SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — This is the day that we’ve all been waiting for, the first start for Yu Darvish in a Cubs uniform.
Here’s why Joe Maddon thinks it was important for Darvish to be in camp right when it began:
“The six weeks [of spring training] is really important, especially for the pitcher,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I think the length of spring training is designed for the pitcher. Hitters can get their number of at-bats in a shorter amount of time, but I don’t think pitchers can be rushed.
“Beyond that, culturally speaking, I like the idea that [Darvish is] going to be here from Day 1 to just know the guys. One of our strengths is we’re four years together now, with a lot of success. So he needed to be here right from Day 1. It’s good for him, and it’s good for us, moving into the first game of the season.”
I think Joe’s right. It was good to have the entire team together and everything set before camp began, to set the right tone and for Darvish to feel completely a part of the team.
Obviously, today won’t be as important as his first regular-season start, but it will be the first time of many that we will see Darvish’s familiar No. 11 (which he has worn his entire career, except with the Dodgers when No. 11 was already taken by Logan Forsythe) on the mound.
No TV today, but I am going to try to do a Facebook Live showing him warming up in the bullpen. Check the BCB Facebook page at about 1:45 CT.
Here are today’s particulars.
Zobrist LF, Bryant DH, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Heyward RF, Russell SS, Baez 2B, Almora CF, Bote 3B
Ben Zobrist also makes his spring debut today. I don’t know whether having him lead off is a tryout for that spot, or whether it’s just to get him as many at-bats as possible.
Also, this is one of the first lineups that resembles what we might see in the regular season.
Taylor CF, Seager DH, Turner 3B, Kemp LF, Puig RF, Forsythe 2B, Barnes C, Solano SS, Segedin 1B
As noted above, Yu Darvish will start for the Cubs. Relievers on the Cubs list today: Brandon Morrow (also making his Cubs debut), Steve Cishek, Carl Edwards Jr., Cory Mazzoni, Randy Rosario and Alberto Baldonado.
Wilmer Font gets the call for the Dodgers. Others on the Dodgers pitching list today include Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia.
Today’s game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper and 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.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Please visit our SB Nation Dodgers site True Blue LA. If you do go there to interact with Dodgers 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.