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tempe-diablo-stadiumToday is the start of actual, semi-competitive baseball! The Cubs’ Cactus League slate kicks off with a visit to Tempe to take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Tempe.

Travis Wood, who is fighting for a spot at the back end of the Cubs’ rotation, opens things up for the Cubs. He had a rough go of it last Spring, so we’ll see how he looks this time around.

The game is 2pm CT, and is available on WGN Radio as well as MLB.com (audio). Len Kasper is subbing for Pat Hughes today on WGN, so don’t be upset if the familiar “Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!” sounds slightly less familiar – it’s all good.

This is your open thread for the game, so feel free to drop your commentary, thoughts, reactions, play-by-play, whatever, into the comments.

Today’s lineup:

1. Logan Watkins, 2B

2. Dave Sappelt, CF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Scott Hairston, RF

5. Luis Valbuena, 3B

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Brett Jackson, LF

8. Brent Lillibridge, SS

9. Darnell McDonald, DH

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    I’m excited to see if Jacksons new swing will hold up against “real” competition.

  • cubchymyst

    Really wish there was a different shortstop then Lillibridge in today.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Because… why?

      • cubchymyst

        Lillibridge likely has no future on this team outside of this year, so I’d rather hear about a player that does like Castro or one that might like Lake or Baez.

        • gocatsgo2003

          In one split-squad game of 37 spring training games? This is kind of the whole point of spring training games…

        • AB

          I agee cubchymuyst I was under the impressions a vitally important piece of ‘The New Cubs Way’ was to have our top position prospects worn out by July so that they understand how hard it is to play day baseball at Wrigley.

          • fromthemitten

            If he plays anything like his 2011 year he could play himself into a supersub role for a couple years.

    • cubchymyst

      Where there hell did Darnell McDonald come from?

      • Austin

        His Mom? /s

        This is the first game of the year, they are probably just puting anyone out there. Means nothing.

        • cubchymyst

          Am aware of that, I just don’t even remember seeing his name as a non-roster invitee.

          • funkster

            You read my mind.

          • Austin

            It was a long time ago, closer to the beginning of FA. I think Brett had mentioned him in an article (Not sure).

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Always.

  • gratefulled

    I think it just moved.

  • Chet Masterson

    I AM CONCERNED THAT CASTRO IS NOT PLAYING. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!?!?!

    I NOTICED HIS FRONT HAND HAD AN EXTRA HITCH DURING HIS SWINGS I SAW ON THE INTERNET. THIS MEANS MANY INTERESTING THINGS.

    /spastic messageboarder

    • Diamondrock

      This is so spot on that for the first two lines I was briefly convinced that it was real. I tip my hat to you, sir.

  • cubzfan23

    Hot Damn baseball is back!!! Along with renewed hope.

  • Die hard

    Rumor is he’s been asked to workout with minor leaguers at 3B for a few days

    • Martin

      Rumor: “something I made up to push a point that no one agrees with.”

      • TWC

        exACTLY

  • Boots

    Anyone have the Angels lineup?

  • Bilbo161

    Was hoping to see Lake in the line up. Guess he is pretty used to live games though with his Winter league action. I’m sure there are lots of others the team wants to take a good long look at.

  • Caleb

    Baseball!! Yeah baby!!

    And don’t even joke about pat Hughes. He’s my favorite part of the cubs organization!

  • Joel Edmonson

    Why would anyone be concerned about who is playing today?you know Castro is going to be the shortstop.

    • Die hard

      Why all so sold on Castro at SS when best for team at 3B?

      • MichiganGoat

        Why are you so sold on beating this horse after its dead?

        • fromthemitten

          He has the range to play SS that’s why he’s not at 3rd

      • DarthHater

        Why so sold on suggesting a dumb position change?

        • Whiteflag

          It’s how he solicits a response.

          • TWC

            At least he’s moved on from his “Castro to CF!” routine of last season.

  • adam

    When are they coming on wgn? I just checked and still nothing

    • Whiteflag

      I’m having the same issue. Although, there is a strong possibility I won’t be able to listen to the game. I bet they block the stream online. (WGN)

    • Rcleven

      Mlb prohibits rebroadcast on stream. Try MLB broadcast at the Cubs sight.
      Doubt they will charge during spring.

      • Rcleven

        Gameday

  • Rcleven

    Walks will kill you. Throw strikes Wood.

    • TWC

      Wood threw 15 pitches. 11 were strikes.

      I can’t complain about that.

      • Rcleven

        Settled down nicely after first few batters. Put the last 6 down in order. Walks still give up opportunity for free runs. And that is exactly what happened.
        16 pitches 11 for strikes in second inning. Set them down 1-2-3.

  • cubchymyst

    That homerun had a good sound over the radio.

