Top 10 Games of 2020: Hendricks’ Opening Day masterpiece
The 2020 Cubs season may have been shorter than normal, but it was packed with huge moments and thrilling games.
Marquee Sports Network will air the Top 10 Games of 2020 presented by DraftKings with new commentary and more in-depth analysis each weeknight in November. The fun continues with No. 3 — Cubs vs. Brewers from July 24.
No. 3 – Cubs vs. Brewers (July 24)
As the shortened 2020 season got set to kick off, the Cubs stressed the importance of getting off to a hot start.
What better way to start than a complete game masterpiece and an easy 3-0 win over the Brewers?
Kyle Hendricks was tabbed as the Cubs’ Opening Day starter in part because he was one of the most stretched out arms in the group. He remained on a throwing regimen throughout the shutdown and came to summer camp capable of throwing 3+ innings immediately.
Yet nobody anticipated Hendricks would carve through the Brewers lineup without needing any help from his bullpen in Game 1.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Hendricks said after the game with a laugh.
“The Professor” needed only 103 pitches to stymie the Brewers, allowing 3 singles — all to Milwaukee shortstop Orlando Arcia. Hendricks struck out 9 and did not walk a batter.
It was a masterful performance that perfectly set the Cubs down an ideal path to begin the year. The team used Hendricks’ shutout as springboard to a 13-3 start that played a major role in the Cubs claiming the NL Central crown.
Offensively, Ian Happ showed early signs of his breakout season in this game.
Manager David Ross gave Happ the Opening Day start in center field and slotted him in at No. 9 in the batting order. Happ provided the only offense Hendricks needed with a 2-run blast in the 3rd inning off Brewers ace Brandon Woodruff.
Within the next month, Happ took hold of the everyday center field job and eventually became the Cubs’ regular leadoff hitter, as well.
The Cubs had some big moments against the Brewers throughout the 2020 season, but none bigger than Hendricks’ Opening Day gem.
Pregame | Opening Day hype video
3rd inning | Ian Happ puts the Cubs on the board