Cubs offense has a monster day as simulated season rolls on
In many ways, the virtual Cubs offense was due for a breakthrough.
Throughout our simulation of the 2020 season on MLB the Show 20, there had been flashes. A Kris Bryant blast, big games from Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras or even hits from pitchers. But the Cubs were looking for a game where the whole offense clicked.
Until, Monday’s simulation in Pittsburgh, that is.
The Cubs busted out the bats in a huge way, clubbing 19 hits as they beat the Pirates 19-3 in the series opener at PNC Park. The Cubs improved to 7-3 in the virtual season, holding a 1-game lead over the Reds in the division.
Every player in the starting lineup except starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood scored a run in the game and only Chatwood and Javy Báez didn’t record a hit.
Whether it was small ball, long ball or just stringing together hits, the Cubs did it all.
Contreras got the Cubs on the board with a 2-run single in the 1st. The Cubs scored 6 more runs on RBI singles in the game: Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber had a pair of RBI hits, David Bote notched one and even relief pitcher Trevor Megill had a slow dribbler that got through the infield to plate a run.
Bryant had been struggling through the early season, hitting only .225 with 3 RBI. But Sunday seemed to be a shifting point for him as he hit a game-winning grand slam and carried that over into Monday. Against the Pirates, Bryant was 3-for-5 with a 3-run home run, a solo home run, a double, a sacrifice fly and 5 RBI. It’s the kind of output David Ross would’ve dreamt of when he named Bryant the Cubs leadoff hitter.
Contreras wasn’t too shabby, either. He was 3-for-6 with a 2-run homer in the 9th, 5 RBI and a double.
The Cubs never let off the gas pedal. Leading 12-3 in the 9th, they plated 7 runs in the final frame off Bryant’s 3-run homer, Contreras’ 2-run homer, Megill’s RBI single and Happ’s RBI single.
Happ continued his start to the spring, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and 3 RBI. He’s hitting .310 on the year.
On the mound, Chatwood was solid. He pitched 5 innings of 1 run ball, striking out 2 and allowing 6 hits. There were concerning signs in the 1st when he permitted a Josh Bell single to score a run, but got out of the jam with an inning-ending double play.
Besides showing off his skills with the bat, Megill was solid out of the ‘pen. He closed the game out, pitching the final 4 innings, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 2. A 2-run homer to Gregory Polanco in the 6th inning was the only blemish on an otherwise strong outing. More importantly, his ability to eat 4 innings allowed the Cubs to rest their bullpen in the middle of a stretch of 10 straight games without an off-day.
Here’s how the teams lined up:
Kris Bryant – 3B
Anthony Rizzo – 1B
Javy Báez – SS
Kyle Schwarber – LF
Willson Contreras – C
Jason Heyward – RF
Ian Happ – CF
David Bote – 2B
Tyler Chatwood – P
Kevin Newman – 2B
Adam Frazier – LF
Bryan Reynolds – CF
Josh Bell – 1B
Colin Moran – 3B
Gregory Polanco – RF
Erik González – SS
Jacob Stallings – C
Mitch Keller – P
The Cubs play the Pirates in the second game of the four-game series on Tuesday at 1 p.m. on @WatchMarquee on Facebook.
Catch the whole game here: