SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- When the Cubs last saw the Diamondbacks, it was the first day of spring training and hopes and skies were high. (Well, not hopes, really, but I thought that sounded good.)
Now, the D'backs have made a 15,000-mile round trip between Phoenix and Sydney, Australia, have an 0-2 regular-season record, and this is their first game since returning from Down Under. How will that affect their play this afternoon and into the regular season? Will they be suffering from the effects of jet lag? It's less than four days since they departed Sydney. And, the Cubs will now see Arizona for three of the final four spring games, two of them at Chase Field this weekend.
For the Cubs, roster decisions loom. Will Mike Olt be the starting third baseman? (Hope so.) Who will make the club as backups? We should know soon.
I have opened up the first two Ticket Exchange posts for 2014, for the homestand from April 4-10 and the homestand from April 18-24. There will be one post per homestand, and you can find these in the Ticket Exchange section at the bottom of the front page.
Lake CF, Ruggiano LF, Schierholtz RF, Olt 3B, Castillo C, Baez SS, Roberts 2B, Anderson 1B, Samardzija P
Hooray! Javier Baez! (Still no TV, though.) And "Anderson" is Lars Anderson, yet another former Red Sox pickup, playing first base.
Parra RF, Hill 2B, Goldschmidt 1B, Prado 3B, Montero C, Trumbo LF, Pollock CF, Gregorius SS, McCarthy P
That looks pretty much like Arizona's Opening Day lineup.
Jeff Samardzija starts for the Cubs. He is likely going only three or four innings, and then will be followed by Chris Rusin, who still is in the running for fifth starter.
Brandon McCarthy is today's starter for the Diamondbacks.
Today's game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. No TV for today's game.
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 3 p.m. CT and 4:30 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.