Opening Day: Pirates @ Cubs
Happy Opening Day, folks. Hope you are in a warmer place than I am. I’ll get the bad news out of the way first… and that’s that the rain is coming. Hard to tell if it’s going to be enough to delay or interrupt the Pirates-Cubs Opening Day tilt, but it’s not going to be pleasant for the players on the field either way. Good thing the press box windows remain closed.
For those of you back in Pittsburgh, a reminder that the 2:20 pm ET game will be televised on ROOT Sports (formerly FSN Pittsburgh).
The Pirates come into the season having been victorious on Opening Day in each of the last four years. There have been some exciting Game Ones in that stretch, too — with a pair of extra-inning wins, another last at-bat win and a win over the Dodgers last year that featured two home runs by Garrett Jones. The Pirates haven’t won four straight Opening Day affairs since taking six straight from 1935-40.
Other interesting items of note…
- The Pirates and Cubs last met on Opening Day in 1985. The Cubs won that game, 2-1, at Wrigley Field. Overall, Pittsburgh is 10-9 against Chicago on Opening Day
- As announced yesterday, the Pirates will be wearing No. 7 patches on their jersey this season to honor Chuck Tanner.
- Anyone remember seeing the pitcher bat eighth in last year’s lineup? Yep, I was reminded of that strategy today when I looked back to the 2010 Opening Day lineup. We won’t be seeing that this year — I can assure you of that.
- Spoke with righty James McDonald, who said he felt fine in his Spring Training camp game on Thursday. He’s ready to go on Tuesday in St. Louis and seems to have no concerns about the time he missed this spring affecting him.
- Even though the Pirates will not face a left-hander on this opening six-game road trip, manager Clint Hurdle said that Matt Diaz will get into starting lineup. Diaz is expected to start against lefties this season, though Hurdle does not want the right fielder to sit idly for a week until a left-hander takes the mound.
CUBS: K. Fukudome (RF), S. Castro (SS), M. Byrd (CF), A. Ramirez (3B), C. Pena (1B), G. Soto (C), A. Soriano (LF), D. Barney (2B), R. Dempster (RHP)
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