years to figure it out. Corey Patterson, Jose Macias, Neifi Perez, Matt Lawton, and Jerry Hairston, Jr. all took a shot at the leadoff position (with predictable results). It’s so nice to see Juan Pierre in that spot.
- Scott Williamson is awful. Is he healthy yet? If so, he was well worth the wait. (sarcasm)
- I have more range than Todd Walker, but he hits a lot better than me.
- As many pitching woes as the Cubs have, at least they didn’t start Aaron Harang on Opening Day. That’s as bad as it gets.
- Sometime around the seventh inning, Len Kasper called a six-run Cubs lead "commanding." This was after the Cubs had already blown a five run lead. No Cubs lead is commanding.
All in all, it was a good win today. For the first time in a long time, we’re tied for first with the Cardinals. I’ll enjoy that while it lasts.