SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Today, you'll all get to see whether the work Jon Lester has put in on holding runners to first base has paid off.
Or not. Obviously, Lester's issues with throwing to first base aren't going to be solved in one minor-league game, but he needs to get this under control. Teams stole 44 bases in 55 attempts during Lester starts last year, both by far the most of any major-league pitcher (Tyson Ross was second, 37 of 50, and those were the only two pitchers over 50 attempts against them).
It doesn't seem to be a physical issue, so I hope he's working on whatever psychological block he appears to have. With Lester's inability to hit and David Ross catching him, the Cubs don't score many runs during Lester starts. Thus keeping guys from stealing bases is important.
Something to watch today, as the Royals are a running team.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler LF, Russell SS, Ross C, Kawasaki 2B, Lester P
Escobar SS, Moustakas 3B, Infante DH, Orlando RF, Fuentes CF, Mondesi 2B, Butera 1B, Cruz C, Gore LF
Jon Lester gets the call for the Cubs. The Cubs reliever list today: Manny Parra, Brandon Gomes, Spencer Patton, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon.
Ian Kennedy starts for the Royals. Other Royals pitchers scheduled: Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar, Ross Ohlendorf, David Huff and Peter Moylan.
Today's game is on 670 The Score with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. It's being televised on WGN-TV with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies, and is available on MLB.tv (no blackouts) if you have a subscription.
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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. There will also be a StoryStream on the front page with all the game thread links, as well as the recap after the game is over. The pitcher boxes and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.
Discuss amongst yourselves.