Monday, April 1, 2013

Opening Day 2013

Hey, the hoopla is over; the overheated debates about the back end of the order, bullpen and lineup are decided, and it's showtime. The Bucs take on the Cubbies to open the 2013 season at PNC Park. AJ Burnett was 2-1 with a 1.40 ERA against the Cubs last season while Jeff Samardzija was 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA against the Pirates, so there should be a lot of pitching going on today. The action is scheduled for a 1:35 start and the game is on TV and radio.

Pirate Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Garrett Jones RF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Russell Martin C, Clint Barmes SS and AJ Burnett P.

The lineup isn't exactly what we expected; Travis Snider is on the bench and Jones is in the OF. And he, not Martin, is in the two hole. Gaby is at first, hitting fifth against a righty. We thought the point was to let the young guys play and see what they could do given some regular at-bats, silly us.

On a brighter note, AJ is in his 15th season, and today is his first Opening Day assignment after playing second fiddle to guys like Josh Beckett, Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia at his other stops. Hey, it's good to get that bucket list whittled down.

Cub Lineup: David DeJesus CF, Starlin Castro SS, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Alfonso Soriano LF, Nate Schierholtz RF, Welington Castillo C, Luis Valbuena 3B, Brent Lillibridge 2B and Jeff Samardzija P.

In Theo Epstein's second year, the Cubs have a core of offensive players to build with, though the back end still needs some work. But he has brought pitchers Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza (who's on the DL) into the Bruin fold; it's nice to have a $100M payrolls to work with. Darwin Barney was scratched after suffering a gash on his left knee in Chicago's final exhibition game. It took five stitches to close and he may yet end up on the DL.

The Bucs and Cubs finished 8-8 against one another last season, and were 4-4 at each other's park. So rolls the dice and take yer chances; it's an even matchup.

  • As expected, Bradon Inge, Jeff Karstens, Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton were placed on the 15 day DL. Karstens, Liriano and Morton's start date is retroactive to March 22nd and Inge's to March 26th. The FO is planning on getting these guys back sooner as opposed to later (although they can be moved to the 60-day DL if there are any setbacks.)
  • For Pittsburgh, change is the only constant - there are a dozen new faces on the 2013 edition team as compared to last year's Opening Day squad.
  • The Pirates expect a crowd of 39,000 or so on hand for the game.
  • A random stat - the NL Central payrolls for Opening Day 2013: St. Louis $116,702,085, Cincy $110,565,728, Cubs $104,150,726, Milwaukee $91,003,366, Pittsburgh $66,289,524. And even with that gap, no division club is in the Top 10 of MLB salaries.
  • The MLB schedule opened last night with the 'Stros stunning the Rangers 8-2. Houston's big man? None other than LHP Erik Bedard, who went 3-1/3 scoreless frames to earn his first career save.

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