4/5 Opening Day facts & figures
Here’s some Opening Day trivia while you’re waiting for the first pitch:
* Carlos Zambrano is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in his five previous Opening Day starts. His first win came last year against Houston. With Monday’s start, Zambrano will set a franchise record, becoming the first Cubs pitcher to start six straight Opening Day games. Rick Sutcliffe and Fergie Jenkins both made five consecutive Opening Day starts.
* Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee will be making their seventh straight Opening Day starts for the Cubs. Prior to Ramirez, the Cubs had used six different Opening Day third basemen from 1998-2003. Ramirez is the first Cubs third baseman to make seven straight Opening Day starts since Ron Santo started 13 in a row. Lee is the first Cubs first baseman to start at least seven in a row since Mark Grace made 12 straight starts from 1989-2000.
* The Cubs will have a different starting center fielder for the sixth straight Opening Day when Marlon Byrd takes the field. In the past five years, the starters have been Corey Patterson, Juan Pierre, Alfonso Soriano, Felix Pie and Kosuke Fukudome.
* Byrd is the only newcomer to the Cubs’ Opening Day lineup from one year ago.
* Tyler Colvin finished spring with a .468 batting average, best in the National League and third in the Majors. He led the Majors with 36 hits and 58 total bases.
* The Cubs have gone 1-2 in Opening Day games under Lou Piniella. The only win came last year when they beat the Astros. They lost in both 2007 and ’08; and ended up in the playoffs both seasons. Coincidence? We’ll see.
– Carrie Muskat