The Cubs are the last of MLB’s 30 teams to have their home opener this year, and a day later than scheduled due to Monday’s snowout. It was noted earlier that this year is the longest season-beginning road trip for the franchise since 1899, when they started with 12 straight games away from Chicago.
No other team in 1899 had a longer season-starting road trip, so this would appear to be the first time since then that the Cubs have been the last team to play a home game.
Look at it this way: The Cubs still have 81 home games remaining, but just 72 road games.
A few other home opener notes:
- This is the Cubs’ 103rd Wrigley Field opener and their 143rd Chicago opener. The Cubs are 54-47-1 in Wrigley Field openers and 79-61-2 in Chicago openers. The two ties were, oddly enough, on the same calendar date: April 12, 1911 (3-3) and April 12, 1965 (10-10), both against the Cardinals. That 1965 opener was quite a game. Ernie Banks hit a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to send it to extras. Both teams scored in the 11th before it was called for darkness at 5:56 p.m. In 1965, daylight saving time didn’t begin until April 25 and sunset that day was 6:28 p.m.
- The Cubs will play the Pirates in their home opener for the first time since 2011, a 6-3 loss. The Cubs also lost to the Pirates in their 2004 home opener (13-2) and their 2002 home opener (2-1). The last time the Cubs beat the Pirates in a home opener was 30 years ago, April 15, 1988 (6-0).
- Overall, this will be the 21st time the Cubs and Pirates have met in the Wrigley Field season opener. In the previous 20, the Cubs are 9-11.
Here are today’s particulars.
Tyler Chatwood vs. Ivan Nova
Tyler Chatwood’s first start as a Cub has to be considered a success, despite the loss and the six walks he issued. He pitched himself into trouble with the walks, but got out of jams and allowed just one run.
He has faced the Pirates twice in his career, once last year, once in 2016. He threw six innings and allowed six hits and one run in each of those starts. I’d certainly take another one of those this afternoon.
Current Pirates are a small sample size 10-for-43 (.233) against him with no home runs.
Ivan Nova has made two starts already, one decent, one not so much. Overall he’s allowed 11 hits and four walks in 10⅓ innings. Last year he made three starts against the Cubs and posted a 4.86 ERA and 1.080 WHIP in 16⅔ innings, and allowed five home runs to Cubs hitters. Two of those homers were hit by Ian Happ, who is 3-for-8 against Nova.
Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets).
This is ABC7’s first time doing the home opener. They will be broadcasting a live pregame show in the Chicago area beginning at noon CT. Hosted by Mark Giangreco, Jim Rose and Dionne Miller, it will feature Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies as guests as well as interviews with Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts.
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The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.