Game One – Opening Day: Cubs (0-0) vs. Pirates (0-0)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Kevin Correia (0-0, -.–/-.–)
Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the Air! Spring Training is over…It’s Opening Day.
Weather permitting … the Chicago Cubs will play their first meaningful game of the year. A win today would mark the first time since the end of the 2009 season that the Cubs held a .500 or better record. After making the trip from Arizona to Chicago, the Cubs held a workout at Wrigley Field Thursday in preparation for Opening Day.
Mike Quade will be introduced this afternoon as the manager of the Chicago Cubs, his first Opening Day as a big league skipper. Quade was named the interim manager when Lou Piniella stepped down on August 22 and the team responded with a 24-13 record under ‘Q’ (Cubs finished 2010 with a 75-87 record, fifth place). The players, led by Ryan Dempster, wanted to have Jim Hendry name Quade the team’s permanent manager and they got their wish on October 19.
The Cubs made three important changes to their roster over the off-season. Carlos Pena signed a one-year deal during the Winter Meetings and Hendry traded for Matt Garza in January. But the addition that made a rough off-season a little more enjoyable was the return of Kerry Wood. Wood had a solid spring and could play a big role in a bullpen that looks very good on paper.
Ryan Dempster takes the hill this afternoon for his first Opening Day in a Cubs’ uniform. When Mike Quade named Dempster his Opening Day starter, Dempster called it an honor … today will be Dempster’s third career Opening Day start.
Dempster is without a doubt one of the leaders in the Cubs clubhouse and has been one of the most consistent pitchers on the North Side since he moved back to the starting rotation in 2008.
Quade has talked about the importance of getting off to a good start. The Cubs have a favorable schedule in April but they face several teams they have struggled with in recent years. First up is the Battlin’ Bucs.
The Cubs played some of their worst ball of 2010 against the pesky Pirates. They left them hanging around every game while Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Garrett Jones padded their stats against Cubs’ pitching. The Northsiders finished 2010 with a 5-10 record against the Pirates … a team that won only 57 games all season (57-105).
For only the second time in 10 seasons, the Cubs will open a season at Wrigley Field.
Somewhere Ron Santo is saying, “This is our year!” Ronnie is missed and his absence will be felt today and throughout the season … Mike Quade announced his Opening Day lineup Thursday … and the Cubs’ skipper decided to give Darwin Barney the nod at second base.
Cubs Opening Day Lineup:
- Kosuke Fukudome – RF
- Starlin Castro – SS
- Marlon Byrd – CF
- Aramis Ramirez – 3B
- Carlos Pena – 1B
- Geovany Soto – C
- Alfonso Soriano – LF
- Darwin Barney – 2B
- Ryan Dempster – P
Ryan Dempster is coming off his third straight 200-plus season. Dempster posted a 15-12 record in 34 starts with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP (208 strikeouts and 86 walks in 215 1/3 innings). Dempster, like many of his teammates, was inconsistent at best at Wrigley (5-7 in 16 starts with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP compared to a 10-5 record in 18 starts with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP on the road). For the Cubs to remain in the race they will have to play better at Wrigley … and Dempster getting off to a good start would set the right example.
For as good a Twenty-Ten campaign as Dempster put together he served up a lot of home runs (25 in 215 1/3 innings, second highest total of his career … 30 in 2000) and he must figure out a way to keep the ball in the park … while maintaining a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
Today will be Dempster’s 21st career start against the Pirates. He is 6-10 in 45 career games, 20 starts, with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. Dempster was winless against the Bucs in 2010 … 0-3 in three starts with a 6.88 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.
Pirates’ Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Pedro Alvarez – 1-for-2 with a double
- Ronny Cedeno – 5-for-10 with a double
- Kevin Correia – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Matt Diaz – 0-for-1
- Garrett Jones – 2-for-13 with a home run and 2 walks
- Andrew McCutchen – 3-for-12 with 2 walks
- Lyle Overbay – 0-for-1 with 4 walks
- Jose Tabata – 1-for-2 with a triple and a walk
- Neil Walker – 3-for-4 with a double
The Cubs will get their first look at the Clint Hurdle led Pirates. While Pittsburgh’s pitching staff is filled with question marks, the Pirates offense features several very good young hitters. Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez all feasted on Cubs pitching last year and hopefully they will change their approach under Mark Riggins.
Kevin Correia received the surprising call to get the ball on Opening Day. Correia had a decent season in San Diego a year ago (10-10 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP). The first-year Pirate has pitched on the West Coast (Padres and Giants) throughout his career splitting time in starting rotations and bullpens.
Correia is 1-2 in eight career games, four starts, against the Cubs with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP … at Wrigley, 1-2 in six games, two starts, with a 8.49 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP. Correia pitched six shutout innings in his only game against the Cubs last season (no runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in six innings).
Cubs’ Career Numbers against Kevin Correia
- Jeff Baker – 2-for-5 with a home run
- Darwin Barney – 1-for-3 with a double
- Marlon Byrd – 0-for-10
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-3
- Blake DeWitt – 1-for-8 with a double and 2 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 4-for-13
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-2
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-1
- Carlos Pena – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-9 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-6
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-6 with a double and 2 walks
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