WOW — Manager Mike Quade Names Ryan Dempster Opening Day Starter — Wrigley Field 2/21/11

Posted on 21 February 2011 by Lou

WOW — guess we’ll find out very quickly whether or not Carlos Zambrano has truly put his “anger issues” behind him.  Manager Mike Quade has named Ryan Dempster his opening day starter on Friday April 1st against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Zambrano – who had made 6 consecutive opening day starts for the Cubs – will be the No. 2 starter on Saturday and Matt Garza will be the 3rd starter on Sunday to close out the series against the Pirates.  Dempster was honored to be named the opening day starter, especially since it would take place at home at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in front of the home crowd – “It’s going to be exciting.  It’s going to be more nerves of anxiousness than nerves of being nervous… He [Zambrano] said he was happy for me, and that I deserved it.  That’s somebody that I look up to, someone who goes out and competes as hard as anybody I’ve been around.  So it meant a lot to hear something like that from him.”

Quade said he was looking ahead when he decided to go with Zambrano #2.  The Cubs open the road part of the schedule on Friday April 8th in Milwaukee.  By pitching Zambrano on Saturday or Sunday in the opening home series, that lines up Zambrano to make a start against the Brewers at Miller Park.  Zambrano has had a TON of success pitching in Milwaukee, even throwing a no-hitter there against the Houston Astros back in 2009.

Interesting move by Quade.  This guy definitely is out to show that he is running the team and that he is going to make his own decisions.  It would have been easy to tab Big Z with the opening day start, especially the way that he closed out his 2010 season by going 8-0 in his final 11 starts.  But Zambrano has to show he is out to perform at a high level again in 2011.  It’s very similar to when Quade sent stud shortstop Starlin Castro a message late last season when Quade felt like Castro wasn’t giving his all and keeping his head in the game at all times.  Quade benched Castro for 2 games and made it clear that everyone is responsible and accountable on the field, even superstars.  Quade seems to have the respect and confidence of his players and staff, so it will be interesting to see how the team responds right from the get-go during the 2011 MLB schedule…

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