Just a few months ago Kris Bryant fielded a ground ball threw a strike to Anthony Rizzo, and ended what was a 108 year championship drought for the Chicago Cubs. The curse was broken with the longest run without a title in professional sports, Cub fans world wide could finally say The Cubs are World Series champions. With a league leading 103 win regular season, a National League MVP, a ERA leader, and two Gold Gloves 2016 was a magical season.
Tonight all stats are erased and The Cubs open the 2017 season on the road to take on the division rival St. Louis Cardinals. A familiar face signed a free agent deal in the off season with the Cardinals, table setter and lead off man the past two seasons in Chicago Dexter Fowler. It was a bitter sweet ending for Fowler in Chicago when he declined his mutual option and tested the free agent market. With the lead off spot open Cubs skipper Joe Maddon has gotten creative and has selected Kyle Schwarber to get the first knock at leading off.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has chosen to give the ball to 25 year old righty Carlos Martinez. He is making his first opening day start of his career and in April boasts a 7-1 win loss record in eight starts. Along with the wins he holds a 2.10 era in the first month of the season. In nine career starts verse the Cubs he has 3-3 win loss record and a 4.67 era. In 36 starts at Busch Stadium he is two games above the .500 mark with 15 wins and 13 losses.
The Cubs counter with veteran lefty Jon Lester making his sixth opening day start. In 47 career starts in April he has a 15-14 win loss record and a 3.76 era. He has a .500 record against the St. Louis Cardinals at 3-3 and a sparkling 1.97 era in nine starts. In 161 starts on the road he is 34 wins above the .500 mark with 75 wins and 41 losses. At Busch Stadium Lester has made three starts with a 3-2 win loss record and an 0.82 era.
The Cubs and Cardinals rivalry is known as one of the best in sports. They have played each other 2,363 times with the Cubs winning 1,207 of those games and the Cardinals winning 1,156 games. The Cardinals have a big edge on championships with 11 World Series Titles and the Cubs sit with 3 after the 2016 season. Tonight should be a great addition to the rivalry with both teams in a hunt for a division title. One thing I can guarantee is Cub fans will be excited to hear Pat Hughes say Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the air. You can catch all the action tonight on Espn and 670 The Score at 7:30.