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tempe-diablo-stadiumThe Cubs travel to Tempe to take on the Angels this afternoon in the second game of the Cactus League season. Chris Rusin gets the start as he battles for the 5th spot in the rotation, assuming (and I am now assuming) Jake Arrieta won’t be ready in time for the start of the season. One of the men he’s battling, James McDonald, is scheduled to follow Rusin today.

Today’s game is available via audio on WGN Radio (Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer) and Cubs.com, and you can watch on MLB.tv if you’ve got that.

… and you might want to watch if you’re able, because Javier Baez will be starting at shortstop.

The lineup:

  1. Chris Coghlan, DH
  2. Darwin Barney, 2B
  3. Ryan Sweeney, CF
  4. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  5. Donnie Murphy, 3B
  6. Casper Wells, LF
  7. Javier Baez, SS
  8. George Kottaras, C
  9. Chris Valaika, 1B

Carrie Muskat says that Kris Bryant is on the travel roster for today, by the way, so he might see some action.

  • ssckelley

    Well McDonald is not fairing any better…he just gave up a grand slam to Trout.

    • willis

      We need to hope that Arrieta shoulder issue goes bye bye quickly. If these two jokers keep sucking (which would be my guess) at least the cubs have Villanueva who they know can come in and give a few starts early until Arrieta is ready.

      • ssckelley

        I am not too worried about Rusin, it takes junk ball pitchers a while to find their locations.

  • cubmig

    …..wow…….9-1 Angels. If this ST continues as it’s going, RR shouldn’t have too much trouble deciding which players go north……shit.

  • Jon

    Should have signed UIbaldo instead of dumpster diving…..

    • Chad

      Yep, that would have saved the season.

  • Funn Dave

    This is starting to feel like one of those innings that seem like they will never end.

  • Required

    Definitely have some potential issues with the whole major league pitching thing.

    • willis

      Obviously going to take some time to see how bad it really is, but I hate the fact Arrieta can’t be out there right now. And it’s going to expose the weakness of the filth the Cubs have to fill the void other than Villanueva who I hope gets the nod. If Arrieta can be back by the end of April, I believe Villanueva will perform ok in that 5th spot the first month.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    Wow so much over reaction for such a meaningless game.

    • ssckelley

      We getting in shape too Goat!!!!!! :D

      • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

        Hanging conclusions, meatball run-on sentences, poor locating of modifiers, in the dirt ad homs…it’s the criticizing baseball fan’s spring training..

    • BlameHendry

      the game is meaningless. The individual performances are not.

      Hey Theo, remind me why you gave McDonald a guaranteed major league contract? -.-

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        It’s the second flipping ST who the fark cares?

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          ***game***

      • Q-Ball

        As a note, McDonald’s contract is only partially guaranteed, as he is in arb; Cubs owe him just 45 days termination pay if he is cut before opening day; that’s peanuts.

    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

      Naw..at least I hope not.

      Though I think MacDonald has a lot of work to do…maybe too much.

      • willis

        Yeah that signing still has me head scratching.

        • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

          I guess the thinking was 29, he’s has some average success. But no endurance in his pitching – 31 starts = 171 innings. He’ll tax a bullpen with short outings.

          • Edwin

            This year might be an interesting season to try out the “bullpen as a starter” strategy.

            • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

              6 man rotation….while we are B.S. ing ; )

      • Jon

        While it’s good the contract allows them to cut ties with McDonald, the circumstances that lead to that would kind of suck. I’m assuming they cut him if he blows this ST. With Arrieta possibly missing the season you would either need Rusin or McDonald to show something in ST, or stretch Villenuiva out. Otherwise the back end of the rotation is a bit dicey. Not that it matters, this team was designed to tank in 2014.

        • willis

          Possibly missing the season? I must have missed where that was a worry…that’s no bueno to hear. I really hope not, because the best of the options is Villanueva and as much as I like him, I’m not sure he’s a full season starter.

          • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

            Hendricks might get up by mid-May…don’t see he needs that much time in AAA (5-8 starts). Might not even take that long..if the injuries are there.

            • willis

              Yeah if he shows well in AAA he may be the play by May 1 if Arrieta is indeed out for awhile.

    • another JP

      Not only a meaningless game, but with many guys that won’t be going to Chicago after ST.

    • Funn Dave

      Dude. What did you expect? Is this your first rodeo?

  • Jon

    I really can’t believe someone is already criticizing Renteria :)

    I do feel really awful for the guy. He’s so positive, but deep down he has to know it’s going to be tough sledding with the worst roster in the NL.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Yes you can put lipstick on a pig, but it still smells like bacon. I think Renteria gets judged by the progress of guys like Castro and Lake. If this team can win more than 70 games with this schedule and in this division, then pope Francis will be in Chicago to give Renteria sainthood.

      • http://thenewenthusiast.com/ dw8

        Bacon smells delicious!

