Cubs Game Notes For Opening Day at Pittsburgh

 

* After being 16 games over .500 (63-47) on August 8, Pittsburgh would go just 16-36 (.308) the rest of the way to finish with a losing record for the 20th straight year. Pittsburgh did make some splashes offensively, having three players with 25+ home runs for the first time since 1966.

 

* Chicago, meanwhile, suffered its first 100-loss season since 1966 last year. The Cubs’ .240 team batting average was their lowest since 1981 (.236) and lowest in a non-strike season since 1965 (.238).

 

* Jeff Samardzija will be looking to build off of a solid ending to his 2012 campaign, during which he registered a 2.58 ERA over his last 13 starts, allowing just 67 hits in 87.1 innings. Samardzija was victimized by low run support all season, with his run support average of 3.19 ranking as the third lowest in the majors behind Josh Johnson (2.92) and Anibal Sanchez (3.17) (minimum 1.0 inning per team game).

 

* Last season, A.J. Burnett became the first Pirates pitcher with 16+ wins and 180+ strikeouts in a season since Bob Veale in 1966. He won eight straight starts from May 19-June 28, making him the first Pirate to win eight consecutive starts since Dock Ellis in 1974.

 

* In 2012, Andrew McCutchen became the eighth player in MLB history to bat .325 with 30+ home runs, 20+ steals and 70+ walks in a season, joining Ken Williams (1922), Willie Mays (1957), Carl Yastrzemski (1970), Barry Bonds (1993), Larry Walker (1997), Vladimir Guerrero (2002) and David Wright (2007).

 

* Starlin Castro has a .356 career batting average against the Pirates, third highest among all active players with at least 150 at-bats against the Bucs (Albert Pujols, .365; Adrian Beltre, .362).

 

 

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