Last night we witnessed just how good the Chicago Cubs are, we saw exceptional outfield defense, precise pitching, and all around good play, resulting in a shutout loss of 9-0. There is no shame in losing game 1 to this team; in fact, the last time the Angels lost an Opening Day game was the year 2002, the year the Angels won the World Series. The Angels will face Chicago again tonight in the finale of this series. Andrew Heaney will get the start for the Angels, while Jon Lester will take the mound for the Cubs.
When Garrett Richards took the mound against the Cubs it was thought that nerves may have played a small factor in the early stages of last night’s 9-0 loss. The Cubs lead off hitter Dexter Fowler struck a quick first blow to the Angels hitting a double early, and scoring in the first inning.
Following the first inning, Garret was in control until the forth inning in-which he threw some wild pitches resulting in walks, and two scores putting the Cubs up 3-0. Richards struggled mightily in the fourth, the combination of wild pitches and walks left him marooned on the mound for nearly 30 minutes throwing roughly 41 pitches. Altogether Richards was productive pitching five innings, striking out seven and allowing three runs.
Richards finished with an ERA of 5.40, giving up six total hits. Following Richards, Fernando Salas gave up a two-run homer in the sixth, Cam Bedrosian gave up a run in the seventh, and Cory Rasmus gave up a three-run double in the ninth. The Angels gave up nine runs off 11 hits last night. The bullpen was without a doubt the most disappointing factor in last nights loss.
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Jake Arrieta was in a groove early in this game, giving up just two hits, walking one, striking out six, and complied 21 outs in 89 pitches thrown. He struck out Mike Trout twice and not once allowed a runner to be in scoring position. Following the game Richards would also tell Alden Gonzalez “I’m not discouraged at all, I put my stuff up against anybody in this league, and I feel confident about that.”
Tonight when the Angels face Jon Lester, we can expect far more offense from Trout and Albert Pujols. While Lester is an exceptional pitcher, it’s seriously doubted that he’ll have the kind of night that Arrieta had. Let’s also hope the Angels bullpen can show us that last night’s game was a fluke and that they are capable of holding down the mound when the starter is relieved.