Everything will be magnified in April.

The Cubs won’t have six months to find themselves, because the front office won’t care about the optics if another summer selloff leads to another 101-loss season. Opening Day is supposed to be about renewal and hope, but for this team there’s urgency.

That made the end so much more interesting on Monday at PNC Park. After Jeff Samardzija shut down the Pittsburgh Pirates across eight scoreless innings, manager Dale Sveum used three different pitchers to get the final three outs in the ninth and secure a 3-1 victory.

Everyone could see the closer controversy coming – just probably not in the immediate aftermath of Game 1.

Carlos Marmol hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch and the Cubs already had James Russell and Kyuji Fujikawa warming up in the bullpen when Pedro Alvarez knocked an RBI single into center field. Marmol walked the next batter and was done.