Game Two: Cubs (0-1) vs. Nationals (1-0)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/901
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Matt Garza (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Gio Gonzalez (0-0, -.–/-.–)
Updated 11:44am CDT – Rodrigo Lopez added to Cubs 40-man roster and activated for Saturday’s game. Cubs have not announced corresponding roster move or moves.
Updated 12:07pm CDT – Cubs Selected Contract of Rodrigo Lopez from Triple-A Iowa, added to 40-man roster and 25-man roster. Luis Valbuena outrighted off 40-man roster and sent to Triple-A Iowa.
Dale Sveum’s team will shoot to bounce back from Opening Day’s loss and put up their first win of the season behind Matt Garza. Many expected Garza to face Stephen Strasburg in the first game of the season. Ryan Dempster set the tone for the rotation and Garza gets a very difficult assignment of his own facing Gio Gonzalez in his Nationals’ debut.
During his pre-game show Thursday, Dale Sveum said Bryan LaHair would not be in the starting lineup this afternoon with the southpaw on the hill. LaHair is expected to be available off the bench and is slated to make his first start of the season on Sunday. Look for Jeff Baker at one of the corner infield spots.
Rodrigo Lopez is expected to be added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster at some point this weekend. Lopez left the Iowa Cubs on Friday to re-join the big league team.
Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Opening Day and has reached base safely in the last 41 games he’s played.
The second game of the season all starts with Matt Garza … Matt Garza is coming off a very good first year with the Cubs. Garza posted a 10-10 record with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 31 starts. Garza struck out 197 batters in 198 innings with 63 walks. Garza is the best starter in the Cubs rotation.
According to various reports and rumors, the Cubs have discussed a contract extension with Matt Garza and his agents and also spent the winter listening to offers for the 28-year old right hander. Garza likes Chicago and playing for the Cubs and would like to stay. The speculation is that it would take an extension similar to the one John Danks signed over the off-season (five years, $65 million) to keep Garza in blue pinstripes.
Matt Garza was very good at Wrigley last season. In 17 starts, Garza was 5-4 with two complete games and posted a 2.46 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP while holding batters to a .225 average.
This afternoon is Garza’s fourth career start against the Nationals. Garza is 0-1 in the first three with a 7.90 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP … last season, 0-1 in two starts with a 10.13 ERA and a 2.13 WHIP (one bad start in Washington just before the break … seven runs, six earned, on eight hits in two innings)
Nationals Career Numbers against Matt Garza
- Roger Bernadina – 1-for-2 with a double
- Mark DeRosa – 2-for-3 with a home run
- Ian Desmond – 0-for-4
- Danny Espinosa – 2-for-5
- Xavier Nady – 2-for-8 with a home run
- Wilson Ramos – 1-for-5 with a double
- Jayson Werth – 3-for-7 with a home run and a walk
- Ryan Zimmerman – 3-for-7
The Nationals acquired Gio Gonzalez from the A’s in the off-season along with Robert Gilliam for A.J. Cole, Derek Norris, Tom Milone and Brad Peacock. The Nationals then turned around and signed Gonzalez to a five-year, $42 million deal that includes a club option and a player option for 2017 and 2018.
Gio Gonzalez was 16-12 in 32 starts for Oakland last season with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP … on the road, 6-7 in 15 starts with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
Gonzalez makes his second career start against the Cubs this afternoon. Lou Piniella’s lineup put up six runs on eight hits in five innings against Gonzalez on June 16, 2010 (0-1 with a 10.80 ERA and a 2.20 WHIP).
Cubs Career Numbers against Gio Gonzalez
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-3
- Marlon Byrd – 1-for-5 with a walk
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-1
- David DeJesus – 2-for-8 with a home run
- Bryan LaHair – 0-for-1
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-1 with a double and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-1 with a double and a walk
- Luis Valbuena – 1-for-3 with a walk
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