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It’s Opening Day and the Chicago Cubs are already a half-game out of first place. This lousy front office…

Of course, being only a half game out means that, by the end of the day, the Cubs could be in first place! I’m not sure how many times I’ll get to say that this season, so I figured I should take my shot.

Bryan LaHair is indeed out today with a bad back, but he remains hopeful that he can play this weekend. I’m going to guess that Tony Campana remains in Chicago in the event that, today or tomorrow, the Cubs decide to DL LaHair, in which case Campana would join the 25-man roster. Jeff Baker – not Blake DeWitt – picks up the start today in LaHair’s place, which I suppose makes some sense give DeWitt’s reverse split (i.e., he tends to hit lefties better than righties, despite he, himself, being a lefty).

The Cubs have added Joe Mather and Shawn Camp to the 40-man roster (and, obviously, 25-man roster), and have put Marcos Mateo on the 60-day DL to open up a 40-man spot (Frankie De La Cruz was waived several days ago, and has since been outrighted off the 40-man). Blake DeWitt, as of this writing, is still not technically on the 40 or 25-man rosters, but is expected to be by game time. That’ll require a 40-man roster move, so I’ll update as soon as it happens.

UPDATE: Lefty reliever John Gaub was the 40-man roster victim. The Cubs waived the 26-year-old, and he was subsequently claimed by the Rays (not that they know anything about pitching). Gaub never quite put it together in limited big league opportunities (including Spring Training), but he’s always had an extraordinary K-rate in the Minors (12.6 per 9). He also walked an absurd number of guys (5.8 per 9), so you can understand the Cubs’ reluctance to keep stringing things along.

Game Info

Washington Nationals (0-0) at Chicago Cubs (0-0), 1:20pm CT on WGN.

Game Thread

The Game Thread lives here. Click me.

Starting Pitchers

Stephen Strasburg (0-0, -.–, no other stats available yet)

versus

Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.–, no other stats available yet)

Washington Nationals Lineup

1. Ian Desmond, SS

2. Danny Espinosa, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Mark DeRosa, LF

7. Roger Bernadina, CF

8. Wilson Ramos, C

9. Stephen Strasburg, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Ian Stewart, 3B

6. Jeff Baker, 1B

7. Marlon Byrd, CF

8. Geovany Soto, C

9. Ryan Dempster, P

  • Adam

    What a powerhouse lineup!

  • Trent

    “The winless Washington Nationals come to Wrigley Field to take on the undefeated Chicago Cubs” made me laugh incredibly hard.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I try.

    • Pat

      Agreed. Great headline Brett.

  • RWakild

    Can’t believe that Jeff Baker is our best option at first against a tough right hander. Giving up outs already this year?

    • Fishin Phil

      Yes, Baker will go up to the plate without a bat in his hand.

      • Spencer

        Hahahah. Nice one phil

      • Houston Transplant

        Heh…maybe he’ll get a HBP.

      • BeyondFukudome

        You’re made of maple, aren’t you, Phil?

      • Wilbur

        Nice thing about puppets is they can be one with the bat, or they are the bat, or where the bat. Something like that … bat.

  • Iceman

    They should just option DeWitt to Iowa and keep him in Chicago in case LaHair goes on the DL and then they can recall him. If LaHair is injured they will need either DeWitt or Baker to play 1B so I don’t see why Campana would be useful anyway.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If LaHair is on the DL, Campana provides another lefty bat, and frees up Mather to start at first occasionally. I can see the connection.

  • Zogie

    I’m surprised they did not let Mather start at 1b since he had a huge spring.

  • Stockholm Cubs

    So, share some of those superstitious things that you do. E.g. First pitch strike bodes well, or whatever you may have :-)

  • Andrew

    De la Cruz was outrighted off the 40 man today according to mlbtr

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, that actually happened a couple days ago – must just now be coming across the wire.

  • http://bleachernation.com Tarheel Cub

    We are so right handed… I thought we addressed that!

    • hardtop

      we did, with milton bradley :)

  • TonyP

    What is the point in waiting this late on opening day to add Dewitt to the roster?  Seems odd.  I think they are trying to work a trade and Campana is here to take Dewitt’s spot.  (MLB Gameday shows Campana as a reserve for the game on not Dewitt)

  • Gregb

    I love opening day and thank god direct tv got things worked out with wgn cant wait to get home from work and watch the game with no commericals god bless dvr and go cubs

  • LWeb23

    Did we have to choose a picture with Aaron Miles’ name on the Scoreboard???

    • ISU Birds

      It says he is 0-1000. It’s a funny. Brett is trying to be funny.

    • TWC

      Aaron Miles is *everywhere*.

