SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- One of the biggest reasons for the Cubs' failure to win a game so far this spring is bad defense.
The Cubs have made 12 errors in seven games. That doesn't lead the major leagues -- three teams (Rays, Giants, Mariners) have more. The Giants and Mariners have played more games than the Cubs, though, so the Cubs' per-game error average is higher than any team other than Tampa Bay.
Where it's hurt most is in unearned runs allowed. The Cubs have allowed 13 unearned runs this spring, more than anyone else. Four teams (Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates, Diamondbacks) have allowed zero unearned runs so far, and three others (Athletics, Angels, Mets) have allowed just one. It's preventing runs after the errors that's important -- as in the game Edwin Jackson started Monday, where two errors eventually led to four unearned runs in one inning.
And these aren't, for the most part, errors made by minor leaguers who won't be on the 25-man roster. Of the 12, eight are by players likely headed north in April. Addison Russell, pictured above, has been flawless in the field so far.
It's a concern; I'm sure Joe Maddon and his staff will address it.
Fowler CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Montero C, Coghlan LF, Olt 3B, Sweeney RF, Alcantara 2B, Baxter DH
Rollins SS, Heisey RF, Puig CF, Grandal C, Kendrick 2B, Van Slyke 1B, Turner DH, Pederson CF, Hernandez 3B
Five of today's Dodgers starting players (Rollins, Heisey, Grandal, Kendrick and Hernandez) were not in the L.A. organization last year.
Jon Lester starts for the Cubs. Other Cubs on today's scheduled pitcher list: Zac Rosscup, Drake Britton, Francisley Bueno, Phil Coke, Brian Schlitter and Gonzalez Germen.
Coke will see his first action as a Cub. Quite a few lefties on that list, too (Rosscup, Britton, Bueno, Coke).
Zack Greinke goes for the Dodgers. Other Dodgers scheduled include 18-year-old Julio Urias (who is already a Top-10 prospect) as well as David Huff, Zach Lee, Chris Reed and Chris Anderson.
Today's game will be on cubs.com (audio) with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. The game will be available on MLB.tv -- you will be watching the Dodgers broadcast via SportsNet LA. It's also being carried live on MLB Network.
Please note that during spring training, Gameday doesn't usually go pitch-by-pitch as it does during the regular season -- usually, it will update after each at-bat.
For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at five minutes to game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, 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.