The First Series Preview! Cubs at Rangers, March 28 - March 31, 2019

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The First Series Preview! Cubs at Rangers, March 28 – March 31, 2019

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs will kick off the 2019 season just as their forefathers did … playing in the American League with a three-game series against the Texas Rangers.

It’ll be a homecoming of sorts for former Rangers Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels, both of whom will get the ball before the weekend is over. Jon Lester, of course, will get the first start. Lester is entering his fifth season with the Cubs at age 35 and he’s been an All-Star twice so far.

Despite his Opening Day nod, the Cubs won’t be (or rather, shouldn’t be) leaning on Lester quite as much as they have in the past. The rest of the rotation features plenty of upside and a freshly-extended Kyle Hendricks. It’s Lester, though, who gets things rolling tomorrow.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (0-0) like almost every team, haven’t played a game yet, but have as much on the line this season as any. I’d say getting off to a hot start doesn’t matter, but given the way last season ended with a necessary game #163 … I just want the Cubs to be pedal-down from thing one.

The Texas Rangers (0-0) are far from favorites in the AL West this season – that honor goes to the Astros, and then probably some combination of the A’s and Angels, but everyone is a contender on Opening Day. Still, it would be nice if they’d just start tanking right away. 

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Thursday, March 28th at 3:05 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
  • Saturday, March 30th at 7:05 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, March 31st at 3:05 CT on NBCSC, ESPN, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Jon Lester (0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP; 0.00 K/BB)
  • Yu Darvish (0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP; 0.00 K/BB)
  • Cole Hamels (0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP; 0.00 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – David Bote/Daniel Descalso/Ben Zobrist
  • 3B – Kris Bryant/David Bote
  • SS – Javy Baez
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber/Mark Zagunis/Kris Bryant
  • CF – Albert Almora/Jason Heyward
  • RF – Jason Heyward/Mark Zagunis/Ben Zobrist
  • DH – Ben Zobrist/Kyle Schwarber

Unavailable: Addison Russell (restricted list)

Texas Rangers

Probable Pitchers:

  • Mike Minor (0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP; 0.00 K/BB)
  • Edinson Volquez (0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP; 0.00 K/BB)
  • Lance Lynn (0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP; 0.00 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Jeff Mathis
  • 1B – Ronald Guzman
  • 2B – Rougned Odor
  • 3B – Asdrubal Cabrera
  • SS – Elvis Andrus
  • LF – Joey Gallo
  • CF – Delino DeShields
  • RF – Nomar Mazara
  • DH – Shin-Soo Choo

Unavailable: TBD

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: The Cubs have important stories with each of the three starters this series, but Yu Darvish is the guy I’ll have the closest eye on. He was healthy for most of the Spring, but did deal with a blister just as camp was closing. With any luck that’s all healed up, because if it’s not, he might have to throw with a bandage on, which could affect his grip.

Cubs Player: Albert Almora is not likely going to be the biggest contributor this series – or season – but if he starts out hot enough, he might just be able to lock down the everyday starting center field job right out of the gate. Given his defensive abilities and power stroke against lefties, that would be a really excellent outcome. It’s unclear if he’ll start all three games this weekend, but he will definitely be in there tomorrow against the lefty Mike Minor.

Rangers Pitcher: Lance Lynn, the Rangers’ Game 3 starter, signed on with the Twins in March of last year, but didn’t make it past the Trade Deadline. After a really rough start in Minnesota (5.10 ERA, 4.72 FIP), he was traded to the Yankees, where the results were a lot better (4.14 ERA), but his peripherals were A LOT LOT better (2.17 FIP). Over 9 starts and 54.1 IP, Lynn had a 26.4% strikeout rate and just a 6.1% walk rate. The Rangers awarded that performance with a 3-year/$30M deal.

Rangers Player: Elvis Andrus might walk up to baby shark. I just hope Cubs pitchers can restrain themselves.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami