Cubs to face Strasburg on Opening Day


Cubs to face Strasburg on Opening Day

The Cubs will open the 2012 season against Stephen Strasburg, Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced Wednesday. Strasburg, 23, has only thrown 92 innings at the major-league level, but in those he has a 2.54 ERA and a 6.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's never faced the Cubs in 17 career starts.

In his career, Strasburg's fastball has averaged a velocity of just under 97 miles per hour. For reference, his fastball is, on average, 1.7 miles per hour faster than the average Justin Verlander fastball and 3.4 miles per hour faster than Matt Garza's heater, per Fangraphs. And he knows how to use that pitch -- only Cliff Lee and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey have had more success with their fastballs since 2010 than Strasburg.

Johnson also announced that lefty Gio Gonzalez will start the second game of Washington's three-game set to open the season at Wrigley Field. The third game will go to either Edwin Jackson or Jordan Zimmermann.

Joe Maddon's custom Cubs Jeep is being raffled off for charity

Joe Maddon's custom Cubs Jeep is being raffled off for charity

Joe Maddon currently has a custom Cubs-themed Jeep 4x4 that has a number of baseball and Cubs themed alterations. One lucky Cubs fan will be able to win the car in a raffle to support charities.

The blue Jeep features a red grille, Rawlings branded seats, a bat for a gear shifter and a Sistine Chapel-style Cubs ceiling. Fields Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM in Glenview donated the vehicle

To enter the raffle tickets can be purchased at Binny's Chicago stores, the Edgebrook Ace Hardware, the Misericordia Home and the Cubs offices on 3721 N. Clark St. during normal business hours. Each ticket will cost $100 and a maximum of 3,000 will be sold. The winning ticket will be drawn within 30 days of the Cubs' final postseason game. 

All the money goes to charity and Maddon and his wife, Jaye, will choose the charities to support.

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