Las Vegas oddsmakers favor Chicago Cubs to repeat in 2017

Grichuk hit a two-run home run off of Pedro Strop in the eighth inning to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

The World Series champion Chicago Cubs opened baseball's new season with a defeat on Sunday after Randal Grichuk's single gave the St. Louis Cardinals a 4-3 victory.

Contreras' homer was hit after Ben Zobrist was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame. And he created a lot of the spark he was expected to bring on Opening Day, pestering Cubs pitchers with an infield base hit and then a walk. He allowed two runs and four hits, striking out four and throwing 92 pitches. The Cubs long road back to baseball's ultimate stage begins with a visit to the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day. But opening day was a ton of fun for Grichuk & Co.

Hey that IBB just saved us 30 sec out of a 3.5 hour nine inning game.

Now, on to the rest of this disappointing loss. I will make my predictions after the All-Star Break.

Andrew McCutchen had an off year and after being dangled as trade bait for much of the winter, shifts to right field with Starling Marte moving to center and Gregory Polanco taking over in left. They had a similar issue at Wrigley Field a couple of years ago when they first put a ribbon board in right field. The entire league will be gunning for the Cubs, and any injuries or signs of regression will have them feeling the heat.

There is certainly reason to be optimistic about the Cubs' chances. Kyle Schwarber reached three times in his first game as the leadoff hitter since Dexter Fowler left the Cubs for an $82.5 million, five-year contract with the Cardinals. The Cubs' offense should be fine in the long run, but the outfield still is a position group worth monitoring. Bullpen-wise, Seung-hwan Oh has taken over for Trevor Rosenthal in the closer's spot.

For Martinez, his clutch moment on the first day of the season might indicate this year will go in a better direction than any of his previous ones. Taking the hill for the Cardinals in the opener is Carlos Martinez, who went 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 31 starts last season.

Hope started to fade from the remaining Cardinals fans still in Busch Stadium after a steady rain hit late in the game.

The Cubs also lost a reliable reliever from 2016 in Travis Wood, who signed with the Kansas City Royals in free agency during the offseason. Because he and I were really - we got along really, really well and he's going to be very, very important for them.

I wasn't real happy to see the play where Fowler stuck his leg out attempting to break up a double play. Hopefully (Arrieta and Lackey) don't go anywhere, and we're fine for the next however many years. "And I've thought about that". I think symbolically it will be turned next week.

FILE - In this February 14, 2017, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina gives a thumbs-up to a pitcher during a spring training baseball workout in Jupiter, Fla.

The Cubs appeared to not get helped by plate umpire Paul Emmel's strike zone when Rizzo was called out on strikes in the seventh (ESPN's strike-zone box showed it outside), but the @CubsUmp Twitter account did not mention that call.

A security guards helmet during the game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. I think the ring ceremony should be the turning of the page.

If the Cardinals' young players make the strides this season that the Cubs' young players made last season, this rivalry could tilt quite quickly.

Director Frank Kunovic said the betting line at the hotel-casino for the number of games the Cubs will win is at 96.5. We'd take that, I think, as a start.

An opening night showdown between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs was supposed to highlight the incalculable amount of talent on the reigning champs' roster.

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