SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Perhaps today's split squad games will be kinder to the Cubs than yesterday's. They've got two new opponents, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, and need to start playing better defense and getting the bullpen solidified.
Since I have been mentioning the Cubs' attendance drop this spring, it is only fair that I link you to this azcentral.com article extolling the higher attendance this spring for the Giants, Diamondbacks and Rockies. That's what is driving the overall higher attendance at Cactus League games, and the reasons are pretty obvious: the Giants are defending World Champions, and the Rockies and Diamondbacks have a shiny new complex that's getting rave reviews from just about everyone -- I'll let you know how I see it after today's game. Also, D'backs fans can now see their home team in person in the Phoenix area after years of having to drive to Tucson:
Through Wednesday, the Diamondbacks averaged 10,075 fans per game. That compares with 6,647 fans per game in Tucson last year.
Other teams, including the Cubs, are down. The article says that they hope to surpass last year's total Cactus League numbers, but probably won't break the 2009 record -- set in a year when there were more games due to the World Baseball Classic. The real test will be next year, when the new complex won't be new any more.
In Las Vegas, Carlos Zambrano will face the Dodgers' Rubby De La Rosa. Yes, there is a real baseball player named "Rubby". Other Cubs pitchers who will throw in Las Vegas: Chris Carpenter, Scott Rice, Jeff Samardzija, Kyle Smit and Jeff Stevens. At Talking Stick, Braden Looper gets the start against Arizona's Daniel Hudson, the former White Sox pitcher. Other Cubs pitchers scheduled to go against the D'backs: Rafael Dolis, Jay Jackson, Scott Maine and Kerry Wood. Lineups after the jump.
Cubs lineup at Talking Stick:
Perez LF Barney SS Byrd CF Ramirez 3B Pena 1B Soto C Scales 2B Adduci RF Looper P
Drew SS K. Johnson 2B Upton RF Branyan 1B Young CF Allen LF Roberts 3B Blanco C Hudson P
Cubs lineup at Las Vegas:
Fukudome RF Castro SS Colvin 1B Soriano LF DeWitt 2B Johnson CF Smith 3B Hill C Zambrano P
Dodgers lineup was not available at posting time.
Here's all the media information for today.
MLB.com Gameday for Cubs/Dodgers at Las Vegas
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today. The Talking Stick game is on WGN Radio with Pat and Zonk. The Las Vegas game is on WGN-TV with Len and Bob.
There will be an overflow thread posting at 4:30 p.m. CDT -- that's an hour later, with the time change, and one overflow for both games. As usual, the overflow thread will NOT post on the front page but will be in the "Recent Stories In Game Threads" box on the right sidebar. If you need an extra overflow thread beyond that one, post it in the FanShot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.