The Los Angeles Angels host the Chicago Cubs at 10 ET on ESPN2, and 2015 National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the Cubs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, reigning Cy Young winners are 32-20 (.640) in 77 Opening Day starts.
En route to the award, Arrieta didn’t allow an earned run in nine of his final 12 regular-season starts last season. He enters Monday’s matchup with a streak of 13 consecutive starts in which he allowed two or fewer earned runs. He was 11-0 with a 0.57 ERA (6 ER in 94 1/3 IP) in those starts.
Arrieta will look to notch win number 33 for the Cy club, but the team he’s facing has been a foe in the past. Arrieta has three career starts against the Angels, all while a member of the Orioles. In his previous two, both in 2012, he lasted 4⅓ innings or less and surrendered at least five runs. What’s more, both starts were at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Arrieta's 12.38 ERA there is his worst at any ballpark he has visited at least twice.
However, Arrieta has prior success on Opening Day, albeit in a small sample. In his only other Opening Day start, Arrieta threw seven scoreless, two-hit innings at Camden Yards against the Twins.
Despite his struggles against the Angels, Arrieta has been good against the American League since he joined the National. Since his first full season in Chicago in 2014, his 2.66 ERA in interleague play is fourth among qualified NL starters.
The Cubs are .543 all time on Opening Day, but they’ve lost seven of their past nine openers. They went 4-5 in games played in California last season.
The Angels are .545 on Opening Day and have won nine of their past 12. They’ll be led by Garrett Richards, who is making his first Opening Day start. Jered Weaver made the past six Opening Day starts for the Halos.
After suffering a torn left patellar tendon in August of his breakout campaign in 2014, Richards posted his first full season as a starter in 2015. He led all Angels starters with 207⅓ IP and 176 strikeouts. He was the only hurler on the squad to record double-digit wins (15).
Richards, like his counterpart, has excelled in interleague starts. His 1.09 ERA in interleague starts since 2014 is the best among qualified starters. Richards has two career innings pitched against the Cubs and no starts. Both frames were scoreless.