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5 Things to Watch for: Cubs Game Preview and Thread 2/26

5 Things to Watch for: Cubs Game Preview and Thread 2/26

Today's game is at 2:05 CT.  You can hear it on MLB.com today.

Here is the lineup...

  1. DeJesus CF
  2. Castro SS
  3. Rizzo, 1B
  4. Soriano DH
  5. Jackson LF
  6. Navarro C
  7. Lillibridge 2B
  8. Villanueva 3B
  9. Chavez RF

Starting Pitcher: Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson makes his first appearance in a Cubs uniform.  His shot at being the Opening Day starter got a bit more realistic when Matt Garza got hurt, but Jeff Samardzija still has to be the favorite.

5 Things to Watch For:

  1. Brent Lillibridge continues his quest to be a 25th man/supersub and manager Dale Sveum is giving him every opportunity to do so.
  2. Johermyn Chavez had a couple of good ABs yesterday.  He showed a solid approach, including an opposite field line drive single into RF yesterday.  He's not going to make the team but he was the most talented player the Cubs picked up among their minor league free agent signings.  He's still a prospect though he'll have to prove himself in AAA Iowa.
  3. The first 4 players in this lineup should be the one the Cubs use against RHP all season.  Well, as long as Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus are Cubs, anyway.
  4. Brett Jackson gets the start in LF.  He finally struck out in his last AB -- not that it's something we should be worried about.  Still it would be great to see him bounce back today with another solid performance.
  5. The Cubs need to throw more strikes than they did yesterday.  The pitchers were sloppy. Granted, some were guys like Robert Whitenack, Brian Schlitter and Jensen Lewis, who figure to open the season in the minors.  I also expect better out of SP Carlos Villanueva.  He's more of a "feel" pitcher than a power guy and it may take him a start or two to find his rhythm.

 

 

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  • fb_avatar

    Semi-OT: here's a story that lends credence to what most of us thought the other day; Soriano to the Yankees is unlikely at this point. (John, if you've already linked this and I missed it, apologies. I'm only about 40% with it these days.)

    http://www.mlbdailydish.com/2013/2/26/4031738/cubs-rumors-yankees-alfonso-soriano-trade

  • How old is Chavez?

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    24.

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    I find it intriguing how much time they're giving Villaneuva at third. I don't think for a second he's starting anywhere other than Tennessee this year, but they clearly want to see something. Perhaps how he responds to coaching? John, Marcel, KG, or anyone else, any insight on this?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm thinking it might be any combination of ...

    - Vitters-Stewart are both out for a few weeks.

    - you know what your getting with Valbuena.

    - Lake is probably getting more work on the side with the coaches and they are pretty familiar with him.

    - Villaneuva is still pretty new to the coaches but more likely, his superb defense at 3B is something the Cubs like on the field to help the pitchers out.

    Just my 2 cents. He seems like the kind of player Dale and .CO would fall for.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Thanks. Totally agree he's a guy this regime would love. Fun to imagine an infield of Villaneuva-Castro-Barney-Rizzo. Offensive issues aside, pitchers would trip over one-another trying to sign up to play in front of that four.

    Did I say offensive issues? Villaneuva is obviously Babe Ruth!

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    your right on. He's comparable to a young Chase Headley, and clearly, Hoyer loved him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Could have to do with injuries to both Vitters and Stewart.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Didn't one of the rating services give Villanueava like a 70 as a fielder, right up there with Alm ora? And that's on a minor league field, which aren't known for there superb upkeep.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Some scouts give him a 70 and I know that BA gave Almora a 75. He's the best defensive infielder in the system, imo.

  • Christian Villanueva HRs in his first AB.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nice,...

  • Johermyn Chavez was reported to have a good arm and sounded like he made a laser throw to almost nail a runner at 3B from RF.

  • Cubs up 2-1.

    Jackson flies out deep to CF. Gillespie thought it was gone but died on the warning track. Scores Castro from 3rd, who doubled to lead off and went to 3B on Rizzo ground out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Villanueava just made 2nd out in 5th-375ft flyout to deep leftcenter, a probable HR in Wrigley on an average day. He actually looks pretty solid as a hitter.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    wind must be blowing in or something,Villanuevas FB in the 5th(2nd AB) also seemed to die on the track.

  • fb_avatar

    Jackson's at bat:
    Ball
    Ball
    Swinging Strike (fastball)
    Ball
    Foul down the third base line
    Hard hit sac fly

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Solid AB. Gillespie thought it was gone at the crack of the bat.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah. Didn't mean to complain at all. Only one swing and miss, and the foul the other way sounds like the kind of pitch he would have missed last year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh, I didn't think you were complaining. Was just listening along and was pretty happy with the AB. Wish that would have went out.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Me, too.

