The Cubs are playing split-squad games today, with most of the regulars facing the Mariners at Sloan Park. Ben Zobrist leads off at second base, Javy Báez is at short, Anthony Rizzo is at first, and Kris Bryant handles third.
Kyle Schwarber is in left, Willson Contreras is behind the plate, Jason Heyward is in right, and Ian Happ is in center. From what we’re seeing, it’s looking as though Zobrist and Albert Almora Jr. will be splitting leadoff duties, with Happ batting near the bottom of the order when he’s in the lineup.
We’ve also seen Javy batting in the two-hole with Bryant at cleanup a couple times lately, which is the reverse of what had been going on earlier in the spring. You normally want your best overall hitter up higher in the order, but Bryant being healthy and having more opportunities to drive in runs is never a bad thing.
Yu Darvish will be looking to build on his previous starts, each of which has seen small improvements. His velocity has been great the whole time, but he’s had some control issues and has taken a while to sort of find his groove each time out. The stuff is there, though, and he’s showing signs of being the ace the Cubs had hoped they were getting last year.
Scheduled relievers for this one are Mike Montgomery, Carl Edwards Jr., Tyler Chatwood, and Brad Brach. As you can see, this is basically a regular-season affair. And with half the team taking on the Royals later this evening, the backups will not come in as early or be as plentiful.
First pitch is at 3:05pm CT and can be heard on MLB.com