The paid attendance was 32,798 but the "eye-test" proved only a tiny portion of those folks actually showed up to watch the Cubs fall to 3-8 on the season after a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Just a few days ago we enjoyed our first legit Spring-like day but Mother Nature must have got pissed and flipped the calendar back to Winter. It was just a frigid 35 degrees around the 7:10pm first pitch. (I was checking Outlook every 5 minutes for an email from Cubs PR saying the game would be rescheduled..it was absolutely NOT a beautiful day for baseball.)
The Cubs only managed 5 hits and struck out 15 times led by Kyle Schwarber who wore the golden sombrero. (That's 4 strikeouts in a game.) Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo continued their cold streak as they went a combined 1-6 with 3 Ks.
It's fair to wonder if the lingering effects of getting a "dome-shot" in Colorado are still weighing on Kris' psyche. One thing's for sure is he still doesn't look like the MVP fans have come to know and love.
Cubs President Theo Epstein said "it's too early to be nitpicking. Kris is an elite player and he's gonna find his swing and put up the numbers he's used to."
Yu Darvish went 5.1 innings giving up 5 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), striking out 5 and with no walks. "I'm encouraged with it but I gave up 5 runs. I felt I could still go but I respect Joe and I understand what he was thinking."
Maddon said he pulled Darvish because of the match-up. He thought reliever Kyle Ryan could come in and get a ground ball double play. Ryan ended up giving up an RBI single to Josh Bell & made a throwing error on a pick-off move allowing Francisco Cervelli to score giving the Pirates a 5-1 lead. "I thought he looked really good. It was very very cold out there and he looked really good. I was really impressed under the circumstances. Everything about him tonight was upbeat I thought," said Maddon.
Darvish has faced his fair share of criticism. Everything from "Darvish is soft and needs to grow a pair" to "Darvish is being coddled like a baby by the Cubs!" has been said about him. A $126 million dollar contract will bring a lot of scrutiny when expectation isn't being lived up to but no one should be ready to throw in the towel on "Yu" just yet. However, he does need to get it together sooner than later because those "Yuuuus" will definitely turn right back into "boooos" in the blink of an eye!
Jason Heyward stayed hot with a 3-4 evening and a solo HR...his 4th of the season. His average is now up to .371 with 9 RBIs and he's been the Cubs offensive MVP through 11 games so far. "Just keeping things simple and getting ready earlier. It's all about growing with the game & not getting caught up in the matrix." He said some of the players refer to sabermetrics as "the matrix." With so much information at guys disposal it can get overwhelming at times and be a detriment to some. Heyward says "sticking to the script" is what he's done and not overthinking is key in his progression.