The Chicago Cubs open the 2011 regular season on April 1st at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs have a lot of questions to answer before that Friday afternoon, which, knowing Wrigley in April, will presumably be cold and rainy.
The team's rotation beyond the top three starters is up for grabs, the bench is unsettled and the bullpen has its own share of competition. In addition to handling those issues, manager Mike Quade must decide who his starters are at second base and in right field.
As far as the lineup goes, a couple things are set. Aramis Ramirez is entrenched in the lineup as the cleanup hitter, and sophomore shortstop Starlin Castro will likely return to the two-hole. The rest of the lineup, especially the leadoff spot, is still under construction.
Pirates starter Paul Maholm is in the cards to face Chicago on Opening Day, and his left-handed delivery would certainly impact Quade's lineup. Let's take a look at what that lineup would be as the Cubs face a southpaw to open the season.