Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 3.28.19

An impressive opening act: 12 runs on 13 hits. Home runs for Javy (2) and KB (1). Lester goes six strong. That will play.

Jon Lester’s outing Thursday marked his third consecutive opening day start and his fourth overall (’15, ’17, ’18, ’19) since joining the Cubs in 2015. Lester’s string of lid-lifters was interrupted briefly by Jake Arrieta in 2016, but marks the most opening day starts by a Cubs pitcher since Carlos Zambrano opened the campaign in six consecutive seasons (2005-2010).

Lester was a stalwart on the road last year: (11-2, 2.87 ERA). He didn’t miss a beat Thursday at Texas earning his first road win this season.

Only Boston (46-14) has a better interleague record than the Cubs (40-20) since 2016. Chicago went (13-7) versus the AL last year. 2019: (1-0).

The Ballpark in Arlington, a.k.a. Globe Life Park, opened in 1994. Thursday marked the yard’s 26th and final Opening Day as the Rangers move to a new retractable roof stadium next year. As exciting as new ballparks are, I’m bummed Globe Life will be put to pasture. With its irregular dimensions and white frieze boxes in center field, I’ve always considered it to be one of the league’s gem cathedrals. Part of any beautiful ballpark is its ability to stand apart on television—and The Ballpark in Arlington is instantly recognizable on tv. But what doesn’t come through the flat screen are the Globe’s many obstructed view seats (hello, Wrigley) and the oppressive Texas summer heat. Farewell, old friend.

Zac Rosscup (2013-17) earned his first win of the season last Thursday with a clean inning of relief in Seattle’s 5-4 victory against Oakland in Tokyo. The Mariners swept the two-game series that opened the major league season.

Trevor Cahill (2015-16) was the Angels’ Opening Day starter Thursday in Oakland. He allowed four runs on six hits over six innings and was tagged with the loss as the A’s won 4-0.

Tommy La Stella (2015-18) went 1-for-3 in his Angels debut.

Justin Grimm (2013-17) has signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers.

Rene Rivera (2017) has signed a minor league deal with the Mets. The portly catcher also has one of my all-time favorite nicknames in baseball: Moncho. Which loosely translates to “a fat guy who’s fun to be around.” Perfect fit.

Jason Hammel (2014-16) announced his retirement after a 13-year career. Hammel signed with the Cubs as a free agent in February of 2014. Four months later he was packaged with Jeff Samardzija and traded to Oakland on July 5 as part of the swap that brought Addison Russell to Chicago. Hammel re-signed with the Cubs that offseason and would go on to make 61 starts (105 ERA+) over the next two seasons in Chicago. Despite making 30 starts during the 2016 campaign, Hammel was left off the postseason roster, but rightfully earned a World Series ring nonetheless. Bon voyage, potato chip man.