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Cubs vs. Mariners at Mesa preview, Tuesday 3/19, 3:05 CT

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This is the afternoon portion of a day/night split-squad doubleheader.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

MESA, Arizona — This is going to be a very odd baseball game.

I assure you that not a single Mariners fan cares about this game. The actual Mariners are going to open the 2018 regular season in a little more than 15 hours from the time this preview posts, against the Athletics in Tokyo. The players wearing Mariners uniforms this afternoon in Mesa are guys who didn’t get chosen to make the trip to Japan, and minor leaguers.

The Cubs are a split squad. But, as shown below, they’ll be playing most of their regulars in this game. Willson Contreras returns after missing a couple of games because he took a foul tip off his right hand last Thursday.

SITE NOTE: As noted above, today is a split-squad day. The other game, Cubs at Royals, will begin at 8:05 p.m. CT. I am attending the game in Mesa, and will write a recap of that game that will also serve as a preview for the night game. All the threads for both games will reside in the same StoryStream.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Baez SS, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Schwarber LF, Contreras C, Heyward RF, Happ CF, Darvish P

Nico Hoerner is once again on the reserves list for this afternoon’s game.

Mariners lineup:

Polo DH, Negron SS, White 1B, Fraley LF, Lewis RF, Lopes 2B, Nola C, Mariscal 3B, Miller CF

I will almost guarantee you that the only player in that lineup who you have heard of is Kristopher Negron, who was in spring camp with the Cubs in 2016 and who played that year at Iowa. Of the 10 starting players for the Mariners today, eight of them are on their 40-man roster or NRI list.

Yu Darvish will start for the Cubs. Cubs relievers this afternoon, in alphabetical order: Brad Brach, Tyler Chatwood, Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery.

Chatwood’s outing will be on two days’ rest. This, I think, clearly shows they are taking a look at what he could do as a short reliever.

Nabil Crismatt will go for the Mariners. I promise you I am not making that name up. Crismatt is a righthanded pitcher who has spent the last seven years in the Mets organization and split 2018 between Double-A and Triple-A. Seattle signed him as a minor-league free agent in January.

No TV today. This game will have an audio webcast on cubs.com.

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 Mariners site Lookout Landing. If you do go there to interact with Mariners 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 3 p.m. CT and 4:30 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.