Cubs Opening Day Notes @ Texas
➢ The Cubs have posted four consecutive 90-win seasons for the second time in franchise history and the first time in over 100 years. They lead MLB with a .597 winning percentage since 2015; since that year, their pitchers rank second in ERA at 3.53 (Dodgers – 3.48) and first in opponent batting average at .231.
➢ The Rangers went 67-95 in 2018, matching their 2014 campaign; they have not had a worse record since 1985, when they went 62-99. Combined with a 78-84 mark in 2017, it is the first time since 2007 and ’08 that Texas has finished below .500 in successive years.
➢ Texas went 9-11 in interleague play in 2018; it was the Rangers’ first losing season versus National League competition since 2006. The Cubs went 13-7 against the American League last season and are 40-20 in interleague play since 2016 – second to only Boston’s 46-14 mark.
➢ In each of the last four seasons, at least one Cub has finished in the top NL’s top five in RBI: Javier Baez topped the NL with 111 last season. No Ranger has finished in the AL’s top five in RBI since 2012, when Josh Hamilton was second with 128, and no Texas player has led the AL since 2008 (Hamilton – 130).
➢ Jon Lester tied a career high with 11 road wins last season, going 11-2; his 2.87 road ERA was the lowest in his 13 seasons to date. Lester had a 2.55 ERA in interleague games last season after posting a 5.79 mark against AL clubs the previous year.
➢ With his Opening Day start for the Rangers, Mike Minor will pitch in the majors in consecutive seasons for the same team – something he has not done since 2013 and ’14 with Atlanta. Minor did his best work late last season, going 6-2, 2.97 with a .194 opponent batting average in his last 10 starts.