    • Whiteflag

      I agree. I’m also enjoying this pairing of broadcasters.

      • wvcubsfan

        They don’t seem too happy with the umps so far

  • Justen

    HR for Valbuena as they are talking about him filling in for Stewart.

    • another JP

      I’m beginning to warm up to the idea of playing Valby and letting Stewart go his own merry way. Bring up a young guy like Vitters or Lake to sub at third and wait for someone to emerge thru trades or when Villanueva is ready.

  • wvcubsfan

    BJax with a three bagger

  • Rcleven

    Got half of them back.

  • another JP

    Jackson on a mission to make the opening season roster. Hope he keeps it up.

  • Finner

    I get the MLB.tv deal, so dont listen often. Kieth seems much better than i recall.

    • Whiteflag

      It’s only the second inning, but this a big improvement from last year. IMO

  • Rcleven

    Good 2nd for Wood.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Yeesh. Think Valbuena wants to make the most of Stewart’s absence?

    • Tommy

      I think Valbuena is taking the job this year. He’s been tearing it up in the winter league from what you’ve been saying and he doesn’t get hurt every other day!

  • cubchymyst

    Watkins must have been running the whole time to get to 3rd.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That’s Watkins. He doesn’t take plays off, ever. Fans are going to love this guy.

      • BWA

        We need a new scrappy guy to replace campana… maybe watkins will actually be good too

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I think Watkins will be better than Campana. I expect him to push Barney for the starting second base job next spring.

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    Is it on 720? Cuz when I checked, it wasn’t playing.

    • Whiteflag

      It’s suppose to be.

    • Tommy

      I don’t think WGNradio plays the Cubs games online. I think you have to listen to them on an actual radio (could be wrong, I haven’t verified this).

      • Whiteflag

        You are right. Radio 720 or mlb.com (19.99 yr.)

      • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

        I think you’re right. I tried online and using the Tune-In application and neither were playing the game. Then I tried in my car and it was playing the game. I’m excited to hear they’re winning 6-2, hopefully Brett Jacksons junk will be okay.

  • Rcleven

    Yea! Cubs get that runner on third in with less than two outs.

  • cubchymyst

    Damn, Jackson with 2 triples today. I like all of the extra base hits so far.

  • Cubz99

    Jackson is going to make things interesting.

  • Whiteflag

    Is to early to suggest B. Jackson as MVP?

    • Rcleven

      No that’s Rizzo. Just saving it for the season.

      • cubchymyst

        If Castro make a step forward offensively he could be in the running as well

        • Rcleven

          Wouldn’t that be something.

  • Whiteflag

    Oh okay. I’m hoping they end up Co-MVPs.

  • wingit

    I signed up with MLB.com audio last year and again this year. It’s only 19.99 for entire year and you get all the spring training games as well. Now I can listen to the day games while sitting at my desk at work.

    • Patrick G

      Do you have mlb.tv? I was thinking about getting it but don’t know anything about it. Thinking of waiting 1 more year when more of a competitive team will be playing

      • Anonifan

        If you have a high speed internet connection MLB.TV is really nice. I stream it directly to a Samsung Blu-Ray, and with my 20mb connection it is like high def TV. Some things to keep in mind though: Slower connection speeds will cause it to suck, bad. Games are blacked out live locally, so if you are in the Chicagoland area you won’t be able to watch live games. National games are also blacked out. I work nights so I’m rarely watching the games live, and the archived games have DVR functionality. You can watch any game that you missed, from anytime in the year, and years past. I like to go back and watch games that I was at from time to time. Its still a tad bit glitchy, but most of the problems have been worked out. It streams with less reliability and quality than say Netflix or Hulu, but if you have a good internet connection you will not notice. It is not going to be worth what they want for Spring Training though. I have my account deactivated, and will reactivate it during the regular season. If you go monthly you can watch for as long as the Cubs are competitive and then cancel it once they are not, and this year you will probably save over the yearly subscription.

      • wingit

        No because I can’t sit at work and watch tv on my laptop but I can listen to it with my earbuds in. Also, I live in the suburbs so I get all of the televised games and only needed something for the day games while at work. The mlb.tv is much more pricey than the audio package.

  • OCCubFan
    • Die hard

      Explains core of dispute – the beer bucks- no beer and no Rooftoppers and no dispute- better make deal before marijuana made legal and fans roll their own and ultimately ignore the game and the beer- hypocritical to slam steroids and promote intoxication

      • davidalanu

        Do you even believe the things you post, or do you just like getting a reaction? As my grand-pappy used to say, you’re about a half a bubble off center, aintcha?

  • Rcleven

    McNutt had good showing 18 pitches 12 for strikes.
    Keep the ball over the plate.

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