SOMEWHERE IN DOWNSTATE ILLINOIS -- I'm nearly home; by the time you read this I'll have re-entered Illinois and be somewhere on I-55 heading north toward Chicago. Don't worry, I'll have given some sort of proper jinx to Busch Stadium while driving by.
The Cubs and D'backs appear to be making this two-game set an annual event. It's good for the D'backs as they sell these games at regular-season prices and also require their season-ticket holders to buy them. For the Cubs, it's two tune-up games at a big-league stadium after a month playing in spring-training parks. It's expected that the 25-man roster guys will fly to Chicago Saturday morning and minor leaguers will play in Saturday's game. Of course, that could include Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Javier Baez -- so maybe Saturday game-goers are getting a better look than tonight's!
Fowler CF, Soler RF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, La Stella 2B, Alcantara 3B, Ross C, Jackson P, Szczur LF
The pitcher bats eighth again.
Pollock CF, Owings 2B, Goldschmidt 1B, Peralta LF, Trumbo RF, Lamb 3B, Gosewisch C, Ahmed SS, Hellickson, P
Edwin Jackson gets one more shot at making this team. He'll start tonight for the Cubs. Other Cubs on tonight's pitching list: Phil Coke, Justin Grimm, Jason Motte, Hector Rondon, Zac Rosscup, Brian Schlitter, Pedro Strop.
Jeremy Hellickson gets the call for the D'backs. Other Arizona pitchers expected to throw: Daniel Hudson, Enrique Burgos, Andrew Chafin and Vidal Nuno.
Today's game is being televised live nationally on MLB Network (including the Chicago area). It's also on cubs.com with Mick Gillispie.
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 8:30 p.m. CT and 10:15 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.