Opening Series Preview: Brewers @ Cubs
Monday, 3/31, 2008, 1:20 p.m. CT: Sheets (0-0, 0.00) vs. Zambrano (0-0, 0.00)
Wednseday, 4/02, 2008, 1:20 p.m. CT: Suppan (0-0, 0.00) vs. Ted Lilly (0-0, 0.00)
Thursday, 4/03, 2008, 1:20 p.m. CT: Bush (0-0, 0.00) vs. Ryan Dempster (0-0, 0.00)
Last year: Sheets was 2-0, 2.65 at Wrigley last year, fanning 14 Cubs over 17 IP, while Suppan was 1-0, 1.29 and Bush was 0-1, 6.00. Zambrano was 6-9, 4.96 against all teams at home.
Things to watch for:
1. How does Cubs' rookie Kosuke Fukudome fit in with the Cubs, and how great will his impact be in driving in runs, as well as the field?
2. On Thursday, Ryan Dempster makes his first start since 2005, having been a reliever for the past two plus seasons...will he be able to stand the rigors of pitching 5+ innings?
3. How will the re-tooled Brewers' bullpen, including closer Eric Gagne in his return to the National League, do against the hard hitting Cubs?
4. How will Brewers' Bill Hall and Ryan Braun adjust to their new positions?
5. Will Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder continue their success from 2007 at the plate, despite being flip-flopped in the batting order? Will righties pinch around Fielder to get to the right-handed Braun?
Skipper Ned Yost will no doubt impress upon his club how important it is to win at least two of these three games against division rival Chicago, so as to start the season on the right foot. Monday will provide us with our first clues.