Around baseball, teams are doing one of two things today: opening their seasons (the Cardinals and Pirates are playing right now, actually, so feel free to Game Thread that game down there in the comments, too, if you’d like), or resting.
The Cubs and Angels, however, are playing an exhibition game in Anaheim. If that seems strange, it is. But, hey, it’s also strange that the Cubs are opening their season with two games in Anaheim that won’t end until after midnight. Just live in the weird.
The Cubs’ lineup looks surprisingly regular for an exhibition like this on the eve of the season, though I expect that everyone – except, perhaps, for Dexter Fowler – will be out pretty quickly after one plate appearance. Fowler, who is getting his first game action since leaving last week with a tight side, might get a few plate appearances to get back into the groove of facing live pitching.
Kyle Hendricks gets his final tuneup for the season, and, since he had a full spring, I figure he’ll be out after 60 pitches or so.
The lineup down there could be a preview for Opening Night, though there have been no commitments yet in that regard. Notably, Kyle Schwarber starts in left field, not Jorge Soler, who DHs. The implication there – especially if it repeats tomorrow – is that Schwarber is ahead of Soler defensively in left, which is where my eyes have had them, too, this spring. It’s a sad reflection of Soler’s inability to improve so far (it could still happen – remember, he’s missed so much time, accelerated rapidly through the minors, focused on health and offense, etc.), and it’s also probably a modest compliment to Schwarber’s efforts out there.
Still, let’s be honest about something: left field is going to be an adventure all season.
Today’s game will be broadcast on MLB.TV as a free live stream for everyone (at least so says Angels.com), and will be on the radio at The Score. Additional audio of the game will also be available on MLB.com or through the AtBat app. For future reference, you can check which games will be televised here.
Today’s lineup vs. the Angels (Matt Shoemaker)
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Jorge Soler, DH
- Miguel Montero, C
- Addison Russell, SS