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peoria sports complexThe Cubs head out to Peoria – like, Arizona, not Illinois – to take on the Mariners tonight. If you’re able to stay up, you can catch the game on MLB Network and MLB.tv. It’s kind of like a West Coast game during the regular season, though it’s a little atypical for Spring Training.

Fifth starter competitor James McDonald makes the start tonight, and we’ve reached the point in the Spring where the results for guys in the very few “competitor” spots tend to mean a little bit more. Not a lot, mind you, because the coaches and front office are seeing things behind the scenes that we are not, and those still mean more than the in-game stats that result from a small sample size of fake baseball games. But, yeah, it matters a little.

The lineup features Javier Baez and Emilio Bonifacio in the middle infield, but Baez is still at his usual shortstop spot, and Bonifacio is manning second. I guess the plans to play Baez at second a bit are still a day or more away. Ryan Kalish gets yet another start, which, by my count, gives him the most starts in the outfield so far this Spring among the guys competing for the 5th outfielder job. (Because of the projected extra bodies in the infield, though, we may not see the Cubs actually carry a traditional fourth/fifth outfielder combo.) I believe Casper Wells, who also starts, is right up there with him. I am not surprised by those two names being the most featured.

Also, MIKE OLT! gets in the lineup as DH, while Christian Villanueva mans third.

Lineup:

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B
  2. Junior Lake, CF
  3. Casper Wells, RF
  4. Mike Olt, DH
  5. Javier Baez, SS
  6. Ryan Kalish, LF
  7. Chris Valaika, 1B
  8. Christian Villanueva, 3B
  9. John Baker, C
  • ssckelley

    Excellent, game is on television and I like this lineup.

    Of course any lineup with Baez in it looks dang good. :D

    • willis

      I love late night baseball. And I love watching Baez shoot baseballs to the moon.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    hope someday the cub network will mean more spring training and maybe some minor league baseball games.GO Cubs!!!!

  • SenorGato

    Very interested in watching Villanueva play.

  • Jon

    MLB network won’t let me DVR the game, anyone else have this problem?

    • Danny Ballgame

      Mine is good

    • mikelach13

      Delete some of your Dora the explorer episodes

  • Kyle

    First round of cuts just came down. Basically every major prospect besides Baez optioned or assigned. Watkins optioned already surprises me a tiny bit.

    • ChrisFChi

      Not The Babe!

    • Diehardthefirst

      All the prospects will be up after Theos contract is up… For renegotiation that is– maximum leverage

      • DarthHater

        Right. Because a lot of current prospects coming up two years from now couldn’t possibly have anything to do with their natural development.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Great lineup to watch. But rework it:
    1. Alcantara 2nd
    2. Almora CF
    3. Rizzo 1st
    4. Bryant LF
    5. Baez DH
    6. Castro SS
    7. Soler RF
    8. Olt 3rd
    9. Castillo C

    Now thats a lineup Cubs fan really want to watch on TV

    • Bilbo161

      I love that lineup!

  • itzscott

    Yup… That’s my dream lineup in a couple of years with everyone’s cylinders clicking.

    DH??

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I was talking about for tonights lineup bc its on mlbnetwork

  • mjhurdle

    Lake with the TOOTBLAN

  • ssckelley

    Holy crap, did anyone just see that pitch by McDonald?

    • mjhurdle

      McDonald needs to stop hiding the beanbag and just pitch.

      • ssckelley

        Juuuuuust a tad outside

  • mjhurdle

    wow, that could have been the worst 4 pitch walk I have ever seen.
    McDonald not even close to hitting his spots so far.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Finally some televised games this weekend. I want to gey a good look at Baez before they send him down.

  • ssckelley

    Ok, that horn is getting tiring. This game being played in japan?

    • mjhurdle

      I have to imagine at some point someone within 25 seats of the brainiac blowing that horn will get tired of hearing it and take matters into his/her own hands.

    • ssckelley

      Meant annoying

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Maybe he’s trying to surpass Garza’s outing.

  • mjhurdle

    So if pitchers in ST can struggle because they are working exclusively on one thing in their starts, I’m going to assume that McDonald is working on throwing the pitch at least 20″ away from the catcher’s target that way baserunners can’t relay the pitch location to the hitter…

  • mjhurdle

    MIKE OLT!!!!

    • ssckelley

      Damn, he belted that ball!

  • itzscott

    OMG….

    I guess the eyes are okay again

    • ssckelley

      The eyes must be fine to get on top of that high fastball and belt it out.

  • spearman

    Wow, that was a bomb from Olt.

  • mjhurdle

    craziest thing about that Olt HR was that he didn’t appear to take a full swing at it, and it still went 420+ ft

    • spearman

      Looked like a softball swing.

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

        I appreciate that Olt looks at the very least a bench bat. Wolf is not a challenge. I wonder qhat hell do when a faces a righty with a mean slider or splitter.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          There not going to let ride the bench. He’s going to start Iowa or Chicago, either way will get at bats

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

          Id didnt say that. I said hes worth getting abs if only as a pinch hitter. I dont want that. But means we have murphy and valbuena who need time or become pinch hitters. Id say you give him lefties a few righties and he pinches in the rest. 300-350abs…unless we jettison murphy or valbuena or barney…too early to tell. He doesnt need triple A. He has good defense rep.. and his value comes from handling any mlb role you give him. Jmo.

  • Jorbert Solmora

    That was crushed.

  • ssckelley

    Belly fire beat out a high chopper for a hit!

    • ssckelley

      And now stole third

  • itzscott

    No doubt….

    If his shoulder’s okay, Olt starts at 3rd on Opening Day

  • spearman

    Mariners show a commercial instead Baez ab.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Baez needs to wait for his pitch. He is such a free swinger. I hope before he gets called up the Front Office makes sure he learns to work counts and take pitches. Just because you can hit the ball 500ft or put the bat on the ball doesn’t mean you need to swing at everything

  • mjhurdle

    Apparently the memo for the Mariner’s announcers this year is that everything Robinson Cano does is absolutely perfect.

    They are still talking about him starting a routine double play.

    • ssckelley

      Gotta justify spending all that money.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Wonder how special they’ll think Cano is at age 37 and still having 4 years left on that deal with a declining bat and playing DH making $24M

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I’m curious how long Cano will be able to stay at 2nd. Special bat, but are very good glove too. A 10 year deal and he’s already 31

  • mjhurdle

    McDonald is looking awful. And not the Shaun Camp ‘guys hitting everything he throws’ awful, but rather the Marmol ‘don’t throw anything even remotely close enough to the strike zone that might entice a batter to swing at it’ awful

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      He has no command right now. Pretty rough. Hopefully he settles down. The FO wants him to win the job while Arrieta is out in the beginning

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

      For once we agree. MacDonald has nothing…he cant throw a strike to a location. Hes left everything up and out. I wonder how long before hes on the DL again or released. Hes not right. Labors from the get go.

  • itzscott

    Who’d like to shove the horn up that guy’s ass already?

    • ssckelley

      Me, I would not like that even if I was a Mariner fan. Worse than Ronnie Woo Woo.

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

    Tatooed to Baez! Double…play!

  • Kyle

    Olt parade … back on!

  • Eternal Pessimist

    Man, our 5th starter situation is looking worse than I thought it would…any other FA’s still out there?

    • Kyle

      Assuming Arrieta is out for Opening day, that still leaves Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Hammel, Arrieta.

      McDonald being awful isn’t a problem.

      • Kyle

        Derp, meant Villanueva for the last Arrieta.

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

          Not like we are going to notice much fall off from present expectations.

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