The Gist: Game 1

April 05, 2016 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Welcome to The Gist! Thunder Matt's Saloon readers of yore will recognize this game recap as the most inconsistent thing we've ever done. So why do I think I can tackle a game-by-game recap over an entire regular season? Because it's 2016 and I can write this from the bus every day. That said, this will most likely be pretty phoned-in. Let's do it!

What Happened: A near-flawless game and the exact scenario we all got hot in the pants for during the offseason. Dominant starting pitching? Check. Effective bullpen? Check. Score lots of runs? You betcha!

Let's start with the game MVP: Jake Arrieta. Jake Arrieta is the best pitcher in baseball right now. Yes, Clayton Kershaw is great and we even got to watch his latest Opening Day masterpiece nationwide since ESPN was carrying their game last night. I'll take Arrieta every day of the week right now. I think his eventual wearing down in the playoffs last year had the silver lining of really shining a light on making sure he's rested and fresh as can be throughout the season. What we got was vintage Arrieta: 7 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 7K in a tidy 89 pitches. Sure, the Opening Day CGSO would have been awesome to go for, but being able to get Jake the win and limit his workload is best in the long run. A World Series ring is something much more memorable than that shutout would have been. Arrieta was dominant. And yes, the Angels aren't exactly lighting the world on fire with a lineup that has Daniel Nava batting second and Johnny Giavotella batting anywhere. But did you see the changeup Jake used to strike out Mike Trout in the 4th inning? Disgusting.

And why was Arrieta able to leave the game so early? Because the bats did what we all wanted the bats to do. This is exactly what we all envisioned when high-OBP threats like Zobrist and Heyward were brought in. The theme for the entire season was yesterday's top of the 4th inning, when the Cubs seemed to work every count full (even two where they were down 0-2) and just wore Garrett Richards right out. And Richards is pretty good. Imagine how tough this lineup is going to be on the average (or below average) (or below below average) (or even the Brewers') pitchers.

Shout Out To: MIGMON! This glorious son of a bitch launched the season's first Cubs home run and drove a stake into the heart of the Angels' chances of coming back in this one. Remember: MIGMON is a .350 OBP and potential 17-20 homer catcher. And he's going to be our #7 hitter this season. The Cubs are going to score a whole lot of runs.

What Went Right: Everything. The Cubs were in control of this game from the get-go and never gave it up. As close to a perfect game without being a Perfect Game.

What Went Wrong: Not a ton. If you want to nitpick, the Cubs did strike out a lot. But we knew that about them. And Garrett Richards throws 97 mph. Lots of people are going to strike out against that.

"YOU ARE NEXT" (brought to you by TMS Correspondent Chong Li):

The Angels again at 9:05 PM CST. LA is starting something called an Andrew Heaney and the Cubs throw out Jon Lester.