The Cubs are 0-1 in the standings, but 1-0 in my heart.
And they have another game today, this time against the Texas Rangers at Sloan Park, the Cubs Spring home.
Unlike yesterday, which saw just three “regulars” (Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, and Tommy La Stella) in action, a whole bunch of starters are in there today. Most notably, after giving Ian Happ the chance to lead off yesterday’s game, Albert Almora Jr (his center field partner and other candidate for leading off games against certain left-handed pitchers), gets his shot.
Continuing through the order, you’ll see our favorite version of two (Kris Bryant), three (Anthony Rizzo), and four (Willson Contreras), before coming to Jason Heyward batting fifth and playing right. While I think the first four spots of the lineup are likely to be something we see a lot of this season, I doubt this’ll be Heyward’s usual spot – even if he completely turns things around. Most likely, this is where you’ll find Kyle Schwarber in the batting order, so long as he’s not leading off.
The double-play combo of Addison Russell and Javy Baez follow up the middle (still no Ben Zobrist (and he’s not listed as one of the guys who’ll come in off the bench)) and Chris Gimenez, the front runner for the backup catcher gig, bats eighth. Peter Bourjos rounds out the order and plays left field, but he’s a long-shot for the roster at this point.
Eddie Butler gets the start today, and, like Michael Roth yesterday, he’ll use his two innings to build a case that he’s the most capable seventh(ish) starter on the roster. Roth had a pretty great performance against the Brewers on Friday, though, so the bar has been set.
The most exciting pitching news of the day, however, is that Oscar De La Cruz, one of the Cubs best pitching prospects when healthy (a rare occasion in recent seasons), should get in before the day is done. I really wish this game was televised so we could get some eyes on him, but we’ll have to settle for the radio.
Speaking of which, you can catch today’s game on 670 The Score if you’re in Chicago or 105.3 The Fan if you happen to find yourself in Texas.
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Chris Gimenez, DH
- Peter Bourjos, LF
Starting Pitcher: Michael Roth
Rangers lineup for first Cactus League game pic.twitter.com/ZNi51BGfko
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) February 24, 2018