Opening Day is here Cubs fans! The excitement may be short lived though, as the weather in Pittsburgh appears to be playing a prank on the Cubs and Pirates on April Fools’ Day. A return to 30 degree temperatures in Chicago and some snow in the city of steel. Regardless, here is the 2013 Opening Day starting line up for your Chicago Cubs.
- David DeJesus, CF
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Alfonso Soriano, LF
- Nate Schierholtz, RF
- Welington Castillo, C
- Luis Valbuena, 3B
- Brent Lillibridge, 2B
- Jeff Samardzija, P
If you love symmetry and balance, you can’t do much better than what the Cubs have one through eight, alternating righties and lefties. You can expect this to be the regular line up against opposing right handed starting pitchers as the season goes along, with the second and third base options changing as players return from injury. No real arguments with what manage Dale Sveum has penciled in on his line up card for today’s game. DeJesus is really the only lead off option on the roster and thankfully he has looked great this Spring. Castro is exactly in the spot that I hope he remains in for the rest of his Cubs career. Yes he will develop more power as he continues to develop towards his peak in his 20s, but his knack for base hits and ability to swipe a bag makes him an excellent option in the two spot.
Rizzo is the power hitter this Cubs front office is looking to build around, so the three spot is his to lose during his time as a Cub. Soriano provides the protection for Rizzo and a repeat of the left fielders 2012 season will bode well for both on field results and Soriano’s trade value come July. Schierholtz’s left handed power and experience over Castillo gives him the nod in the fifth slot. Castillo’s position in the order will allow him to continue to develop the offensive side of his game without having the pressure of both being a middle of the order guy while trying to improve his play calling behind the plate. Valbuena continues the theme of balance by being the lefty in the seven spot and if Ian Stewart returns from injury sometime this season, this would be a good spot for him to start earning his way back up to the middle of the order.
Lillibridge currently rounds out the position players in the order and hopefully his good Spring at the plate carriers over into the regular season. This spot is Darwin Barney’s once the starting second baseman returns from his leg injury and Barney is an excellent choice for the eight hitter in a NL line up.
Mar 31, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; General view of the Opening Day logo on bases before a game between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Rizzo, Schierholtz, Castillo, Valbuena, Lillibridge, and Samardzija are all making their first Opening Day starts. For the youngsters Rizzo, Castillo, and Samardzija, here’s to it being the first of many in a Cubs uniform. Valbuena and Lillibridge may be getting their honors due to injuries to others, but both have certainly done their part in the Spring to warrant the call.