Today the Chicago Cubs welcome the Seattle Mariners to Hohokam Park, for their fifth game of Spring Training. The Cubs are an even 2-2 on the Spring.

We’ll finally get to see (well, hear, as the case may be) big starter Chris Volstad in a game, acquired this Winter for Carlos Zambrano. Volstad, 25, is quietly becoming a favorite of pitching coach Chris Bosio, but he faces a stiff rotation competition (especially now with Jeff Samardzija growing rapidly on manager Dale Sveum). Kerry Wood (Spring debut), Carlos Marmol, and Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo may also see action today.

The game is at 2:05 CT, and will be broadcast (radio-style) on, featuring Len Kasper.

The lineup features a number of regulars, particularly at the top – in fact, the top five are all starters in a plausible order for Opening Day (just plausible):

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Marlon Byrd, CF

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Ian Stewart, 3B

5. Alfonso Soriano, LF

6. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

7. Jeff Baker, 2B

8. Reed Johnson, DH

9. Welington Castillo, C

  • Luke

    Looking forward to hearing what Lendy Castillo can do.  I’m hoping the Cubs can hang on to him, because I suspect I like what he’ll be three years from now.  Unless they work a trade with Philly, though, I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

    • Brett

      All it takes is 90 days stashed away at the back of the pen, and then a mysterious injury…

  • terencem

    Considering the Cubs lost Pena and Ramirez, if they open the season with 3 players at the top of the lineup who could have .OBPs over .340, that’s not so bad.

  • MaxM1908

    I actually like that line-up. I’m still skeptical whether Stewart can hit for power, but if he does have a bounce back year, I like the idea of LaHair, Stewart, and Soriano in the middle of the lineup following some above average OBP guys. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs keep up their scoring frenzy today. I think they will.

    • EQ76

      I think Stewart’s a good #7 hitter. 20 & 22 HR’s at Coors field may only be 15 at Wrigley.

      • Kyle

        How many Wrigley home runs does zero translate to?

        • Tobin

          I think 15.

        • hardtop

          100 GIDP?

        • ferrets_bueller

          I love Ian Stewart.

  • Chaz

    I think they’ll keep up their scoring frenzy then like clock work average 2-3 runs per game in April baseball. Gotta love the cold! Glad I’m in FL, it’s a nice 80 degrees

  • jp

    It’s only game 4 but i think i’d like to see what BJax can do in 4 at bats than what soriano can. Hopefully we’re just hoping he stays hot to be able to shop him out of town, otherwise why is he plaing every day?

  • Gene

    Just wish they could at least be competitive this year. Does not seem like long ago all cubs fans were asking to get rid of the speedsters and picking up more power hitters. NOw it looks like they are trying to get more speed and build from there. Just hope the cubs can play small ball and stay at least out of the bottom half.

    • DocWimsey

      “Just hope the cubs can play small ball and stay at least out of the bottom half.”

      That borders on a contradictory request: the few “small ball” teams out there tend to be on the bottom half. (And, no, the Rays really are not a small ball team: that’s just their press clippings; indeed, they were 30th in MLB in singles last year!)

      Again, assuming that Theo’s philosophy remains the same as it was in Boston, the organizational philosophy of the Cubs is going to shift away from “get him on, get him over, get him in” to “get him on, get him on, keep the line moving, get him on, too.”

      • Gene

        I understand but tell me where in the world the power is going to come from. Campana, reed johnson or wait maybe from Barney… Ok I got it now Stewart who could not muster more than 25 in COLORADO. or lahair maybe. So it is going to have to be small ball or nothing and I hate to think about the nothing thing because we had enough of that last year.

        • DocWimsey

          Ah, there is the difference. I subscribe to the Earl Weaver school of thought: small ball is not an alternative to not scoring, but instead something that encourages not scoring.

  • Cerambam

    So well be able to watch this game for free on You don’t need mlbtv subscription or anything? I just want me some beisssssboll

  • ty

    Inside the stadium down the left field line is this big trailer with a family from Iowa offering pork cutlet lunches for about 8 dollars. They start cooking this hand sized cutlet when you order with crinkle potatoes and cold drinks. Top the sandwich with pickles and lettuce and this becomes an annual delight. The lines are long but everbody talks baseball while waiting. Is this commonly sold in Iowa because never see this sandwich anyplace? Sorry for the interuption so back to baseball.

