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Cubs vs. Royals at Surprise preview, Sunday 3/25, 2:05 CT

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The Cubs finish Cactus League play for 2018.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — First, please note: The time listed in the headline is not a misprint. This game is beginning at 12:05 p.m. Arizona time (2:05 in Chicago) because it’s getaway day for most AZ-based teams. The Cubs, as you know, are flying to Florida for two practice games vs. the Red Sox. The Royals fly to Omaha for a game against their Triple-A squad tomorrow.

This MLB.com article ranks the top 10 starting rotations. They’ve got the Cubs third, behind the Astros and Indians, which would make them the best in the National League. I’d concur with that, and perhaps put them ahead of Cleveland. Here’s what they say about the Cubs starters:

The Cubs didn’t go into the winter expecting to sign [Yu] Darvish, but his ability to impact a unit that went backward in a big way in 2017 became irresistible. Now, the Cubs again have one of the sturdiest starting sets in the game, as Darvish’s arrival comes in addition to what the Cubs could get out of a full year of [Jose] Quintana (whose stats improved across the board working with Willson Contreras last year) and a nice upside play in the No. 5 spot, where [Tyler] Chatwood should benefit from fleeing Coors Field. Mike Montgomery remains a valuable swingman here when the Cubs inevitably need a sixth starting arm.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 1B, Contreras C, Bruno 2B, Vosler 3B, Rademacher RF, Burks LF, Bernard CF, Penalver SS, Hendricks P

So much for the “four regulars” going to away games in spring training. I only count three in this lineup.

Royals lineup:

Jay RF, Moustakas DH, Merrifield 2B, Perez C, Duda 1B, Cuthbert 3B, Orlando CF, Gordon LF, Escobar SS

Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs. Cubs scheduled relievers today: Anthony Bass and Randy Rosario.

Fun Kyle Hendricks fact:

(That was as of Saturday, but it’s still true as of today.)

Ian Kennedy gets the call for the Royals. Other Royals pitchers on today’s list: Brian Flynn, Tim Hill, Blaine Boyer and Seth Maness.

Today’s game is on 670 The Score with Rick Sutcliffe and Zach Zaidman. TV coverage is via WGN-TV with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. The TV broadcast will be on MLB Network on a one-hour delay beginning at 3 p.m. CT.

MLB.com Gameday

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.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

Please visit our SB Nation Royals site Royals Review. If you do go there to interact with Royals 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.

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 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 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.