Albert Almora Jr. makes his third appearance in the leadoff spot this spring as the Cubs take on
Daniel Mengden Paul Blackburn and the A’s. All three of Almora’s starts have come against right-handed pitchers, though that’s less strategic than it is out of necessity. He’s been alternating with Ian Happ in an audition for the regular-season role, with Ben Zobrist expected to join the race once his stiff back allows.
Jed Hoyer admitted recently that the team may not have the leadoff spot figured out until well into the regular season, but it’s a two-man race at this point. Kyle Schwarber could possibly get some reps there, but his name was conspicuously absent from Hoyer’s recent discussion on the topic.
Anyway, back to today’s actual lineup…
Javy Baez will bat and play second Wednesday, followed by Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell. Jason Heyward is handling his regular duties in right, Chris Gimenez is behind the plate, and Efren Navarro is the DH. Peter Bourjos gets another shot in left and David Bote is once again in there at third.
Where is Kris Bryant? He was scratched from Monday’s start with an illness and it’s still really early, but it’d be nice to see the team’s best hitter getting at least a little run.
Kyle Hendricks will make the start and Mike Montgomery is slated to follow him in a piggyback starter role. We could well see Monty flexed into a “normal” starting role moving forward, which would make a good deal of sense now that Jon Lester has been named the Opening Day starter.
First pitch from Sloan Park is set for 2:05 CT and can be heard on MLB.com. You may also want to check on @realcubsinsider on Twitter for live updates, pics, and videos from the game.