Friday, April 1, 2011
Opening Day trivia: See if you can name the following players who only started on Opening Day exactly one time in their Cubs careers (answers in the comments section):
(1) Pitcher 1999
(2) Catcher 2003
(3) First base 2002
(4) Second base 2002
(5) Third base 2003
(6) Shortstop 2007
(7) Left field 2001
(8) Center field 2008
(9) Right field 2005
Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.
Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.
That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.
Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.
Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.
The Chicago Bears are less than one month from the start of training camp, but the praise for general manager Ryan Pace's offseason continues to pour in.
Pace and the Bears received an A for their offseason -- the best grade in the NFC North -- from Sports Illustrated. A big part of the perfect score was the overhaul at wide receiver.
Chicago had one of the weakest receiving groups in the NFL last season—the team ranked dead last in passing yards per game (175.7)—so that position was clearly an area of focus this offseason for general manager Ryan Pace. The additions of Allen Robinson from Jacksonville, Taylor Gabriel from Atlanta and Anthony Miller via the draft will boost a stagnant group, assuming Robinson returns fully healthy from last September’s ACL tear. If 2015 first-round pick Kevin White can stay healthy for a full season for the first time in his ill-fated career, it’s an added bonus.
Much is expected from the revamped group of pass-catchers even though none of them have an overwhelming history of production. Robinson had a dominant season in 2015 (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns), but his last two seasons involved mediocre production in 2016 and a torn ACL in Week 1 last year. Gabriel's never topped more than 621 yards in a season and tight end Trey Burton has been a backup his whole career. Miller has yet to play a snap in the NFL and White, now entering his fourth season, is still looking for his first touchdown catch.
Mitch Trubisky has a lot of work to do once training camp kicks off. Not only must he master coach Matt Nagy's offense, but he must do so while building chemistry with all of his new receivers. Growing pains will happen, but the upside and expectations for the Bears in 2018 are higher than they've been in many years, and it's all because of a great offseason had by the front office.