      • Cubbie Blues

        On most day’s you can hear him being talked about in Russia.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s not unintentional. :)

  • njriv

    Ahh, Opening Day is here! This marks the first day of a long 162-game journey. As Cubs fans, this is year one. We know not to expect much this year, but under the new regime we learned to focus our attention more toward the long-term, to build a nice foundation of young-core-players that will make us a contending team year in and year out, and eventually the ultimate goal, the World Series. But after all this is still opening day, where every team has the same record and all have an equal chance to achieving the ultimate goal. You can never predict anything in this sport and anything can happen, with that being said, Let’s Play Ball! Go Cubs!

  • Chris S

    “It’s Opening Day and the Chicago Cubs are already a half-game out of first place. This lousy front office…”

    We haven’t even lost a game yet and we’re already losing!!!

    • Houston Transplant

      ‘Tis truly the “Cubs Way!” :P

  • Patrick

    Flew in from Seattle for my 10th straight opening day and there is greenery in the ivy. That’s a first! Tip: Meatball Mania – best food I have ever eaten in this ballpark.

  • Borocks

    Hello everyone.  This is my first post but I have been reading since last November.  Love the website.  Thought I should get registered before the season begins.  Been a major Cubs Fan for the last 40 years.  Go Cubbies!!!!!!  Lets win the first one.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Right on, Borocks. Welcome.

  • Ivy Walls

    Cubs waived John Gaub, (Rays claim him) http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/04/rays-claim-john-gaub.html,

    So I figure that this opens the 40 man spot for DeWitt but not sure where the 25-man spot is.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Ivy. Just saw that. Not terribly surprised that he was the choice (Cabrera also would have made sense).

      • Cedlandrum

        All three of the DeRosa pitchers we traded for are now gone. I believe Gaub has been hurt has he not?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I don’t know that he’s hurt right now, but yeah, he’s had plenty of injury issues.

  • http://bleachernation.com Tarheel Cub

    So is Dewitt on or off for this game? Time grows short until game time…

    • Cedlandrum

      He is on the roster. Not starting

  • Evolution

    Sing it, Mess!

  • Evolution

    I’d like to welcome everyone to another year of Chicago Cubs Baseball!

  • Ivy Walls

    One thing appears self-evident, Epstein and Hoyer are not going to deal from weakness, by all measures Cubs probably could have traded DeWitt and Byrd (possibly Wells) but their valuations didn’t match up so they held on to their cards (for now). They also kept a 22 year old Castillo and parked another kid named Valbuena who bats left handed and can play SS.

    Here is hoping all the hard work and modernation pay dividends with higher than expected wins this year. I am interested when Pecota comes out.

  • Eric

    So DeRosa produced Gaub (bust), Stevens (bust) and Archer (not a bust).

    • TWC

      Yeah, but don’t forget that DeRosa produced absolutely nothing after he left the Cubs.

      • DocPWimsey

        Actually, DeRosa had 2+ great months with the Indians. He hit a ton of HR. As the three guys in front of him had OBPs over 0.400, that resulted in a ton of RBI.

      • Eric

        Yeah, I actually thought it was a smart move to sell high at the time. I was excited about Stevens too. He was a closer for some international team if I recall correctly.

        I should caveat that by saying, I thought it was ok to sell high on DeRosa but I don’t think that team needed 3 young pitching prospects. The whole thing reeked of a Peavy precursor at the time.

  • Cubs505050

    First pitCh and the no hitter is over

  • Kyle

    Way to work the count in the first inning, Cubs.

  • BeyondFukudome

    [insert sarcasm emoticon here]

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    I’m glad Dempster has been able to wriggle out of jams so far, but it’s REALLY frustrating to watch their lineup take close pitch after close pitch, and then watch the Cubs flail away at every first or second pitch.

    • DocWimsey

      This likely is a source of Theo’s cautions. You can preach “patience” all you want, but if guys lack the 6th tool, then you’ll still get this. (The Nats have several players with very good eyes, although some do not have great contact skills.)

  • Cubs505050

    I know dempster has been in some jams. But he has pitched real well

  • BeyondFukudome

    I wonder if a pitcher has ever given up a hit on the first pitch of a game and then pitched a no-hitter from that point on?

  • Ivy Walls

    Cubs formula for winning this year. Starting pitching taking lead into the 7th inning. Efficiency and command.

    • Kyle

      And praying that one run is enough? :)

  • Matt3

    postseason

  • coal

    Sort of feels like we need a Marmol outing here to make sure that Epstein, Hoyer and Sveum are properly indoctrinated on Opening Day…

    • Iceman

      Or a Wood outing

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