In his first game as a manager, David Ross led the Cubs to a 3-0 Opening Day win over the Brewers.
Naming Kyle Hendricks the Cubs' Opening Day starter was among the most impactful decisions Ross made during Summer Camp. Hendricks made it an easy decision. He stretched out his pitch count further than his competition and had been the Cubs' most consistent starting pitcher for the last five years.
On Friday, Hendricks was absolutely dominant in a complete-game shutout.
Here are takeaways from a most unusual Opening Day:
Hendricks or Houdini?
The Cubs' dugout shouted "Yeah's" and "Hey's" as Brewers superstar Christian Yelich swung and missed for strike three. Hendricks had fooled him with a 81-mph changeup.
Not only would Hendricks go on to strike out the side in that inning, the fourth, but he whiffed the heart of the Brewers' lineup in order.
His most efficient inning was the seventh, when he needed just five pitches.
"I trust Kyle in any situation, against any lineup," Ross said before the game. "He‘ll follow the scouting report. If he's executing pitches, he's really tough to hit."
Hendricks allowed just three hits and struck out nine.
Keedron Bryant's voice reverberated through the empty stands at Wrigley Field as the teenage singer belted, "I Just Wanna Live" from one of the rooftops beyond left field.
On the field, the players lined up along the foul lines, Cubs and Brewers alike holding one long back cloth in their hands.
The Cubs acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement during their Opening Day ceremonies. The players on both teams wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts to warm up. A video from The Players Alliance played on the video board. The teams stood in a moment of silence, in solidarity with and in recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement. Then Bryant sang.
Keedron Bryant's performance of "I Just Wanna Live" was extremely moving. pic.twitter.com/TElditfkCQ— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) July 24, 2020
"I just really appreciate that we are walking the walk when it comes to saying we're family and we support each other no matter what," Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward said. "We understand none of us are perfect, but we also understand that all of us have our differences and different struggles, from different countries, different families, cultures and things like that. So just to have everyone's support today and going forward is huge and again much appreciated on my behalf."
The Compound comes through
Hoerner and Happ lived together in Arizona this spring, remaining in the area after MLB shut down Spring Training due to the coronavirus pandemic. They, plus housemates Dakota Mekkes and Zack Short, hosted "The Compound" podcast, named after the house they staying in.
Hoerner stepped down from his podcast-hosting duties after leaving Arizona, but the former co-hosts' collaboration Friday worked in the Cubs' favor.
Nico gets the nod
Rookie Hoerner started at second base over the veteran Jason Kipnis. The matchup against Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff may have factored into Ross' decision, but that's not the answer Ross gave when asked after the game.
"I put Nico in there because I like him in there," Ross said, smiling. "That's where that comes from. That's my call. I get to make that decision now."