Anthony Rizzo, Ian Happ, and Kyle Schwarber each went deep as the Cubs slugged their way to an 8-4 win over the Marlins on Opening Day 2018. It wasn’t always the prettiest game, including two errors by each team and a brief outing from Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester, but the Cubs have to be thrilled to come away with a 1-0 record.

Lester allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks in just 3.1 innings. He didn’t have great velocity and now has an 0-3 record on Opening Days as a member of the Cubs.

Thankfully, the offense was there to pick up the slack with a nine-hit, eight-run performance to lead the way. Happ hit a home run on the very first pitch of the season, then Rizzo and Schwarber added dingers later on. Tommy La Stella also had a clutch two-run double in the win. Here’s how it all went down at Marlins Park.

Final score: Cubs 8, Marlins 4

Cubs 8, Marlins 4: Ballgame! Mike Montgomery came in and wrapped up the ninth inning by inducing Justin Bour into a game-ending double play. The Cubs are officially first in the MLB standings now with a 1-0 record.

Cubs 8, Marlins 4: An Addison Russell walk and a throwing error on an attempted pickoff by Junichi Tazawa gave the Cubs another runner in scoring position, but Javy Baez lined out to Yadiel Rivera to keep the lead at four runs. Three outs to go!

Eighth inning: Cubs 8, Marlins 4

Cubs 8, Marlins 4: Justin Wilson pitched into some deep counts in his first inning of the season, but didn’t have any issues getting the outs. The Cubs are an inning away from starting their season with a victory.

Cubs 8, Marlins 4: A quick top half of the inning by Marlins pitcher Junichi Tazawa as Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras both struck out swinging. That’s nine strikeouts now for the top four hitters in the Cubs’ batting order.

Seventh inning: Cubs 8, Marlins 4

Cubs 8, Marlins 4: A 1-2-3 inning for Strop despite walking Brian Anderson to open things. Miguel Rojas grounded into a double play after Garrett Cooper’s strikeout.

Cubs 8, Marlins 4: Joe Maddon has made a couple changes entering the bottom of the seventh, bringing in relief pitcher Pedro Strop and replacing Kyle Schwarber in left field with the defensively superior Albert Almora. Schwarber finishes his day at the plate 1-of-3 with one walk and one home run.

Cubs 8, Marlins 4: STELLA!!!!!! An Addison Russell single and a rare catcher interference call on J.T. Realmuto with Jason Heyward at bat gave the Cubs a pair of runners with one out, then pinch hitter Tommy La Stella delivered with a two-run double into the right-center gap. Ian Happ struck out for the third time to end the frame, as he’s gone cold since that lead-of homer.

Cubs 6, Marlins 4: Well, that’s one way to make up for a defensive gaffe or two. Kyle Schwarber, skinnier than before but clearly still strong like an ox, smacked a rocket off Tayron Guerrero for his first home run of the season to extend the Cubs’ lead to two runs.

Sixth inning: Cubs 5, Marlins 4

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: Brian Duensing came in to relief for the sixth inning and got through it unscathed despite allowing a two-out walk to Starlin Castro. Let’s not talk about the top half of the inning.

Fifth inning: Cubs 5, Marlins 4

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: Cishek survives, Part 2!! He struck out Chad Wallach then forced pinch hitter Tomas Telis into a pop out to end the inning.

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: The Marlins are threatening again with runners on second and third with just one out in the fifth.

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: A quick top half of the inning with Chris O’Grady on the mound for the Marlins. Still, every non-pitcher in the Cubs’ batting order has been on base at least once.

Also, credit to the guy who said he’d jump into Lake Michigan if Ian Happ led off with a dinger, because he jumped into Lake Michigan after Ian Happ led off with a dinger.

Fourth inning: Cubs 5, Marlins 4

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: Cishek survives! The Cubs get out of that jam without any damage, but they’ll be leaning on their bullpen for the remainder of the opener.

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: Jon Lester’s outing is already over after allowing a double and single in the fourth inning. He’s been replaced by Steve Cishek, who will face Starlin Castro with men on the corners and one out.

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: The Cubs didn’t waste much time getting back their lead with a two-out RBI double by Willson Contreras.

