The Chicago Cubs have made some of their first key roster decisions regarding the 2012 MLB season, announcing on Friday that the team will start SP Ryan Dempster on Opening Day 2012:
#Cubs name Ryan Dempster Opening Day starter.— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) March 23, 2012
Dempster started opening day in 2011 as well and has pitched 200 or more innings in each of the last four seasons. In 2011, he had another strong season, pitching 202.1 innings with a 3.91 FIP. Some bad luck through the early half of the season inflated his 2011 ERA (4.80), but the Cubs front office had confidence he can return to his sub-4.00 ERAs.
By moving Dempster to the No. 1 slot, SP Matt Garza will get the third spot by default. Garza had a career year in 2011 (3.32 ERA, 2.95 FIP), but has been less consistent over the last three years, as his strikeout rates have fluctuated dangerously despite otherwise solid ERAs.
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