The game threads have been pretty fun so far so we'll keep them going. I'm going to keep these pieces short. We'll present the lineups and I'll give my opinions on what to watch (or listen) for in each game.
Today's game is at 2:05 CT and available through radio only on WGN and MLB.com
- Logan Watkins, 2B
- Dave Sappelt, CF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Scott Hairston, RF
- Luis Valbuena, 3B
- Welington Castillo, C
- Brett Jackson, LF
- Brent Lillibridge, SS
- Darnell McDonald, DH
The Starting Pitcher: Travis Wood, LHP
If Matt Garza is healthy, there will only be one available spot left in the rotation and Travis Wood goes into this spring as the favorite for that job. He had a similar opportunity last year but had a poor spring, got sent down to AAA, got called up mid-season and then had an up and down season overall. Manager Dale Sveum has said he's throwing the ball very well this spring and today he gets his first chance to stake a claim for that last spot.
5 (other) things to "watch" for...
- We've talked about Logan Watkins, his good speed and his OBP skills. He'll get to test them out in the leadoff spot today. I think he's the type of player who will really impress Sveum with his versatility, energy, and ability to grind out ABs.
- Eager to see how Dave Sappelt does defensvely in CF. It seems right now the Cubs may be planning on doing what I'd hoped they'd do -- give him a shot to use his solid speed and athleticism to play CF and spell David DeJesus vs. LHP.
- Luis Valbuena has an opportunity to show manager Dale Sveum he can be their 3B in 2013. Ian Stewart was the heavy favorite coming in to the spring but his injury have cast some doubt on his reliability. If Stewart is going to win the job, he has to prove the last 2 years were a result of injury, not regression. He can't do that if he's not playing. Nobody expects Valbuena to be a star. He just needs to be steady and reliable -- and help hold the fort until the kids are ready to take over.
- Can Brett Jackson keep hitting? And if so, can he make it increasingly difficult for the team to send him down to AAA?
- Brent Lillibridge's chances of making the team rest squarely on his ability to handle multiple positions on defense. He gets a tough test at SS today -- an important position because the Cubs don't really have a true backup for Starlin Castro.
Filed under: Preview and Game Thread