#Cubs lineup vs Angels: Szczur starts

Matt Szczur, who hit a three-run double on Monday in the season opener, gets the start in left field on Tuesday as the Cubs close their brief two-game series against the Angels. Jon Lester will start. The left-hander is 4-4 with a 3.93 ERA in 11 career regular season starts against the Angels, and 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in three career postseason starts. He has not faced them since 2014, when he made three starts while with the Athletics.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Heyward RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Soler DH

Russell SS

Szczur LF

Ross C

Dexter Fowler was 3-for-4 with three runs, a double and a walk on Monday. He’s the first Cubs player to score at least three times and reach safely at least four times in a season opener since Aramis Ramirez did so April 4, 2005 at Arizona.

Miguel Montero hit a two-run homer on Monday, and is the first Cubs catcher to homer on Opening Day since Scott Servais in 1996 vs. the Padres.

According to STATS Inc., Addison Russell, at 22 years and 73 days old, is the third-youngest player in the National League and the seventh- youngest currently in the Major Leagues.

With Russell, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler all in the starting lineup Monday, the Cubs had four players under 25 starting on Opening Day for the first time since 1975 when Pete LaCock (1B), Manny Trillo (2B), Bill Madlock (3B) and Steve Swisher (C) all made starts.

After this series, the Cubs have an  off day Wednesday, then open a four-game series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. Pitching for that series will be:

Thursday: John Lackey vs. Rubby De La Rosa

Friday: Jason Hammel vs. Robbie Ray

Saturday: Kyle Hendricks vs. Zack Greinke

Sunday: Jake Arrieta vs. Shelby Miller

— Carrie Muskat


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Yay! Go Szczur!!!

Aloha Mat- was just looking at the team leaders for certain categories and your Szczur leads the team in rbi’s! I think that is cool. I love his “grit,” style of playing! Mahalo!

Scczur must be thrilled Nova won the NCAA D1 National Championship last night in a manner that`s “one for the ages,” Mat B. Matt had a good night in more than one way.

Aloha jhosk & Mat B- well, I think Szczur deserves to start. His approach at the plate was really good. I made a point of it to observe him and both his play in the field and at the plate showed me how he has matured over the years. I was happy for Nova too but hope the younger folks can be more civil about there celebrations and not so destructive. Let us hope that Lester continues the quality start that Arrieta just had and looks to first from time to time! Mahalo!

I`ve heard it said Starlin Castro stroked a two-run double today for his new team, the Yankees. He was responsible for more than 66% of the team`s offense. We wish Starlin well, and hope his bat excels all season, and at the same time, we are more than pleased with our current shortstop/second base combination.

I had gameday up with the Yankee game on my laptop while loading software onto microwave radios at work today. I was happy to see Castro draw first blood.

Aloha jhosk & Mat B- yes, kudo’s to Castro. I really wish him much success with the Yankees and hope that organization can turn things around while he is there. Mahalo!

Aloha k.g. Just watched the Pirates send the Redbirds to their second consecutive defeat in extras. I know Pittsburgh may very well prove to be just as formidable an opponent for the Cubs as the Cards, but we can`t help finding satisfaction in seeing St. Louis defeated.

Aloha jhosk, yes the Redbirds are 0-2 and Szczur blast one out followed by an almost dinger by Ross! These folks want to play! Mahalo!

I am a happy fan.

Aloha Mat B- I sure you are! Let’s hope they can close this game out as they have a big series against the snakes in AZ before heading to the cold! Mahalo!

Aloha jhosk- I know this must be hard for the Redbirds (do not worry I not going soft on them), it must be hard not to have both Heyward and Peralta in their current lineup. But that organization finds a way to succeed. Putting them aside, thinking of Mat B and his support of Szczur: Matt S is making the most of his opportunities and good for him. Boy late in the game he gave another ball a ride that I thought had a chance of going out! I hope he is given a chance in AZ to play as well, maybe shuffling in with Soler-Schwarber. I see Hammel is pitching on Friday so can we assume that Schwarber is the backstop for that game. Thus Soler-Szczur in LF? I know Carrie will give us the lineups as we get closer, tomorrow is a day off. Take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, sir; Szczur also made a nice defensive play on that ball hit deep along the left field line. The key was his getting an excellent jump. Yes, agreed we anticipate Schwarber behind the plate Friday. Two of the best first basemen in the game will be on the same field in this upcoming series. Correct me if I`m mistaken, but I think I heard it said this is the first time in 20 years the Cubs have opened a season winning the first two games.

