For most Cubs fans, last night’s game against the Angels went perfectly according to plan (definitely according to our plan). It was quite an impressive display of efficient hitting and power pitching.
We wanted to dig into the numbers to get an idea of exactly what happened in the game. I think you’ll like some of the things we noticed. First, here’s what happened on offense:
- It may have seemed like the three through five hitters for the Cubs (Zobrist, Rizzo and Bryant) didn’t do much when you watched the game. I mean, no majestic home runs and no extra base hits. They went 3-11 combined, a respectable .273 average but nothing to write home about, right?
- Wrong. They had a combined OBP of .467. Together, they walked four times (Bryant 2, Rizzo 2), got three hits, scored four of the Cubs nine runs and had two RBIs. That is fundamental baseball production at it’s finest, folks.
- The Cubs scored nine runs last night and yet every single player left runners in scoring position. Bottom line – they had a lot of scoring opportunities they couldn’t convert on but still ended up scoring a lot of runs.
- There were base runners in every inning except two – the second and the eighth innings. Again, lots of chances equals lots of runs.
- Strikeout numbers were high, with the Cubs’ batters getting struck out twelve times in the game. But, they also got seven walks and that’s a number that is more significant but can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Why? A high number of walks almost always correlates to a high number of pitches. It’s a big reason that Richards only lasted five innings. He threw 97 pitches. Again, efficient baseball.
Now let’s talk about pitching:
- We all watched Jake dominate last night and yes, it was beautiful. He threw a pretty easy 89 pitch outing and only gave up two hits and one walk over seven innings. How easy was it for Jake though?
- Seventy-two percent of his pitches were strikes. After the second inning only one ball left the infield until he left after the seventh inning. He had six strikeouts. He wasn’t crazy overpowering but he was powerful. With the exception of the one walk he issued (four straight pitches that were probably his four worst pitches of the game) he had complete and utter control of the strike zone.
- But wait, what about Trout and Pujols? I thought you’d never ask! They were a combined 0-7 with three strikeouts. Lovely! And here’s a few of those beautiful whiffs by Mr. Trout:
7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K. 89 pitches, 64 strikes.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 5, 2016
- The bullpen was fantastic as well. Justin Grimm and Travis Wood each pitched one inning and gave up no runs on one hit and one strikeout.
- Another interesting factoid — this was the first opening day shutout for the Cubs since 1974. Before last night’s game, they’d registered six opening day shutouts in their history, dating back to 1876. This was their seventh and largest opening day shutout ever.
Overall, I’d say a pretty nice start, right?