Third inning: Cubs 4, Marlins 4

Cubs 4, Marlins 4: An uneventful top half of the third has given way to the bottom half of the inning, where Jon Lester has gotten into trouble again. A triple from Derek Dietrich started the rally, and a Kyle Schwarber throwing error compounded the issues. Brian Anderson also delivered again with his second hit of the game. The Cubs’ early lead has already evaporated under that South Florida sun.

Hey, at least here’s a fun fact:

Second inning: Cubs 4, Marlins 1

Cubs 4, Marlins 1: That sweet, sweet Anthony Rizzo swing delivered its first bomb of the season with a big shot to right field. Likely an emotional moment for him given how many friends and family are in the crowd because he’s from this area. Good job of the Cubs to keep up that homer-per-inning pace.

First inning: Cubs 3, Marlins 1

Cubs 3, Marlins 1: Jon Lester seemed to be on his way to quick inning until Starlin Castro singled and forced a throwing error by Addison Russell with a hard grounder to his right. Justin Bour walked after that to set up runners on first and second, then Brian Anderson hit a single to score the Marlins’ first run of the season.

Cubs 3, Marlins 0: Jose Urena hit Javy Baez with a pitch to send in the Cubs’ third run of the inning, which led to the Marlins’ bullpen starting to warm up. Jon Lester couldn’t add to the damage, however, by grounding out to end the frame. That’s three runs on one hit for the Cubs.

Cubs 2, Marlins 0: Jose Urena has had trouble with his command to open this game. He walked Kris Bryant and Addison Russell and hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch to set up bases loaded for Jason Heyward with two outs, then walked Heyward to allow the second run of the game. This isn’t exactly something new for Urena, who walked 64 in 169.2 innings last season.

Cubs 1, Marlins 0: First pitch dinger? FIRST PITCH DINGER!! Ian Happ goes yard off Jose Urena on the first pitch of the entire 2018 MLB season.

This offense is going to be something else. Also, this guy might want to grab a wetsuit:

Before the game

The roof is now open! We’re less than 10 minutes away from the beginning of the 2018 Cubs season.

I mean, when you have DJ Khaled, you gotta close the roof, even if it’s a balmy 75 degrees outside.

Carlos Zambrano, a six-time Opening Day starter for the Cubs, will take in today’s game as a spectator instead of a pitcher.

Cubs players are warming up in Stoneman Douglas shirts in honor of the victims of the shooting that occurred in February.

Anthony Rizzo, a graduate of the high school, had harsh words for the people who have spread rumors about the teenagers speaking at rallies and organizing the Never Again movement: “I think they’re losers. That’s what I think, to be honest,’’ he said. “You hear all these things and it’s like, ‘How can you even say this? Where’s your heart? Where’s your sense of sympathy?’ It’s as real as it gets. If you don’t think it’s real, go there. It’s crazy to hear that.’’

Pregame reading

The Cubs finally awake from their offseason hibernation Thursday to face the Marlins at Marlins Park in the opener of the 2018 MLB season. The game begins at 11:40 a.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN and WGN.

Jon Lester takes the mound for the Cubs against the Marlins’ Jose Urena, a pure power pitcher who brings a fastball sitting in the mid-90s. He posted a 14-7 record and 3.82 ERA in 169.2 innings last season, but gave up 26 home runs. That propensity for allowing the long ball may benefit a Cubs lineup that’s full of power hitters.

Here’s a look at the Opening Day batting orders for each team:

Cubs

  1. Ian Happ, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Willson Contreras, C
  5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  6. Addison Russell, SS
  7. Jason Heyward, RF
  8. Javy Baez, 2B
  9. Jon Lester, P

Marlins

  1. Lewis Brinson, CF
  2. Derek Dietrich, LF
  3. Starlin Castro, 2B
  4. Justin Bour, 1B
  5. Brian Anderson, 3B
  6. Garrett Cooper, RF
  7. Miguel Rojas, SS
  8. Chad Wallach, C
  9. Jose Urena, P

The Cubs are rolling with one of the deepest lineups in baseball. The Marlins, on the other and, project to be one of the worst teams in the league. Fans will be familiar with Castro, who played the first six seasons of his career in Chicago, but otherwise it’s clear which of these teams will finish higher in the standings by the end of the season.

How to watch Cubs vs. Marlins

Time: 11:40 a.m. CT
TV: ESPN, WGN
Live stream: WatchESPN

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