It’s rainy and cold in the Phoenix area Thursday. In fact, there’s a severe thunderstorm warning out at this writing:
Just two days from now, the Cubs will begin the Cactus League season at Sloan Park against the Brewers. And now we know not only the starting pitcher for that game, but also for Sunday against the Giants at Scottsdale:
After Jen-Ho Tseng starts Saturday's Cactus League opener for #Cubs Tyler Chatwood starts Sunday.— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) February 21, 2019
Jon Lester? Kyle Hendricks? Jose Quintana? Yu Darvish? Cole Hamels?
Those guys, you likely won’t see until late next week:
Cubs starting pitchers will make their spring debuts toward the end of next week. might be the same for Cishek and Strop, perhaps later.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) February 21, 2019
The Cubs did this last year, too, saving the regular five-man rotation at least one full “turn” in the spring rotation. They’ll still get their work in on the back fields and will still be able to ramp up to be ready to go seven innings by Opening Day. There’s certainly no need to run those guys out on what could still be chilly, if sunny, days; the high temperature in Mesa Saturday, in sunshine, is forecast to be 54 degrees.
It will be interesting to see Tyler Chatwood throw on Sunday. He’s supposedly been working on mechanical adjustments which will reduce his number of walks this year. If that happens, perhaps Chatwood could be a useful part of the bullpen this year, or maybe they can trade him. You can be sure there will be scouts watching Chatwood at Scottsdale Stadium Sunday. He’s not likely to throw more than two innings no matter how well he does.
Nothing’s been announced past Sunday, but it’s likely that guys like Mike Montgomery, Alec Mills and Duane Underwood Jr. could get starts before the regular rotation begins their turns. The Cubs have a split-squad date Monday, vs. the Padres at home and Dodgers on the road, which will give one extra pitcher a chance to start.
I’m ready for baseball games to begin. You?