Cubs break out the bats in virtual home opener
The sun was shining and Wrigley Field was roaring.
While the 2020 home opener at the Friendly Confines may have been delayed, thanks to our simulation of the Cubs season on MLB The Show broadcasting on Facebook, we were able to relive the boisterous atmosphere of Wrigley Field.
And the virtual Cubs gave the fans more than enough to cheer for.
The Cubs slugged 7 home runs as they rolled to a 10-2 win over the Pirates, improving to 3-1 on the season.
In 2019, the Cubs slugged a season-high 6 home runs against the Nationals on May 17. They had 5 home runs in a game three times, twice against the Pirates and once against the Astros.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the 2nd, Jason Heyward crushed his first of 2 home runs on the day to right field, a 2-run shot that tied the game.
On the mound, Jon Lester settled in after allowing 2 runs in the first inning. Lester shut out the Pirates the rest of the way, striking out 5 and allowing 6 hits in 6.2 innings of work.
Opposite Lester, Trevor Williams managed to keep the Cubs hitters at bay after the 2nd inning until they finally figured out the righty.
The Cubs got the game-winning run from an unlikely source. New Cub Jason Kipnis, who was hitless in the first 3 games of the season, notched his first hit of the season in a big way with solo shot to center field, giving the Cubs the 3-2 lead.
In the 6th, cover boy Javy Báez hit his first of 2 homers on the afternoon, a 422-foot shot to center field. Two batters later, Heyward added his second long ball, this one a 410-foot homer to right.
Báez and Kyle Schwarber went back-to-back in the 7th, Báez’s a 2-run blast to center and Schwarber’s a solo shot to right. Ian Happ capped it off with a solo homer in the 8th.
The longball fest masked the continued struggles of virtual Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. On a day when the ball couldn’t stay in the park, Bryant and Rizzo combined to go 0-for-8 with 2 strikeouts, though Bryant did have a walk in the win.
Báez (.357 AVG) and Heyward (.400 AVG) are sparking the Cubs offense early on in the season, while Happ is solidifying his place in center with a hot bat (.333 AVG).
Alec Mills was stellar out of the pen, pitching a perfect 2.1 innings of work, while striking out 1. The Cubs bullpen, one of the question marks on the season, has been strong early on.
Here were the lineups for the home opener:
Kris Bryant – 3B
Anthony Rizzo – 1B
Javy Báez – SS
Kyle Schwarber – LF
Willson Contreras – C
Jason Heyward – RF
Ian Happ – CF
Jason Kipnis – 2B
Jon Lester – P
Kevin Newman – 2B
Adam Frazier – LF
Bryan Reyolds – CF
Josh Bell – 1B
Colin Moran – 3B
Gregory Polanco – RF
Jacob Stallings – C
Cole Tucker – SS
Trevor Williams – P
Watch the whole game below:
The Cubs take on the Pirates on Tuesday at 1 p.m. on @WatchMarquee on Facebook as the simulated season continues.