It's been known for some time now that the Cubs will open the regular season in Cincinnati for the third time in five years beginning April 3. The Cubs won the last time they opened at Great American Ballpark, 7-4, in 2004, but lost prior to that in the season opener of 2002, 5-4, at old Riverfront Stadium. They'll play a brief two-game series with the Reds with an off day sandwiched in between to kick off 2006. All-time on Opening Day, the Cubs are 72-56-1.
Coming to Wrigley Field for the Cubs' home opener (the Cubs have opened the regular season at home only once since 1997) will be the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs and Cardinals will play 19 times with the final series set for Aug. 25-27 at the new Busch Stadium. Nine of those games will be played at Busch; 10 at Wrigley. The Cubs were 10-6 against the Cardinals this past year. All-time in home openers at Wrigley, the Cubs are 49-40-1.
Also within the division, the Cubs will face Houston 15 times; Milwaukee 16 times; Pittsburgh 15 times; and the Reds 19 times. The Cubs finished with a winning mark against two of those four teams in 2005.
Lastly, the season will end Oct. 1 with the finale of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley. In turn, the Cubs will travel to Coors Field for a three-game series Aug. 11-13. The Cubs have ended their regular season at home all but once since ‘01.
Rusch Back for ‘06
Left-hander Glendon Rusch was signed Monday to a two-year deal worth $6 million. Soon to be 31 in November, Rusch was 9-8 with a 4.52 ERA in 46 games, including 19 starts, last season.
Lee, Barrett Win Awards
Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett were both given "Silver Slugger" awards for their efforts in ‘05 Monday. Lee hit .335 in 158 games, slugging 46 home runs and tallying 107 RBIs in an MVP-calibur season. Barrett hit .276 in 133 games as the Cubs' catcher. He hit 16 homers and drove in 61 runs. "Silver Slugger" awards are given to top offensive performers at each position by managers and coaches.