SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — This MLB.com article, titled “Overreactions from first week of spring games,” has as one of its “overreactions” the following: “Ian Happ needs to be in the Cubs’ lineup every day!”, with this included:
Three homers in 13 Cactus League at-bats (with a 1.582 OPS) might understandably have some Cubs fans dreaming up a bigger role for Happ than what is currently projected for him. Right now, Happ basically rates as a backup in all three outfield spots and the third-stringer at second base, behind Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist. His playing time would be compromised all the more if the slimmed-down Kyle Schwarber has the bounceback season he’s vying for, or if Albert Almora Jr. has the 2018 breakout so many are prescribing for him.
I’m going to disagree with the writer, Anthony Castrovince, on Happ rating only as a “backup.” First, Happ started 89 games last year after his early May callup, although he had only one postseason start. Second, the eye test says Happ’s a better center fielder than he was a year ago. Third, I would put Happ ahead of Zobrist as Baez’s backup at second base.
It would not surprise me if Happ was in the lineup Opening Day in center field. Joe Maddon loves mixing and matching, as you know, and the only players likely to be in the lineup absolutely every day are Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.
Here are today’s particulars.
Heyward RF, Baez 2B, Contreras C, Russell SS, Navarro 1B, Almora CF, Gimenez DH, Vosler 3B, Bourjos LF
Jason Heyward gets another shot at the leadoff spot. Also, news about Zobrist, who has yet to play this spring:
Another Cub we haven’t seen should be in a game Tuesday:
FYI #Cubs Morrow not on list to pitch today or Monday. Most likely 1st Cactus League game will be Tue— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 4, 2018
Peralta LF, Pollock CF, Goldschmidt 1B, Lamb 3B, Tomas RF, Avila C, Descalso 2B, Ahmed SS, Mathis DH
Hey, look! An Alex Avila sighting!
Jon Lester will start for the Cubs. Relievers on the Cubs list today: Justin Grimm, Shae Simmons, Kyle Ryan, Michael Roth, Oscar De La Cruz, Craig Brooks, Alberto Baldonado and Daniel Camarena.
Taijuan Walker gets the call for the D-backs. Among Arizona relievers today: Archie Bradley, Braden Shipley, Jorge De La Rosa, Yoshihisa Hirano and our old friend Jake Buchanan.
Today’s game is on 670 The Score with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. It’s being televised by the D-backs network Fox Sports Arizona Plus. It’ll be on MLB Network on a one-hour delay beginning at 3 p.m. CT.
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.
Please visit our SB Nation Diamondbacks site AZ Snake Pit. If you do go there to interact with Diamondbacks 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.