SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- This peculiar little two-game set has become an annual pilgrimage for the Cubs, because the people promoting what they call "Big League Weekend" (even though few big leaguers will play and it's not on a weekend this year) know the Cubs are popular and will draw fans. Only berm tickets (at $40!) remain for these games.
It's the 12th straight year the Cubs have played a series in Las Vegas during spring training. The Cubs also met the Mets here for a pair during spring training two years ago, and the Mets are likely the choice because the Las Vegas 51s are the Mets' Triple-A affiliate, so local fans can see some of the players who'll be playing in Vegas this summer.
The Cubs will be the "away" team for tonight's game and thus will bat first.
One bit of Cubs news this afternoon:
The Astros released Jake Buchanan, who has agreed to a deal with the Cubs, sources say.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 31, 2016
Minor league deal for Buchanan, to be clear. One scout I talked to recently was high on him.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 31, 2016
Here are tonight's particulars.
Zobrist 2B, Heyward CF, Bryant RF, Rizzo 1B, Schwarber LF, La Stella 3B, Russell SS, Ross C, Williams P
You'll likely see these players for four or five innings. Also, note the continued absence of Dexter Fowler.
Granderson RF, Wright 3B, Cespedes CF, Duda 1B, Walker 2B, Conforto LF, Cabrera SS, Plawecki C, Sewald P
With the exception of starting catcher Travis d'Arnaud, this looks like the Mets' Opening Day lineup.
This is a pitching battle of team prospects.
Ryan Williams will start for the Cubs. Relievers for tonight: Trevor Cahill, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon.
Paul Sewald goes for the Mets. Sewald has been in the Mets organization for four years. He was their 10th-round pick in 2012. He's pitched exclusively in relief and has very good numbers (1.83 ERA in 138 appearances covering 192 innings, with 38 walks and 227 strikeouts). He has yet to pitch above Double-A and will be 26 in a couple months, so it might be now or never for him. Chase Bradford will pitch after Sewald. Both of these pitchers are Las Vegas natives.
Today's game is on cubs.com with Mick Gillispie. It will also be televised on CSN Chicago with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. The CSN broadcast will be carried live nationally on MLB Network.
Please visit our SB Nation Mets site Amazin' Avenue. If you do go there to interact with Mets fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.
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 7 p.m. CT and 8:30 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.