One of the greatest days of the whole year is finally here — Opening Day of the baseball season. This year the Pittsburgh Pirates will be at home for their opener and will take on the Chicago Cubs. The pitching matchup will be Jeff Samardzija versus A.J. Burnett.
This game could very well wind up being a pitcher’s duel. If the 2012 numbers are any indication, both teams might have a hard time getting any offense going.
Samardzija pitched against Pittsburgh twice last season and was 2-0. In 17 innings pitched, he allowed just two earned runs and had 14 strikeouts. On July 23, he allowed just one hit over eight innings. On the year, he was 9-13 with an earned run average of 3.81. He averaged just over one strikeout per inning.
Burnett faced the Cubs three times last year. He did get lit up a bit in his last outing against them, giving up three earned runs in five innings. In July, he had a complete game one-hitter in which he struck out eight hitters. Overall, he had a 1.40 ERA against the Cubs last year.
It will be the first time either pitcher has made an Opening Day start, so nerves could play a role. Who could blame them? If hitters are going to get to these two pitchers, they will likely have to do it early. Once both hurlers settle down, the runs will be few and far between. Now all we need is to hear the two most beautiful words in sports: play ball.