Thursday– A new season and the same results. After taking a 1-0 lead into the eight inning, the Cubs bullpen failed to hold to lead and eventually gave up the go ahead run in the ninth inning. A cold and windy day at Wrigley Field assured a low scoring and pitching dominated game, and that’s exactly what it was.
It was an exciting day all around Wrigley as the season got under away. Highly touted Stephen Strasburg took the mound for the Nationals against Ryan Dempster and the Cubs. With the wind blowing in, Dempster and Strasburg brought their best stuff for opening day.
The pitchers dominated the game until the Cubs finally broke through in the bottom fifth. Cubs center fielder Marylon Byrd came up with a clutch, two out base hit to score Ian Stewart.
Strasburg finished the day for the Nationals with 7 innings pitched, allowing one run on five hits while striking out five.
Things were looking up for the Cubs carrying a 1-0 lead into the eighth, with Dempster still on the mound. After getting the first out, Dempster allowed a base hit to Ian Desmond. But followed that up by striking out second baseman Danny Espinosa. That would end the day for Dempster. He exited the game after throwing 7 2/3 innings allowing just two hits while striking out 10. But then disaster struck for the Cubs when Kerry Wood came in. With just one runner on first, Wood needed to get one out. But after a stolen base, Wood started to get rattled and walked the bases loaded. After getting up 0-2 on Ryan Zimmerman, he walked in the game-tying run. Looked a lot like last year’s Cubs’ team. Wood got Werth to fly out and escaped the inning with the game tied at one.
The Cubs failed to score in eight and Marmol came on to pitch the ninth. After getting the first two hitters, Chad Tracy hit a double off the wall and Desmond brought home pinch runner Brett Carroll to take the lead.
In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Stewart hit a fly ball of the wall, nearly tying the game. He dove into third with a one out triple. And the Cubs had hope again. But typical Cubs baseball would show that they would find a way to not get the runner home and that came true again. Jeff Baker swung at the first pitch he saw, hit a grounder to third and Zimmerman threw out Stewart who was running on contact. Byrd then struck out looking to end the game.
Another season and no immediate change. Time for the Cubs’ fans to be patient.
Matt Garza will take the ball for the Cubs on Saturday. Game time is set for 12:05 pm.