SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Joe Maddon put his pitcher eighth in the lineup for all three games his Rays played against the Cubs at Wrigley Field last August. He also did it for one game in Cincinnati and two in St. Louis in 2014.
It's something he told reporters he was considering doing back in January:
Here we go: Joe Maddon says he's thinking of batting the pitcher 8th. Not definitive of course. It's early— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) January 16, 2015
So, today's lineup is the first spring-training evidence of that thinking:
Fowler CF, Coghlan LF, Soler RF, Rizzo 1B, Montero C, Baez SS, Olt 3B, Hammel P, Alcantara 2B
It's not a bad idea. Tony La Russa did it for almost an entire season with the Cardinals in 2010, and again for part of 2011. Those teams did all right with it. We'll see if Maddon is going to go with this for real in a couple of weeks.
Myers CF, Solarte 3B, Venable RF, Gyorko 2B, Alonso 1B, Norris C, Amarista SS, Almonte LF, Shields P
This will be the first Cubs game this spring where pitchers will bat for both teams.
Jason Hammel starts for the Cubs. Other scheduled Cubs pitchers: Jason Motte, Anthony Carter, Gonzalez Germen, Jorge De Leon and Francisley Bueno.
Here is some pitching info for the Cubs for the next couple of days:
James Shields, the supposed almost-Cub, gets the call for the Padres.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. It's also on WBBM radio 780. The TV broadcast will be replayed on MLB Network at 8 a.m. CT tomorrow.
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 3:05 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.