The Cubs face the Dodgers today at 2:05 CT. Audio of the game can be heard at MLB.com.
Here's the lineup...
- Valbuena 3B
- Castro DH
- Rizzo 1B
- Soriano LF
- Schierholtz RF
- Hairston CF
- Castillo C
- Barney 2B
- Lillibridge SS
Starting pitcher: Brooks Raley
Brooks Raley is a long shot for a spot in the rotation but could line himself up well to be at the top of the depth chart in Iowa. He also has an outside shot at a bullpen spot, as he is proficient at getting lefties out and the Cubs have only one other LHP, James Russell, who is a lock for the bullpen.
5 Things to Watch...
- The Cubs will field a lineup that it's as close to an Opening Day preview as we've seen so far. Every player in the lineup is expected to make the team as things stand today, 5 will be full-time starters and at least 2 more will be part-time starters.
- Will the Cubs bullpen throw strikes? They did a great job yesterday as they walked just one batter after filling in for Edwin Jackson.
- Trey McNutt and Alberto Cabrera are the two guys to watch in that respect. Both players have had outstanding stuff but both have struggled with command at times. McNutt did not walk a batter in his only appearance so far this spring. He threw 12 out of 18 pitches for strikes.
- Hector Rondon will make an appearance as he tries to solidify a spot on the team. He was reportedly at 95-96 mph in his first outing and he threw strikes. If he continues to do that, he'll be going north with the team when the season starts. LHP Hisanori Takahashi also is bidding for a spot in the bullpen.
- Luis Valbuena is off to a good start while Ian Stewart has yet to do much except participate in the bunt tournament. Gordon Wittenmeyer (h/t Sahadev Sharma) brought up an interesting point with Stewart when he asked him how he's been able to participate so far. Stewart's response was that he didn't know because nobody had told him. It may be a minor thing, but as Wittenmeyer asks -- shouldn't he be the one asking how he can participate? I don't know about you but if it was my career and the backup (Valbuena) was playing well, I'd be chomping at the bit to try and get in some action some way, somehow. We could say that maybe he's not allowed to do anything -- but Stewart didn't say this was the case. He said he didn't know. It couldn't hurt to at least ask, could it? More continued solid play from Valbuena could spell trouble for Stewart, especially with that tiered non-guaranteed contract. The longer the Cubs hold on to him, the more they have to pay out.