    • butlerdawgs

      It is a very common sandwich in Iowa. Relative of the tasty pork tenderloin sandwiches we love so much here in Indiana.

      • Luke

        The pork tenderloins in Indiana are amazing.  I’ve lived in six different states now, and nothing comes remotely close.  Even in Illinois they just aren’t the same.

      • Mike Foster

        Actually we spent Tuesday evening slicing a pork loin, pounding out and breading our own tenderloins to freeze and eat at a later date, while watching our first of the season game on MLBTV (finally). One of the things I miss about the Midwest, that plus Maid-rites.

    • hardtop

      Man, lots of fans from Indiana. Despite growing up nearby, the only thing I know about Indiana is the Jackson 5 and Kurt Vonnegut are from there… And now I guess I know that they have tastier than average pigs.

  • Mike Foster

    Brett, can you make the twitching ad go away! Pleeeeeeezzzzzzzz! God I hate those things.

  • ty

    After seeing Ian Stewart look rather in lethargic in practice I had dissed him a bit–wife saw him in game couple days ago and said I was all wrong andwent into detail on plays he had made–very athletic she commented. She also related to me that the stadium just roars even when Campano hits an easy out to 2nd and flies down the line. She said he is a rock star with fans.

  • HoustonTransplant

    Don’t mind that first half of the lineup at all, actually. Byrd isn’t doing much for me there, but I don’t know if there’s a blatantly better option. Go, Cubs!

  • Katie

    Finally got off my ass and got the MLB app so I’m listening to it on my iPhone right now.

    • TWC

      Yeah, it ain’t Pat Hughes today, but at least it’s the Cubs.

      • Andy

        Gotta love Spring Training audio…are they broadcasting from a bar?

      • Katie

        Exactly. Been missing Pat’s voice something fierce.

    • DocWimsey

      There was no need to get off of your glutei to do that!

  • Kyle

    Alfonso soooooriannooooo!

  • Jp

    So soriano is doing his best to make room in a crowded outfield this spring. Sure hrs leading the world in homers right now.

  • Tonycampanathebasethief

    Soriani has been destroying the ball his trade value looks like it could get us a good haul back if he keeps this up!

    • DocWimsey

      Only if there is a GM dumb enough to go by spring training numbers!

      Seriously, given that Vlad and Mags still are out there for the signing, and given that Abreu is on the market, Sori doesn’t have much value right now.

  • Justin Jabs

    Is Esmalin Caridad in camp? He’s deep in the minors on my fantasy team and I’m trying to figure out whether I should keep him or not.

    • Luke

      I’d cut him.  Caridad fell clear off the map last season.  37 innings in Iowa, WHIP of 2.108.  Even in the PCL, that’s a horrible number.

      If you’re looking for a speculative young reliever to replace him with, see if Rafael Dolis is available.

  • DocWimsey

    How many grounders did Volstad get? Enough to merit a near-beer?

  • JustSwain

    So Volstad Rocked in his first appearance, meanwhile, Big Z gave up 3 runs in 1.1 innings on 3 BB and 4 strikeouts. So far that trade is working out.

  • North Side Irish

    Nice to see Marmol is in mid-season form already. 2 H, HBP, 1 R, and a blown lead so far.

    Struggling with his slider today, but he was actually pretty good last time out.

    • North Side Irish

      and now a three run HR off another slider…eek.

      • Cheryl

        Too bad Marmol can’t be sent to the minors until he gets himself straightened out.

        • Deer

          It might be a good thing for the staff to see a Marmol blow up first hand. I’m sure they will look at the tape and figure out what went wrong later today. The previous regime just shrugged and hoped for better luck.

  • czechxican

    The Marmol nosedive. He’s not fooling anyone anymore

    • Brett

      Spring Training.

  • Kyle

    A pitcher who relies on breaking stuff getting hit hard in the thin March Arizona air?

    Oh noes! That never happens!

  • die hard

    Marmol for Soria trade even up to give each a fresh start may be how to resolve problems for both clubs.