Cubs look the part in opening night win over the Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Pick up where they left off? That would seem to cliché if it weren’t 100 percent true.
While often (sometimes too often) used, there really is no other way to put the much-anticipated opening night of the Cubs’ 2016 season.
The offense struck early. Jake Arrieta was brilliant. The familiar pattern that played out in 2015 made a seamless transition five-and-a-half months and 3,000 miles later.
Joe Maddon’s team, at least for 1 night, looked the part of a World Series favorite as they beat the Angels 9-0 in their season opener Monday night at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
As he did so many times in his Cy Young 2015 season, Arrieta went seven strong inning allowing just two hits and no runs for his first win of the season. Meanwhile the Cubs had 11 hits on the night while getting three-RBI nights from Miguel Montero and Matt Szczur.
The Cubs gave Arrieta a quick lead in the first as Dexter Fowler led off the season with a double and then scored on a single by Anthony Rizzo three batters later. The fourth inning brought more support as Jorge Soler single to left and Miguel Montero’s in the infield brought home a pair of runs to make it 3-0.
He would push the lead to five in the sixth when he became the first Cubs player to hit a homer in 2016, doing so with Soler on base to expand the advantage. Kris Bryant’s first run batted in had a little less flair but was effective in the 7th as his ground out brought Fowler home to make it 6-0.
Meanwhile Arrieta was on cruise control for most of the evening, throwing 89 pitches and striking out six batters while walking just one. He was lifted after the seventh inning for Justin Grimm and Travis Wood who took the shutout till the end.
Szczur finished off a memorable night with a bases-loaded double in the ninth inning to put stamp on the first victory of 2016 that looked a lot like one from the campaign before.