The Spring Cubs are losers of six straight, and they’ve got two chances to end that losing streak today. Half of the team stays in Mesa to take on the White Sox, and the other half stays out in Las Vegas to play the Rangers again.

Both games are at 3:05 CT, though rain is threatening to muck up that plan in Mesa. That game is supposed to be broadcast (audio) on as a freebie to everyone, so it would be a bummer to lose it. The Vegas game will be available on MLB.TV.

Chris Volstad starts for the Cubs against the Rangers, and he’s got a chance to cement himself into the rotation with another couple solid outings. Casey Coleman is scheduled to start for the Cubs against the White Sox, though he’s no longer a serious threat to win a rotation spot. Other pitchers expected to get some action today include Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Lendy Castillo, and Andy Sonnanstine, among others.

Today’s lineup against the Rangers (which hints at Soriano/LaHair going 4/5, and thus Castro and someone else (Marlon Byrd?) going 2/3):

1. Reed Johnson, LF

2. Junior Lake, SS

3. Blake DeWitt, 2B

4. Alfonso Soriano, DH

5. Bryan LaHair, 1B

6. Joe Mather, 3B

7. Steve Clevenger, C

8. Dave Sappelt, RF

9. James Adduci, CF

Today’s lineup against the White Sox (Tony Campana finally draws a start):

1. David DeJesus, DH

2. Marlon Byrd, CF

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Geovany Soto, C

6. Jeff Baker, LF

7. Josh Vitters, 3B

8. Alfredo Amezaga, 2B

9. Tony Campana, RF

  • Cliffy

    Brett, the Vegas game is also available on Direct TV channel 676 Rangers feed on Fox Southwest.

    • Brett

      Forgot to mention that – thanks, Cliffy.

    • Eric

      thank you cliffy.

  • Turn Two

    All the Barney haters- last years first half rookie of the year is 8 for 19 and still clutch with 7 rbis. If he didn’t wear down physically he would have been the leading candidate for the rookie of the year. This year he is bulked up and ready for the long haul, love the middle of the infield.

    • Brittney

      Turn Two I am with you, I think Barney is going to do better this year. both him and castro improving on their D and both will show more power. I am excited for both of them.

    • Brett

      I don’t know a single person who hates Darwin Barney. Not a single one.

      • cooper

        I love the hustle and work ethic, but you can only go so far with “scrappy” players. He plays the game right, but has a low ceiling.

        • Eric

          I think his defensive ceiling is quite high, but shake a tree and gloves will fall out – we need bats!

    • DocWimsey

      As others write, it has nothing to do with people hating Barney. However, Barney didn’t have a good first half: he had a good first quarter. He was not clutch: his high BAwRiSP was due to a lot of luck, and many of his “clutch” hits failed to drive in runs because they were infield hits or bloops.

      It’s more that “lovers” making the same mistake that they made with Colvin: they treat the exception as the rule and assume that the rule was bad luck.

      But I’m sure he’s a swell fellow and all of that…..

      • Chaz

        I agree. I believe he had a good April and then fell off a cliff sometime in may…early May

        • DocWimsey

          Barney’s April was not even “good” so much as it was the upper end of the variation we expect. That is, if we assume that Barney actually was a 0.276 hitter, then we expect:
          1. half of his months to have better BA’s (we saw 2 better and one at 0.276),
          2. one month as good as his April;
          3. two months as bad as his September or June.
          That’s assuming a “constant” process. However, even if Barney himself is a 0.276 hitter, then it’s going to vary month-to-month based on the level of competition, ball-park factors, weather conditions, etc. That makes it even less necessary to explain Barney as having a “hot” start: insofar as his performance shows, April Barney and September Barney both were Barney.

  • art

    i’ve also been a Barney fan from day one. at worse i felt he could be a decent back-up. defense wins and last yr i felt he was the best of what they had to start. having said that, i don’t see him long term unless Lake plays 3B. IMO.

    • DocWimsey

      The part of baseball defense that wins is pitching, not fielding: after all, the reigning WS champs were among the worst-fielding NL teams last year. As Earl Weaver discovered multiple decades ago, a substandard glove with a plus bat nets more runs than a substandard bat with a plus glove. And it does not matter how good the gloves are: if the pitching is bad, then the team is going to give up a lot of runs.

      • art

        Doc, meant pitching and defense win most of the time. a bad defense hurts good pitching most of the time. most baseball people will tell you that. every now and than a team like the Cardinals win. those things happen. Earl said many things, he also had good pitching, hitters, and fielders.

        i like most guys on here played ball, i believe most will tell you pitching and defense win most of the time. IMO.

  • cooper

    Well, Volstad has given up a few well hit balls, but has looked pretty composed.

  • MichiganGoat

    Well Campy’s 0-fer is over, he must getting a starting job now!

  • cooper

    Nice tater from Mather!

  • Bric

    LaHair’s getting rooked and so is the Jesus. You can’t give up two corner positions unless you’re already satisfied with 75 wins tops. Right now the Cubs would be better off putting Byrd in right and starting Jackson, or sending laHair back down and giving Rizzo a shot. Yes Goat, the sky is falling. You can get away with questions at one run producing position but not two.

    But wait- it’s just spring training. These guys are trying different things and they’ll be ready to flip the switch opening day. Just like Fuk and Jeromy Burnitz and Carlos Pena and… Sorry, I was channeling Hendry again.

  • ty

    Impressed by Volstad today. Throws a real heavy ball-thuds catchers mitt and keeps it down. Considering his height is athletic around mound. Did hang a few pitches but just cruised through this outing. Park did not sell out today–located short drive from strip-worst concession stands in all of baseball. So save your money for great food downtown. What happened in Mesa today?

  • Kevin

    Different topic…………….. Do you think the Cubs have any plans to move Addison Street to the south and Clark Street to the west so there will be
    More room to rebuild Wrigley Field. Brett please throw this topic out there and read all the responses. Did buying the McDonalds across the street have anything to do with this?

    • ThereWillBeCubs

      where will they put the streets?

  • Kevin

    Property would have to be purchased to alter Addison & Clark Streets. This is by no means a cheap proposition but one that will allow enough space to rebuild Wrigley Field with enough space.

  • Kevin

    Rebuild from scratch and do it the right way. Keep the bleachers and replace everything else. The Cubs should buy all the houses that have rooftops and put jumbo scoreboards in both left and right field above all the rooftop seats. Also play hard ball with Wrigleyville to allow more night games.