It’s a great day for a ballgame, let’s play two! The Cubs will compete in split-squad contests as they host the Guardians at Sloan Park and travel to Salt River Fields to face the Diamondbacks. Only the home game will be broadcast, though the live box score of the away game on MLB.com may feature more info than usual because the D-Backs actually supply Statcast data.
Miles Mastrobuoni leads off at second base in the “early” affair, followed by Ian Happ in left, Trey Mancini at first, and Yan Gomes at catcher. Having Gomes in the cleanup spot is more about getting him some ABs and then getting him back to his family a little earlier, so don’t expect to see him in that spot when games matter. Edwin Ríos is at third, Zach McKinstry is at short, Matt Mervis is the DH, Mike Tauchman is in center, and Yonathan Perlaza‘s thiccness will be on display in right.
Jameson Taillon gets his first live action in a Cubs uniform as the starter and we’ll get our first look at his new sweeper, which I’d imagine he’ll try to throw a little more than usual. I’d like to see him throw his sinker as well, even if it’s up in the zone, though that offering has really been dialed back. He told Rick Sutcliffe and Joe Girardi that he’ll still go to it if hitters are getting on the four-seam, so we’ll see.
Nico Hoerner leads off the second game at second base, then it’s Dansby Swanson at short and Eric Hosmer at first. I like that the double-play duo is being kept together to develop chemistry on the field and in the lineup, as this seems like the 1-2 punch David Ross will use in the regular season. Patrick Wisdom cleans up at third, David Bote is the DH, Nelson Velázquez is in right, and Pete Crow-Armstrong is in center. Brennen Davis is in left and Dom Nunez is behind the plate.
Update: Wisdom has been scratched due to left groin soreness, so Jake Slaughter will be in the lineup playing third.
Caleb Kilian will be the starter, so it’s unfortunate that we won’t get to see his cleaned-up mechanics. Some of his command and repeatability issues last season may have come as the result of a nagging knee injury, so being at full health could mean getting him back to the pitcher who dominated the AFL in 2021.
The home game begins at 2:05pm CT and can be seen on Marquee Sports Network, while the other contest starts at 2:10pm and can be followed online.
Here is how we'll line up against the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields. pic.twitter.com/NevzNaJuMm
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 27, 2023