Lefty Drew Smyly never got to pitch for the Cubs in his first go-round with the organization, but he’s been named to the regular season rotation and he’ll get his second start of the spring coming off of short rest after pitching Saturday. He looked good in two innings against the Padres, striking out two and allowing one hit with no walks. Look to see if he incorporates a changeup this afternoon, as that is a pitch the Cubs might like him to resuscitate after giving up on it a couple years back.
Nick Madrigal is still trying to put things together at the plate, where he has two doubles so far this spring. He has walked once and hasn’t struck out, so that part of his game is as advertised. He’ll lead off at second base in this one. Right fielder Seiya Suzuki has yet to collect a hit as he adjusts to MLB velo and strike zones, a process that might take a while.
Frank Schwindel is at first, Willson Contreras is catching, Jonathan Villar is the third baseman, and Jason Heyward is in center. Ian Happ is the DH, Clint Frazier is in left, and Nico Hoerner is the shortstop. With the exception of Patrick Wisdom being absent and Heyward hitting against a lefty, this is pretty close to a regular lineup.
That lefty is Marco Gonzales, a former first-round pick (No. 19 overall) by the Cardinals in 2013. The 30-year-old saw limited action in St. Louis but has become a solid starter for the Mariners since being traded for Tyler O’Neill in 2017. Despite a lack of swing-and-miss and a low groundball rate, Gonzales finds success by inducing soft contact. If he’s not completely dialed in, though, he can give up some dingers.
First pitch from Sloan Park is at 3:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score. Expect Eugenio Suárez to go yard at least once for his new team.