minute maid parkIf a Spring Training game is a “fake” game, but still counts toward the standings in a league (the Cactus League), what do you call an “exhibition” game that doesn’t even count as a “fake” game? A tree falling in the woods?

Whatever you call it, that’s what the Cubs and Astros are doing tonight in Houston – and again tomorrow – since the Cubs don’t visit Houston this year, now that they’ve moved to the AL West. I reckon these two games were a couple of new Astros’ ownership’s many conditions to accepting that move, since they would otherwise have taken a pretty fair hit at the gates. Everyone likes to host the Cubs, especially if it’s the only time they’re coming to town all year.

This game is actually MLB.tv’s free game of the day, so you can watch online for free if you don’t have Friday night plans. (Now that I’ve looked at the MLB.tv schedule, it looks like every game this evening is the “free game of the day,” which, like, isn’t what that phrase means. In any event, you can watch for free, and that’s swell.)



Edwin Jackson starts for the Cubs before taking the ball second in the rotation to start the year. Don’t expect him to throw more than 5o to 60 pitches.

The lineup features most of the Cubs’ regulars, who will probably play just a couple innings before giving way to the youngsters:

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Luis Valbuena, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Dioner Navarro, DH




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