      • Drew7

        Not sure where you’re from, Woody, but a pig ain’t smelling like bacon – lipstick or not. :)

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Mayhaps he is from Malapropia?

  • itzscott

    For all you dudes getting down on me for taking these games too seriously….

    Look, I want to win.

    I think the best way to have a chance of doing that is by starting out with the players that are likely to start…. like all the other teams do….. and THEN start bringing in the guys that are likely cuts.

    If the likely cuts do well against the other team’s likely cuts, well THEN it makes sense to see what these players can do against the other team’s starters.

    But you don’t instill confidence in anyone, other then your opponent, by throwing someone to the wolves to begin with when these guys were known to be essentially a thick, juicy steak to wolves to begin with.

    You don’t set up people to fail from the get go.

    That’s all I’m saying!

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Way way too early to give a shit about anything, got to pace yourself because if you are this frustrated now the season will kill you.

  • jonred

    I know this is spring training, but this is brutal, even by Cubs standards. Does anyone know who are the top 3 prospects in the 2015 draft, because I’m pretty certain we will have the first pick.

    • willis

      Let’s hope they are pitchers.

    • Cyranojoe

      … Based on two. Spring Training games.

      Are you familiar with what Spring Training is? Did you miss the part about the Royals and Mariners rocking ST last year? Milton Bradley ring a bell?

      Come on, man. Get yourself together!

      • jonred

        I realize that it’s spring training, but it’s sad when you look at the lineup today and the only person to get excited about is Baez and then two of our “big” signings this offseason seemingly can’t throw a strike as part of a 9-run inning. I know we aren’t going to win much this year, but is it too much to ask that we can at least be competitive?

    • Javier Bryant

      Mike Cameron’s son

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Hate to tell you, but that is the stategy.

  • itzscott

    How long’s it gonna take Happy to see the dark side before he becomes sad?

  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

    Well, the Angels have gotten some batting practice.

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    Lone bright spot of this game… Baez has looked smooth at short so far. He also had that vicious swing that resulted in a ground out. Im calling a Javy bomb in his next AB.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      I remember last year that Baez got off to a slow start in Daytona. He may struggle a bit before he hits his stride.

  • Norm

    I can’t believe there is this much reaction a game in February. Holy crap.

    • CubChymyst

      It was still a bad inning to listen to.

      • cubbiekoolaid2015

        It was harder to watch.

      • Norm

        OK, but…..so what?

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Precisely this season is going to suck around here if this is what is happening with the second meaningless game of the FLIPPITY FARKIN YEAR.

          • Eternal Pessimist

            Hey Goat, you need to take it easy too! Part of the fun of baseball is griping about the bad stuff, not just worshipping the plan (I do both).

            I will breath a sigh of relief if the sulkiness is limited to short-term pieces, especially if they are in the non-flippable variety and call it a win, but so far it has been pretty horrendous.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              *suckiness*

        • CubChymyst

          A little complaining is to be expected after that. One of the starting pitchers has to be checked out by a trainer and the rotation depth does not look as strong as last year. The walks and score means nothing.

          • Norm

            Maybe you’re right but I thought people were smarter than that.

            • CubChymyst

              Nevermind had the wrong pitcher in mind. Mcdonald having to be checked out means nothing.

              • Eternal Pessimist

                Could just be McDonald’s imitation of Rodney Dangerfield in caddy shack.

                “ooh, ooh, my arm”

                “Hmm, well I guess that could be a fracture…I guess you’ll just have to forfeit”

                • CubChymyst

                  to bad the forfeit didn’t work last year with stewart

    • Funn Dave

      We’ve been hearing all offseason about how ST is the only thing Cubs fans have to look forward to this year, because we get to see how the young’uns do against the big leaguers. Now the same people who’ve been looking forward to ST for the aforementioned reasons are expected not to read anything into it? Yes, it’s just spring training. But it’s also baseball, and people have been waiting all offseason to analyze it. Let’s give them a break.

      • bbmoney

        Who’s been telling hearing that? I never heard that.

        I look forward to the regular season both in the MLB and the MiLB. Spring training results are meaningless. It’s useful for the players to get ready of course. But the games are meaningless.

        • Funn Dave

          I fear you may have missed my point. Of course the games themselves have no impact on the regular season’s standings. But ST is the only time this season when people will be able to see Almora, Soler, etc. — and, barring a call-up, Bryant, Baez, Alcantara, etc.–not to mention the pitching–compete against big league talent. As you no doubt know, the regular season will be painful to watch and will feature a variety of nominally big-league players who would not be starters for most ballclubs and will be unlikely to be Cubbies when the Cubs have a decent chance at actually competing. So, for some Cub fans, spring training offers the most exciting and enlightening Cubbie baseball of the year. That sentiment has definitely been repeated here. Don’t blame me if you haven’t seen or understood it.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Going to be a longgg season. Probably uglier than 2012 or 2013. The starting rotation is not good, and the lineup card will be downright anemic. Not a good combo. Hence why a lot of prognosticators suggest the 2014 will be the worst team in baseball.

