CHICAGO – There is always a sense of newness when it comes to the opening of a Major League Baseball season, but that fact hit Cubs fans as hard as the chilly wind off Lake Michigan on this Opening Day.

The trading of the team’s core at the deadline in 2021 certainly signaled the end of an era, and you could say that Thursday was the official start of a new one for the franchise. Only a few established players reminded from a club that made five playoff appearances in six years, with a number of new faces scattered in the lineup and bullpen.

While some are hoping for breakthrough success, a new group of players that features some youngsters along with late MLB bloomers figures to take some time to find their rhythm in 2022.

This has been and will be a constant storyline for David Ross’ club from now until October, but those who have been on the team still will have something to contribute as the regular season goes along.

That face was made apparent on Thursday against the Brewers, when a few longtime members of the Cubs made contributions to the team’s first victory.

Kyle Hendricks started it off with a consistent performance over 5 1/3 innings where he allowed only one run on five hits with seven strikeouts compared to three walks. It allowed the Cubs to build a lead in the middle innings, but it would take another tenured Cubs player to get it back.

Ian Happ drove in the winning runs on a two-out, two RBI double in the seventh inning as the Cubs won it 5-4 at a chilly Wrigley Field to start a new era with a victory.

Willson Contreras was there to provide support behind the plate as he not only guided Hendricks’ performance but also the bullpen, who had their issues at times but were good enough in the end to preserve the win.

Larry Hawley has more on this in his report from Wrigley Field, which you can see in the video above.