Cubs Opening Day Game Notes vs. St. Louis

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* The St. Louis Cardinals went 90-72 last season and won the NL Central for the ninth time since 2000. St. Louis reached the National League Championship Series for the fourth consecutive season, but fell in five games to the eventual World Champion San Francisco Giants.

* The Chicago Cubs finished 73-89 and finished in fifth place in the NL Central for the fifth consecutive season. Chicago has hired a new manager, Joe Maddon. He is the third different manager in the last three Opening Days, and he is the fifth Cubs’ manager since 2010 (Lou Piniella, Mike Quade, Dale Sveum, Rick Renteria and Maddon).

* This will be the fourth consecutive season that the Cardinals open up on the road. The Cardinals have won five of the last six times they have opened the season on the road. This is the first time the Cardinals have opened against the Cubs since 2000 (7-1 Cardinals’ win), and the first time they have opened at Wrigley Field since 1991 (4-1 Cardinals’ win).

* This will be just the fifth time that the Cubs will open the season at home since 1997. Chicago has lost the last four times it has opened the season at Wrigley Field. The last time the Cubs opened a season with a home win was 1996 when Mark Grace had a walkoff single off Trevor Hoffman in the bottom of the 10th for a 5-4 Cubs’ win over the San Diego Padres.

* The Cardinals won the season series over the Cubs last season 10-9, and have now won the season series in four straight and five of the last six seasons.

* Matt Carpenter led the Cardinals with 99 runs scored in 2014, and since 2013, Carpenter’s 225 runs scored are most in the major leagues.

* Anthony Rizzo had a career-high 32 home runs in 2014. The 32 home runs were second most in the National League (Giancarlo Stanton – 37). Rizzo has 27 career at-bats (nine hits) against St. Louis’ starting pitcher Adam Wainwright, his most career at-bats versus any pitcher in baseball.

* Adam Wainwright will be making his fourth career Opening Day start, and third consecutive. Last season, Wainwright threw seven scoreless innings and struck out nine in winning at Cincinnati to open the season. Wainwright is coming off his second career 20-win season (also 2010), and finished third in the NL Cy Young voting. It was the fourth time Wainwright has finished in the top three in the NL Cy Young voting (2009 – 3rd, 2010 – 2nd, 2013 – 2nd). Wainwright has thrown 17 consecutive scoreless innings against the Cubs, the last 14 at Wrigley Field.

* Jon Lester gets the call for the Cubs and will be making his Cubs’ debut after nine seasons in the American League with the Red Sox (110 wins) and the Athletics (six wins). This will be Lester’s fifth consecutive Opening Day nod having started on Opening Day for the Red Sox in each of the last four seasons. Lester has faced the Cardinals only once in the regular season: June 22, 2008 in Boston, but beat St. Louis twice in the 2013 World Series (Games 1 & 5), allowing just one run in 15.1 innings.

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1 Comment

  • Bill Felber

    Len & J.D.

    You mused recently about baseball scored as match play. I took up the challenge. Here are the 2014 standings if scored at match play. One caveat: There are numerous games whose outcomes cannot be resolved because they were not tied under real-world scoring but were tied at match play. These — between 16 and 32 per team would have required extra innings. I have allocated these ties per team based on each team’s match play “winning” percentage.

    You will note big changes. The Giants, Royals, Cardinals and A’s all fail top make the playoffs; in their places are the Blue Jays, Brewers, Marlins and Rays.

    AL East
    Toronto 93-69 .574
    *Tampa 88-74 .543
    *Baltimore 88-74 .543
    New York 75-87 .463
    Boston 73-89 .451

    AL Central
    Detroit 101-61 .623
    Cleveland 87-75 .537
    Kansas City 83-79 .512
    Chicago 77-85 .475
    Minnesota 65-97 .400

    AL West
    Los Angeles 93-69 .574
    Oakland 87-75 .537
    Seattle 79-83 .488
    Texas 69-93 .426
    Houston 67-95 .413

    NL East
    Washington 96-66 .593
    *Miami 84-78 .519
    Philadelphia 76-86 .469
    Atlanta 76-86 .469
    New York 74-88 .457

    NL Central
    Pittsburgh 95-67 .586
    *Milwaukee 85-77 .525
    St. Louis 81-81 .500
    Cincinnati 80-82 .494
    Chicago 79-83 .488

    NL West
    Los Angeles 90-72 .556
    San Francisco 83-79 .512
    San Diego 78-84 .481
    Colorado 72-90 .444
    Arizona 64-98 .395