Two more games today as the Cubs take on the Athletics at 2:05 PM CST in Vegas, and also battle the Brewers at 3:05 PM CST. Kyle Hendricks gets the ball against the A’s, the game can be listened to through mlb.tv, but there is no TV. Back in Arizona, Edwin Jackson will take the mound against the Brewers, the game can be watched, and listened to on mlb.tv with a subscription. It’s a big start for Jackson as he needs to show this coaching staff something or else he will not be in the rotation, I still think he loses out to Travis Wood.
vs. Athletics – 2:05 PM CST -Vegas
1. Fowler – CF
2. Rizzo – DH
3. Soler – RF
4. Bryant 3B
5. Lake – LF
6. La Stella – 2B
7. Valaika – 1B
8. Teagarden – C
9. Herrera – SS
SP – Kyle Hendricks
@ Brewers – 3:05 PM CST
1. Coghlan – LF
2. Alcantara – 2B
3. Castro – SS
4. Sweeney – DH
5. Olt – 3B
6. Baxter – 1B
7. Castillo – C
8. Chambers – RF
9. Szczur – CF
SP – Edwin Jackson
Some things to keep an eye on for today. Both Matt Szczur, and Junior Lake have had a really good spring, both guys are vying for bench spots on the 2015 opening day roster. While I think Szczur has the edge because of his defense, I’ve been very impressed with Junior Lake’s purpose at the plate, it clearly has carried over from Winter League ball. Joe Maddon said not to read too much into Rizzo batting second, and he’s there again today, so start reading into it. Mike Olt is getting every day at bats right now because he has earned them, he’s winning the third base job with his Spring so far, he needs to keep progressing to nail it down.
In his first chance to impress the new Cubs staff Edwin Jackson was underwhelming to say the least. It was the same old story for Edwin as he couldn’t pitch around mistakes behind him, or mistakes of his own (one error). When it was all said and done Jackson gave up four runs, unearned, in two innings of work, sure they were unearned but he played a big role in that. The better news from the day was Kyle Hendricks throwing the ball very well, and Mike Olt continuing to have the best at bats of any Cubs player so far this Spring. Olt was 1-for-1 on the day with his second spring dinger, an opposite field blast, and a walk which brings his spring total to three in just ten plate appearances. It wasn’t all bad on the mound, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, C.J. Edwards, and Justin Grimm worked a total of four scoreless innings, giving up two hits, no walks, while striking out six.
On a rainy Arizona day, Joe Maddon made some comments about the rotation. Kyle Hendricks will be in the rotation to start the season, there had been some speculation that he wasn’t ticketed for a rotation spot earlier on but that was unfounded. The news gives Cubs fans an idea of what will be happening this spring, an all out battle for the number five spot between Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Felix Doubront, Tsuyoshi Wada, and others, namely Jacob Turner.
The other news out of camp today… Jon Lester is your opening day starter. To me this was a done deal as soon as the Cubs committed loads of money to the lefty, but some fans thought that Jake Arrieta earned the chance to be that guy. Spring games start THIS THURSDAY, the rotation has been announced; Wood vs A’s, Turner vs SF on Thursday, Lester on Friday, Hammel/Doubront on Saturday; Arrieta/Wada on Sunday; Jackson/Hendricks on Monday.
Such a tough evening, on one hand you have to be thrilled with the Cubs coming back two different times in this one, on the other, throw strikes!!! The Cubs offense was up to the task tonight, but the pitching was dreadful, it started with Edwin Jackson, and ended with Pedro Strop, and James Russell.
Edwin Jackson “walked” away with a no decision in this one, and probably deserved worse. Jackson worked 4.2 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits, while walking four (yuck), and striking out four. Pedro Strop, who got the loss, worked a third of an inning, giving up one run, while walking two, and striking out one. The issue in this one was James Russell coming on and failing to do his job against Pedro Alvarez, he walked Alvarez to load the bases and Russel Martin delivered a game winning sac-fly.
Starlin Castro! What a night from Castro, he was 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI’s, and two runs scored. It was Castro’s first time hitting two home runs in a major league game, it was awesome to see, Castro is now hitting .310 on the season, look at that. Emilio Bonifacio continues to get hits, almost every time up to the plate, he was 3-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo is also going well at the plate right now, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.
I’ll leave you with this… STOP BUNTING! Goodnight.
** PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREW NELLES/AP
First game under the lights at Wrigley this season, and it should favor the pitchers as the temps are still struggling to find their average for this time of year.
Edwin Jackson gets the start for the Cubs, he is coming off a solid start in Pittsburgh where he ended the night with a no decision. He will be opposed by Charlie Morton who carved up the Cubs in his first start but he settled for a no decision as well. First pitch tonight is 7:05 PM CST, and the game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
 Marte – LF
 Snider – RF
 McCutchen – CF
 Alvarez – 3B
 Martin – C
 Walker – 2B
 Ishikawa – 1B
 Mercer – SS
 Morton – SP
 Bonifacio – 2B
 Kalish – LF
 Rizzo – 1B
 Schierholtz – RF
 Valbuena – 3B
 Castro – SS
 Sweeney – CF
 Castillo – C
 Jackson – SP
** Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL **
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – 7:05 PM CST
(TV: CSN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 – 7:05 PM CST
(TV: WGN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Thursday, April 10, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV: WGN, MLBN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
** SERIES VITALS **
** PITCHING MATCHUPS **
Morton (Career vs. Cubs) (2 – 4; 4.36 ERA, 10 appearance, 10 starts)
Jackson (Career vs. Pirates) (3 – 3; 5.36 ERA, 8 appearances, 8 starts)
Rodriguez (Career vs. Cubs) (9 – 8; 3.63 ERA, 25 appearances, 25 starts)
Hammel (Career vs. Pirates) (3 – 1; 3.62 ERA, 5 appearances, 4 starts)
Cole (Career vs. Cubs) (2 – 0; 2.08 ERA, 2 appearances, 2 starts)
Wood (Career vs. Pirates) (4 – 5; 3.35 ERA, 10 appearances, 9 starts)
We are getting an early look at what Ricky Renteria might do on a daily basis with the lineup. The good? I like sitting Barney and giving Bonifacio a start at second base against the right-handed pitcher. The bad? I don’t like that Olt is sitting in game two after an off-day, I think he is the every day third baseman so he should be in there. I understand the though process, I just want him to play as much as possible. I also like that Ryan Kalish gets an opportunity tonight, I think a lot of people will be fans of his immediately.
First pitch is at 6:05 PM CST on Comcast SportsNet Plus