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Hope Springs Eternal: Pregame Thread, Cubs vs. Dodgers at Mesa, Wednesday 2/25, 2:05 CT

Play ball!

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Isn't that the best thing you've seen in four months? Baseball at last!

I don't know whether the spring training schedule makers did this on purpose, matching the Cubs in their first spring game against the team that eliminated them unceremoniously in last year's NLDS. It's hardly a revenge match, either -- so many Cubs from the 2008 team aren't here any more, and the one man who had perhaps the most to do with the Dodgers' run to the playoffs (Manny Ramirez) is still sitting at home.

I'm not going to put pitcher boxes up for these threads for a while, since as Lou has said, most of the regular rotation starters won't appear in games for a few days, and those who do start will likely not go more than a couple of innings. Jeff Samardzija will start for the Cubs; Mitch Atkins also will get some mound time today. Four regulars will start: Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto, and Ryan Theriot. Word is that Soto will play only two spring games before leaving for the WBC. For the Dodgers, Claudio Vargas (a Met last year and a Brewer before that) will start on the mound, followed by Eric Milton and Ramon Trancoso. Regulars Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Juan Pierre, Casey Blake and James Loney will appear (though probably not for long.

Please visit our SBN friends at True Blue LA for the Dodger fan perspective. The weather is supposed to be spectacularly good, sunny and 84, which is about 12-15 degrees above average for late February. (And it's supposed to stay warm for at least another week.)

And as ever, discuss amongst yourselves.

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