Game One – Opening Day: Cubs (0-0) vs. Brewers (0-0)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV, ESPN 2 – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Ben Sheets (0-0, -.–/-.–)
It’s finally here….Opening Day and Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the Air! Carlos Zambrano will take the mound today for the fourth consecutive Opening Day. The Cubs need a solid season and especially a good start from Zambrano….and it begins today as he shoots for his first career win on Opening Day. Weather permitting…. Carlos Zambrano is coming off a career year in wins (18-13) and as good as he pitched for the most part of the season, Lou Piniella must have a solid, consistent year from his number one pitcher. Zambrano is 9-8 in 19 career starts, 20 games, against the Brewers with a 4.21 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
- Ryan Braun – 2-for-6 with a double and 2 RBI’s
- Prince Fielder – 8-for-21 with 4 doubles, a home run and 5 walks
- Bill Hall – 5-for-33 with a double and 2 triples
- Rickie Weeks – 6-for-22 with a double and a home run
Ben Sheets is coming off an All-Star season that was cut short due to injury. When Sheets was healthy, he was one of the best in the league….12-5 in 24 starts with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Sheets is 9-7 in 22 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Last year he was 2-1 in 4 starts with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. The loss was an injury-shortened game at Wrigley.
- Mark DeRosa – 5-for-17 with 2 doubles and a triple
- Derrek Lee – 15-for-44 with 2 doubles and 5 home runs
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-8 with a double
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-7
- Carlos Zambrano – 5-for-12
A lot has changed since Opening Day last year on the North Side, only 4 players remain from Piniella’s starting nine in Cincinnati. Lou Piniella knows his team and his players know what he expects out of them. Kosuke Fukudome will make his Major League debut today with much hype and press after, for the most part, a solid spring. Geovany Soto, Felix Pie and Ryan Theriot will make their first Opening Day starts at the big league level.
Opening Day Festivities
The Cubs enter today’s game just 15 wins shy of 10,000. Once the Cubs reach that plateau the franchise will become only the second team in MLB history to reach the milestone.
Today’s game marks the beginning of the 60th season of the Cubs being carried on WGN.
The Cubs will unveil the Ernie Banks Statue in pre-game ceremonies to honor Mr. Cub. Hank Aaron and Bill Crosby are among those expected to be in attendance.
“We Believe“, the documentary about the Cubs 2008 season by John Scheinfeld, will begin the 162-game regular season schedule today as well.
Keep It Wrigley.org will be selling t-shirts outside of the old ballpark before today’s game.
Here is the expected Opening Day Lineup….but no one knows for sure what Lou Piniella will ever do….a hat tip to the guys on XM Radio for nicknaming ‘Sweet Lou‘ the ‘Mad Scientist‘ on Sunday afternoon….
- Ryan Theriot – SS
- Alfonso Soriano – LF
- Derrek Lee – 1B
- Aramis Ramirez – 3B
- Kosuke Fukudome – RF
- Mark DeRosa – 2B
- Geovany Soto – C
- Felix Pie – CF
- Carlos Zambrano – P
In Other News
Scott Eyre was officially placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday retroactive to March 23rd according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times. Eyre joined Angel Guzman as the only two Cubs on the 40-man roster to start the 2008 season on the disabled list. A report on Cubs.com indicated Eyre could miss only 7 to 8 days and is eligible to come off the DL on April 7th or 8th. Eyre will remain in Arizona in extended Spring Training.
The Cubs quest to end a century of failure is one of ten questions Dayn Perry from FoxSports.com is looking for an answer to as the 2008 season gets underway.
Lou Piniella will continue to tinker with his lineup according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times. Piniella stated a few weeks back he would have a set lineup by Opening Day and he would be done tinkering by March 31st….well, the Faithful knew better. Tinker all you want Lou, just put a winner on the field.
Kerry Wood is one of the 5 most overrated players in the game according to Joel Sherman from the New York Post. Kudos for the Sidd Finch reference but in Kloser K’s defense, there is video that proves Wood actually exists.
Former Cub, Rocky Cherry, who was dealt to the Orioles last year (Steve Trachsel) will start the season on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder strain.
Daryle Ward had X-rays taken on his right ankle after fouling a ball off the ankle during Thursday’s game. Ward rejoined the Cubs in Chicago on Sunday according to a report in the Tribune and is expected to be ready to play on Opening Day.
Expect Reed Johnson to be Lou Piniella’s lead-off hitter against southpaws….at least for now, according to a report on Cubs.com. Piniella also stated, Kosuke Fukudome will likely hit second against lefties with Alfonso Soriano moving down to the fifth spot. Fukudome and Soriano will flip-flop places in the order, again for now, against right handed pitchers. The Cubs are not expected to face a left-handed starter until the weekend when the Astros come to town.
The CCO was recently named one of the best Cubs blogs on the net by the Chicago Tribune. To keep with the theme of the day….we are very excited and humbled to be mentioned by the Tribune among the other fine blogs.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….