Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley field from right bleachersOpening Day is here! Well, the home opening day, anyway. Hopefully the nasty early morning weather is all cleared out by the time we’re ready to funnel into the ballpark.

Travis Wood gets the ball today to kick off his 2014 season, which hopefully looks a hell of a lot like his 2013 season. It’s going to be very windy today, which will either make Wood unstoppable (wind blowing in) or comically vulnerable (wind blowing out), because he’s quite the fly ball pitcher. Of course, his opponent today, Roberto Hernandez, is extremely homer-prone, himself.

Ryne Sandberg makes his return to Wrigley, which will be interesting because, when he comes out onto the field to exchange lineups and do that whole thing, Ricky Renteria will also be coming out for the first time at Wrigley Field. There will be enormous cheers, but neither man will truly know for whom the crowd cheers. And you have to choose just one. This is serious business.

Today’s lineup is mostly loaded with lefties, as you’d expect, but Darwin Barney is at second base, rather than Emilio Bonifacio (who is in center, rather than Ryan Sweeney (who is in left, rather than Ryan Kalish)). RR said that Barney wasn’t going to be in a strict platoon, and here you have it. As for Junior Lake and Mike Olt, we still don’t know what their level of platooning will be, because the Cubs face so many lefties in the early going.

Ryne Sandberg, on the other hand, thinks the platoon advantage is for silly ninnies, so he puts six(!) lefties in his lineup to face lefty Travis Wood, including the first three batters. Wood has held lefties a mere .212/.290/.327 line over his career. No, Sandberg doesn’t have the same roster versatility at his disposal that RR has, but … well, this does not seem wise. Anything can happen in a single game, though.

I’ll be at the game today and then hopefully hanging with some of you fine folks after the game, so you can expect a delayed EBS.

Game Info

Philadelphia Phillies (1-2) at Chicago Cubs (1-2), 1:20 CT on WGN and MLBN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Roberto Hernandez (4.89 ERA, 4.63 FIP, 3.60 xFIP; 2.97 K/BB (formerly Fausto Carmona))


Travis Wood (3.11 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 4.50 xFIP; 2.18 K/BB)

Philadelpia Phillies Lineup

1. Ben Revere, CF

2. Jimmy Rollins, SS

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Marlon Byrd, RF

5. Ryan Howard, 1B

6. Carlos Ruiz, C

7. Domonic Brown, LF

8. Cody Asche, 3B

9. Roberto Hernandez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Luis Valbuena, 3B

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Ryan Sweeney, LF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Travis Wood, P

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