The wait is over as the Chicago Cubs and Anaheim Angels will square off in the first of a two-game series to start the 2016 season.
All the trendy picks of the Chicago Cubs to “break the curse”. All the talk of the added free agents to an already impressive 97-win team. The Maddonisms that Joe Maddon seems to have ready at the drop of a hat–Do simple better–are all irrelevant now. It’s time for the Cubs to embrace the target and get the job done on the field as they open up the 2016 season tonight against the Anaheim Angels.
The Cubs’ Jake Arrieta–the NL’s reigning Cy Young winner–takes the mound against the Angels Garrett Richards. The Halo’s might not have the same amount of young talent as the Cubs, but they have one of the best in the game in Mike Trout. The Angels’s also added the talented Andrelton Simmons at shortstop, but came up short on their bid to add outfield Jason Heyward. The Cubs won that battle as well as several other in restocking an already impressive group. Now it’s a matter of results, not just talk.
The Cubs will face an old foe in Albert Pujols, and they don’t mind seeing him less often than they used to. Pujols has homered against the Cubs (56) more times than any other opponent. He also has 145 RBIs, just one behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the most in his career. While the veteran has had his share of success, it’s the “kids” who will be on display in the short series.
To go along with Trout, the Cubs have the reigning NL Rookie of the Year in Kris Bryant, as well as slugger Kyle Schwarber and the slick fielding Addison Russell at shortstop. The Cubs have the pitching, hitting, youth and veteran leadership. In most cases, the perfect recipe for a winner. Now it will just be a matter of execution over the next 162 games.
Here are the starting lineups for tonight’s opener:
First pitch is scheduled for 9:00 P.M. CST. The game will be carried on ESPN2 while AM670 The Score will have the radio broadcast.