Cubs vs. Padres at Mesa Preview, Monday 3/24, 9:05 CT

The Cubs play their only home night game of the spring this evening.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The Cubs will meet the Padres under the lights at Cubs Park this evening, the first-ever night game at the new facility. I can tell you that the lights are all functional, and pretty bright, having driven by there a couple of weeks ago in the evening (on my way somewhere else), and they had the lights on. (Not sure why.) The Cubs are promising a fireworks show after the game.

Imagine that. A fireworks show after a Cubs home game.

Another thing I wanted to talk about before tonight's contest is this: We are one week away from Opening Day in Pittsburgh. Yet, even yesterday, there were random guys from the minor-league camp playing in the game. When are games going to start being managed even close to major-league quality? When do we get to see whether guys "on the bubble" are given chances to make the team, rather than see Wes Darvill and Zeke DeVoss play the final innings of spring-training games?

The lineup tonight is full of big-league regulars, but the reserves list includes more guys who have been cut and players and pitchers from the minor-league camp.

Decision time is coming, and it's time to get more playing time for the guys who will actually be on the 25-man roster a week from today, in my view.

Oddity: if you believe in the law of averages, this game has a fair chance of ending in a tie. The Padres have had five tie games in their 25 spring-training games so far this year, a very high percentage. The Cubs have not played a tie game this spring.

Cubs lineup:

Bonifacio 2B, Murphy SS, Rizzo 1B, Ruggiano LF, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Sweeney CF, Roberts 3B, Villanueva P

Speaking of who might be on the 25-man roster, still think Ryan Roberts has a shot at making it, as they continue to look at him at multiple positions. As you can see above, Mike Olt is among players listed as subs for tonight.

Padres lineup:

Cabrera SS, Venable CF, Headley 3B, Quentin LF, Gyorko 2B, Smith RF, Medica 1B, Hundley C, Stults P

Carlos Villanueva, who appears to have the fifth spot in the rotation, will start tonight for the Cubs. Also scheduled: Justin Grimm, Jose Veras, Brian Schlitter, Neil Ramirez and Jonathan Sanchez.

Lefthander Eric Stults goes for the Padres.

Tonight's game is on WGN radio with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. No TV for tonight's game.

MLB.com Gameday

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today's game, that will be 9 p.m. CT and 10:30 p.m. CT. These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. They will also appear in this StoryStream™. The pitcher box and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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