Aloha jhosk, good point about that defensive play that Szczur made. He has to be considered the better LF out of Schwarber and Soler. And yes to your point about startingvthe season off at 2-0. I think the last time was in 1994/1995. I am sure Carrie will reply on that. Well I hope they use their day off to their advantage in preparation for Friday! Mahalo!

To win the first two games of a season is a modest achievement. The fact that the Cubs have not done so in 20 years is testament to the mediocrity of the product in that long stretch. But this is new territory we find ourselves in. We are on the ascendancy, and there is no limit to the heights this club may potentially reach, due to the fact that a talented Front Office is in place, and arguably the game`s best manager is at the helm, and the organization is stocked with talent.

Aloha jhosk, the wife was just asking me the last time the Cubs won the season opener, I think that was in 2013 with the Shark and that season ended with very different results than last year and what we hope for this year. I see Pittsburgh is up again, against the Redbirds. Well, the team will just have to play good ball against them! Mahalo!

Last two nights in Anaheim, amazing. Cub fans everywhere, giving each other high fives and fist bumps. Strangers talking to each other, introducing their selves and discussing the Cubs.
What a start for many, but cannot explain my happiness for Szczur. great start.
Lester looked totally different from last year, in a great way.
The Cubs are making opposing Pitchers challenge them, if they don’t, the Cubs take the Walk. The K’s mean nothing if the Cubs keep this up, eventually after they wear the Pitcher down, they will make contact in big ways.
Has been great following them the first two games, four more and I have to go home. Bummer.

Aloha jasper, are you now off to AZ?! That is awesome. Yes, Szczur has come out of the gates as well as many others..Montero/Rizzo/Fowler. Yes, Lester looked like a different pitcher. More confident, aware and he kept the ball down, kudos to him. As well Ross and Montero framing the pitches well and for the types of pitches they are calling for. Take care jasper! Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. It`s official. The Cardinals lost their third straight game of this very young 2016 season. It has to be one of their worst starts in recent memory.

There was unrealistic pressure placed on Lester in 2015. He was the guy. That is not the case in 2016. He can relax this season knowing there are at least two other starters on the staff of whom much is expected. As the season progresses, and the club succeeds, it is reasonable to anticipate the Cubs acquiring at least one more elite starting pitcher via trade or otherwise, in order to make it even more probable the Cubs will qualify for the playoffs and beyond. {Jasper is fortunate to see all these games.}

Thank you K.g. and jhosk. Already waiting to go to the game early this AM.
Hoping Lackey is on today and the Bats of Russell, Bryant and Schwarber are heated up.
Also Heyward is off to a slow start, but Szczur is leading the way. Cubs are in good shape.🙂

Aloha jhosk & Jasper- yes about Lester. I think he felt the “weight” of the world on his shoulders last year and it was immense pressure to have to carry. I think by keeping the ball low, which he likes to do with regularity and working on his move to first base, will only help him through this season and prepare him for the postseason! I remember when I first started to comment on Carrie’s blog a few years ago about the prospect of a Tanaka coming to Chicago and I wrote on here about the Japanese mindset and how he would not want to come to a place that would make it all about him. That would be too much pressure on him as an individual, especially with an organization that was in last place and would continue that streak for so many years. So if Lester took it hard last season, just think what Tanaka would have been feeling. As an aside, Kawasaki-san is the exception. Having played and dealt with ball players from Japan over the years, he is refreshing and I hope has an opportunity at some point to make this team. So in regard to Heyward. I see a little bit of Tanaka/Lester in him too. Meaning, he comes in with high expectations and the thing you do not want to do, is to burden him or constantly remind him of this. It is hard when you sign a large and long-term contract but I have faith in Maddon and the FO that Heyward will be treated just like anyone else. As well as he is learning to adjust to a new team, coaching style, etc… I am reminded of the fact that Zobrist played for Maddon so for him, this is familiar and Lackey began his career with the Angels so he also has experience with him as well. Having more veterans on this young team is a huge plus! Competition is a great thing and Szczur bringing it is wonderful. Let’s the other folks know that it is nothing personal but he wants to play! Mahalo!

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