CHICAGO – Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber had some good advice on how to approach Wednesday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at wintry Wrigley Field.
“Don’t get jammed,” Schwarber said.
All in all, the hitters did OK on a night when the temperature was 40 degrees and the wind was howling in from the northeast at 20 mph — quite a contrast from the 65 degrees two days earlier for the Cubs’ home opener.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, it was the Pirates’ hitters who did a little more OK, as they beat the Cubs, 5-2. The Cubs’ record fell to 3-8.
Francisco Cervelli hit a solo homer to left-center field in the first inning against Cubs starter Yu Darvish. In the third, Starling Marte lofted a two-run homer down the left-field line.
For those in the announced crowd of 32,798, the only way the conditions could have been more miserable would have been if the rain and sleet from earlier in the day had continued.
One question going into the game was how Darvish would hold up in conditions to which he was unaccustomed.
The struggling Darvish (0-2) lasted 51/3 innings, giving up five hits and five runs, four earned. Manager Joe Maddon pulled him after he gave up a pair of infield singles in the sixth. Kyle Ryan came in and gave up a run-scoring single to Josh Bell.
Ryan’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed a second run to score. Maddon said he was happy with Darvish but that he took him out to try to get a groundball out of Bell.
“All in all, I thought he did really well,” Maddon said. “That was strike-throwing tonight. Fastball, he knew where it was going. He threw some really good cutters. He knew where the ball was going, and he had really good stuff, I thought.
“I was impressed, under the circumstances. First of all, under the circumstances. Second of all, he seemed like he may have found some things tonight regarding his delivery, the way the ball’s coming out of his hand. Everything about him tonight was definitely upbeat, I thought.”
It was Darvish’s longest outing of the season after he went only 22/3 innings at Texas and 4-plus at Atlanta. He has a 7.50 ERA.
“I’m happy with it, too, but still, I gave up five runs and lost the game,” said Darvish, who added that he did not feel the cold when he was on the mound.
Pirates starting pitcher Jordan Lyles worked six innings, giving up three hits, including a fifth-inning home run to Jason Heyward. It was Heyward’s fourth homer of the season; he hit eight all of last season.
“It wasn’t 40 [degrees],” Heyward said of the announced temperature. “I don’t think it was 40 past like 2 p.m. today. It was cold, but it’s baseball, Midwest baseball.”
The Cubs threatened again in the eighth, with Kris Bryant singling and Rizzo walking before Javy Baez’s double brought Bryant home. But Schwarber struck out for the fourth time in the game, and Willson Contreras lined out to right field.