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Chicago Cubs Weekly Recap- Opening Series

After what felt like an eternity, the opening MLB series has come and gone and baseball is officially underway! If you missed Jackson’s Gross’s and I’s full Cub’s preview go check it out, it was a ton of fun to work on! The Cubs started their 2024 campaign in Texas, taking on the defending World Series champions. Texas would take game one in extra innings and game two by a landslide, but Chicago avoided the sweep by taking game three on Sunday after a ninth-inning rally. A lot of ups and downs came from the first series for the Cubs, which will affect the first full month of play, let's dig in!

Game 1 (Opening Day) Loss, 4-3 in 10 innings

  • Justin Steele is the biggest headline out of game one out of 162. After going 4.2 innings striking out six and only giving up one run, Steele would exit with an apparent hamstring injury. Manager, Craig Counsell in his post-game interview said that Steele would more than likely need time on the IL. Well, the news is a little worse than we hoped as Steele will more than likely miss the whole month of April with a grade 1 Hamstring strain. 

  • Christopher Morel gathered the first hit of the season for the Cubs (2-5, triple, run scored). Seiya Suzuki, Cody Bellinger, Michael Busch, and Nick Madrigal would also gather hits in game one. While Bellinger and Dansby Swanson were credited with RBI’s

Game 2 Loss, 11-2, not as fun as game 1 but still brought a few highlights and accolades. 

  • Swanson is credited with the first Cubs home run of 2024, with a 389ft laser shot

  • Morel would have another two-hit performance (2-4, run scored)

  • With Justin Steele hitting the IL, a replacement had to be called and that would be Ben Brown who would make his big league debut ( 1.2IP, 5H, 6ER, 2BB, 1K). Not the most impressive of debuts, but facing the Rangers offense is no easy task, especially coming in as a reliever. It’ll be interesting to see what Counsell and the Cubs do to fill Steele’s spot in the rotation. Steele would’ve made his second start on April 3rd, which would be three days of rest for Brown. Brown may make a smaller start, but it could be Drew Smyly who fills the rotation spot, or Hayden Wesneski could come up and make a spot start on the third. 

Game 3 Win, 9-5, Cubs get their first win of 2024

  • Not a bad start for Jordan Wicks (4IP, 5H, 2ER, 3BB, 6K) ran into a little bit of trouble in the 2nd inning, walking a couple of guys which turned into runs. But, giving up only two earned runs and striking out six isn't something to frown at for your first start of 2024. 

  • The bats came alive! Ian Happ had a four-hit performance, all while reaching base five total times from the leadoff spot. Suzuki and Miguel Amaya both had multi-hit games. And Chris “Crush” Morel would hit his first bomb of 2024, a 403ft moonshot. The Cubs would tally 12 total hits, Happ, Suzuki, Bellinger, and Morel (1-4 in the lineup) all had RBIs 

  • How about the big four out of the bullpen? I mentioned in the preview that these four pitchers will be the backbone of the bullpen and that showed in Sunday's game. Mark Leiter Jr (1IP,1K), Julian Merryweather (2IP, 2K), Hector Neris (1IP, 2K), and Adbert Alzolay (1IP, 2K) all came in and shut down the Rangers after Wicks left the game.

Hitter of the Week/Series: Christopher Morel

  • Ian Happ is a close second, especially with his four-hit performance and higher OBP, but Morel has to take the cake for me ( I know, burn me at the stakes). Morel’s stat line against Texas would end up being 5-14(.357AVG), 1 Triple, 1 HR, and 3 runs scored. Morel was exactly what the Cubs needed out of him against Texas, especially in the cleanup position. Morel would also have two multi-hit games against the Rangers. 

Pitcher of the Week/Series: Hector Neris, Mark Leiter Jr, and Julian Merryweather 

  • I know it says “Pitcher of the Week”, but it’s my article and I can do what I want. This would've easily of gone to Justin Steele, but he only accounted for 4.2 innings, so why not go with the three-set-up guys? All three of these pitchers went at least 2 innings, giving up zero runs and combined for nine strikeouts. These three names may be called on a lot in the coming future, especially with the injury to Steele. 

Other highlights

Jose Cuas is just Plain NASTY

Lieutenant Dansby with the First Cubs Longball

Series to come and NL Central Standings

Week/Series to come 

4/1: Rockies vs. Cubs (Hudson vs. Imanga)

4/2: Rockies vs. Cubs (Freeland vs. Assad)

4/3: Rockies vs. Cubs (Quantrill vs. Undecided)

4/5: Dodgers vs. Cubs (Yamamoto vs. Hendricks)

4/6: Dodgers vs. Cubs (Stone vs. Wicks)

4/7: Dodgers vs. Cubs (Paxton vs. Imanga)

The Cubs will make their Wrigley Debut at 1:20CT as Shota Imanga will make his MLB debut against the Colorado Rockies. Chicago will stick with facing an NL West opponent as the high-powered Dodgers come to town for a three-set. Jackson will have next week's recap, be on the lookout for it right here on TDT!

NL Central Standings

Pittsburgh 4 0

Milwaukee 3 0

Cincinnati 2 1

Chi. Cubs 1 2

St. Louis 1 3

Main Image Via Gett Images

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