    He's playing well. I hope this keeps up as the pitchers get better and, especially, when the season starts. But, for now, he's done everything you could expect of him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good news is BJax is putting the ball in play in an RBI situation, something the Cubs haven't done well since 2008.

  • Sappelt HRs. Baez singles on 0-2 count.

  • It seems like Baez is showing very good instincts on the base paths, singled to LF and busted out of the box at full speed, then stole 2B and then moved to 3B on a fly ball to RF on a close play, that has to make an impression on the manager.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Dale is going to love this kid. I've seen him play several times and that's how he plays the game whether his team is up by 10 or down by 10... he has one speed (wide open). He gets a bad rep for it, but really I think he's just super competitive.

  • Castro seems to be settling back into that 2 spot, as I thought he would looking at the potential lineup this year. Not sure who else would.

  • In reply to TheFiveYearPlan:

    He's working the count a bit today too. He's going to be pretty good if he's hitting with a few 3-1 counts.

  • dominic brown looks pretty good this spring, i wont be angry at theo and jed for not trading for him, but am i gonna be a little upset if he figures it out this season after having a chance to trade soriano for him.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Would love to have made trade. So would Cubs. Problem was that the Phillies didn't want to do it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    oh i thought it was resistance on the cubs side? i take my comment back then, it seems that it might have been smart of the phillies to keep him, they really need guys who arent getting paid big $ to play well this season with all of the bloated salaries on their roster.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Yeah, I would have been ticked if it was the Cubs turning it down but the word was that the Cubs actually had to talk the Phillies into even considering it, which they didn't do for very long.

    Also have no idea whether Soriano would have approved it, though I guess the Phils came in 2nd to the Cubs when Soriano was a FA, so maybe he would have.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Part of me wishes he'd been terrible -- Theo being wrong on these in ways that doesn't hurt us (e.g., Colvin for Stewart) helps the team.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I have an idea the Filthies really didn't want Sori, except if we were willing to pay his entire salary and take back nothing in return. I said before, the Filthies had better pray both there pitching and everyday players stay healthy, since there impact minor league players don't exist. Brown is considered a better fit(Ie , cheaper) and likely will produce decent power #s in that bandbox in Philly.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    You should see how the Phillies' fans on ESPN and MLB et al. dislike Domonic Brown -- and their OF in general. Brown has been given countless chances, according to the average Phan, and probably won't ever see the light. Also seems to suffer from lack of plate discipline.
    I think we can do better.

  • fb_avatar

    Javy: Take. A. Pitch.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Part of his game that he needs to refine... He's 2 for 2, definitely a good game, but I think he's only seen about 3 pitches in 2 ab's.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Caps:

    He just made an out. Excuse me grounder when he couldn't hold up.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Join the crowd-7 innin gs and Cubs pitchers have thrown 36 pitches, including giv ing up 8 hits and 1 walk. Everyone is swinging at the first pitch, something Ive really never understood why its done so often in spring training. If they want grinders, it needs to start in spring training.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Good point... I know a lot of players are looking to hit the ball hard and make an impression, in the other hand, it's the perfect time to work on things like pitch selection and Javier Baez can impress if he hits a first pitch double, but chances are he hits a first pitch ground out... I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can impress even more if you get yourself on a 3-1 count and hit that double, which is part of the hype with Soler this spring and the advanced approach he has displayed.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    The pitch count on Gameday hasn't been tracking pitches. They have been giving 3 pitches per K, 4 per walk, and one for every hit or out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh I went over his comment without realizing he was talking about Gameday, but yeah, I don't pay attention to Gameday during ST because of that.

  • fb_avatar

    Holy crap, 3 straight walks from the Cubs.

    I don't care if its Spring Training, I'm enjoying this.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    And the Cubs pitchers only walked one batter the entire game.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah.

    It's spring training and all, but if its going to become "the norm" it has to start with little things like this.

    Irrational Exuberance commencing.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    LOL!

  • That was a good 9th for Nick Struck, apparently.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Agreed. Sounded like he was throwing strikes.

  • Don't look now, but we've had 8 players homer so far in 4 games....

    Pitching was decent today too!

    I'm happy to see Javy succeed.... but really would like to see him abandon that whole "see the ball - hit the ball" approach on every single pitch. Then again, it didn't keep Castro from success in the majors early.

    Kind of geeked about seeing him & Soler in Daytona this Spring.

  • First times I've seen Soler and Lake in action. Big kids.
    They need to fill out, but boy, they're big kids.
    Wait a couple for years... they'll be real big kids.

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