    Oh for the hope and promise of the farm system to start showing up !!!

    • willis

      And that over/under for wins is at 69.5 right now. Folks, go get paid on that under. Even if you’re not a gambler, find a site, create an account and put some large coin on it. You won’t regret it.

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

    I’m kind of glad I’m not able to watch this. At least if I decide to watch it at midnight, I’ll likely have a few beers in my system by then.

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    Baez flies out to right on a 2-2 count.

  • kridertr

    Half the people on here who are flipping out about these games have no flipping clue about baseball. Most probly couldn’t even start on their high school team and think they know everything about baseball. Lol. So many people can tell them quit flipping out over dpring training but they can’t get any ounce of baseball knowledge thru their thick skulls. Ok rant over and get a clue people

    • jonred

      So being disappointed at losing a game 13-1 in the 5th inning means we know nothing about baseball? Hey, I realize that ST games are for learning, working on your pitches, etc. but the Angels being an extra point away from having two TDs on the board in the 5th inning is never a good thing…guess my expectations are a bit higher than yours. Is it too much to ask for a somewhat competitive game?

      • Norm

        On February 28th? Yes.

    • candyland07

      I doubt people are actually flipping out. The game is bad and people react. What kind a person takes the time to listen, and or watch the 2nd spring training game . i would assume dedicated fans. The Cubs pitchers are playing poorly as a group.Barney hits a home run but i am not gonna put him on my HR Derby sheet. Either way the pitcher have embarrass themselves today but it only the second game of meaningless game to the fans. I doubt it meaningless to some of those players. enjoy relax and rant and rave if you must its baseball.

    • itzscott

      This is probably from a guy that trots around in an “I Like Rick” tee-shirt.

  • cubmig

    ………….enough already……………over-n-out.

  • Funn Dave

    Hey, people–remember what I said yesterday about how cliche it is to jump all over people for overreacting to spring training? People will always overreact to spring training games. Please get the F over it. Yelling at them for it won’t change anything.

    Then again, maybe yelling at people for yelling at people for overreacting to ST is just as bad and I need to get the F over it…this is all getting just a bit too meta….

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      LOUD NOISES… blah blah blah talking commenting about how people comment and how people respond and then how they respond to the response over a spring training games is sooooo yesterday. ;)

      • Funn Dave

        Hmm…a goat making load noises…would that be “baaah”? I have no idea what goats sound like.

        • Javier Bryant

          “What does the Goat say?”

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      How can you know that they are yelling Dave? Am I missing some secret volume feature here?

      • Funn Dave

        Yes. Turn up your Funn meter and you will hear all comments in crisp, digital volume.

  • Patrick W.

    If there’s any, ANY, better proof that Spring Training games don’t matter, Ian Stewart pinch hit for Mike Trout.

    • itzscott

      Why didn’t Stewart start?

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    @ESPNChiCubs: Almora, Soler, Alcantara, Bryant, and B. Jackson now in the game

    Best game ever! Lol

    • Javier Bryant

      Might DVR the game on MLB network just to see them all together!

    • jonred

      Now this game certainly turned around quickly.

  • another JP

    Almora, Bryant, Soler, Alcantara, and Baez all in lineup. Now THIS is the team I want to see… how about they get pissed off and scores some runs.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    Paulo Espino making easy work of Angels’ replacements.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Baez at SS meant to push Castro? He can just as well play 2B which is already set among Barney and Emilio et al – subtle messages from Mgr Rick who is not playing the usual suspects- gambling with this team? Shocked!

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    Another nice, smooth play at short by Javy.

  • another JP

    We’ve been waiting a LONG time to see this kind of lineup in a game:
    Alcantara 2b Almora CF Soler RF Bryant 3B BJax LF Baez SS Baker C Vitters 1B

    Me likey!

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    Rocket double by Almora. Beautiful swing!

    • another JP

      Bring in the kids- what we have to lose?

  • Dales Fired Ear

    Almora!!!

  • candyland07

    The plan …… The plan is to be real bad and accumulate talent by paying 5 million dollar contracts on possible rebound players; to attract middle of the road prospects that either have and injury and or medical problem . The plan is to play bad baseball for 4 years while stockpiling the farm . The plan will always be a year away from year 5 thru 8 because some things will happen that was not suppose to happen. The plan is to ……… sick of the plan, but hey if IT promises good baseball in 6 to 8 years then i guess people can cheer then. But playing bad baseball has it rewards –

    I am just enjoying the game – I can let the plan take that away from me.

    • candyland07

      …. I cant let the plan take that way from me. oh well it is nice listening to the game.

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    Soler takes a couple of vicious cuts before striking out looking. Here comes Bryant.

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