Cubs vs. Brewers: Cubs Lineup, Pitching Matchup, How to Watch, More

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Cubs vs. Brewers: Cubs Lineup, Pitching Matchup, How to Watch, More

Chicago Cubs

Every year, I get used to Spring Training games at 2:05, get my life in a rhythm around them, and every year that’s disrupted by the clocks moving forward. Today’s game is at THREE, not two. You’ve been warned.

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Nico Hoerner, 2B
  2. Ian Happ, LF
  3. Dansby Swanson, SS
  4. Trey Mancini, DH
  5. Cody Bellinger, CF
  6. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  7. Patrick Wisdom, RF
  8. Nick Madrigal, 3B
  9. Tucker Barnhart, C

With the exception (maybe) of Tucker Barnhart, this is probably the Cubs starting lineup on Opening Day. And I like it! It would look a HECK of a lot better with Seiya Suzuki batting cleanup, but that’s life. Generally speaking, this group is the one we’d expect to see, and I think the order makes plenty of sense. The only flaws I see is going righty-righty-lefty-lefty from 3-6, but lefty/righty balance doesn’t trump moving worse hitters up in the lineup.

Those top-4 need to see the most plate appearance until anyone Bellinger or lower proves that they can hit. That’s also why the Cubs need Suzuki back. Right now, they have four hitters that inspire any level of confidence. Five would be much nicer.

The Cubs (10) have the second most wins in MLB across both the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues. Only the Royals (13) have more.

Pitching Matchup:

Cubs: Adrian Sampson, RHP

Brewers: Jansen Junk, RHP

Some guys are just meant to be pitchers, and today’s starter, Janson Junk (that name!), is one of them.

Originally drafted by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 2017 draft, Junk made his way to the Brewers via Los Angeles (the Hunter Renfroe trade), where he made his major league debut with the Angels in 2021. Junk spent last season with the Angels, making 15 starts at Triple-A and two at the big league level. None of them good. Well that’s not true. Individually, there were a few good outings, but the overall performance was aggressively mediocre. Junk has made one start so far this spring, during which he allowed four earned runs on four hits and two walks while recording 0 outs.

This kind of opposing starter is exactly why we say “Spring Training stats don’t matter.”

Now let me immediately contradict myself: Adrian Sampson *really* needs to have a good outing today, if he wants to stay in the race for the fifth starter job. Hayden Wesneski (who was perfect through 4.0 innings yesterday) is absolutely running away with it, despite starting behind Sampson in the theoretical pecking order when camp began.

Start 1:

Sampson: 1.2 IP, 3H, 4ER, 1BB, 1K (3 HRs)
Wesneski: 2.0 IP, 1H, 0ER, 1BB, 4Ks

Start 2:

Sampson: 2.2 IP, 4H, 6ER, 2BB, 2Ks (3 HRs)
Wesneski: 2.2 IP, 4H, 0ER, 1BB, 3Ks

Start 3:

Sampson: today
Wesneski: 4.0 IP, 0H, 0ER, 0BB, 4Ks

Yeah, ST stats don’t matter … but you can’t ignore that wide of a gulf, either. Not in a battle for a job. As a reminder, Sampson does have minor league options, so this is becoming a potentially VERY easy decision for the Cubs.

How to Watch:

Chicago Cubs (10-5) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (5-9) – Sunday, March 12 at 3:05 CT on Marquee

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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