The Cubs are playing a rare Cactus League night game after getting an equally rare day off, all of which has thrown my schedule for a loop. Between Team USA’s late starts in WBC competition and the time change pushing this one back an hour later than it would have been, the cranky old man in me is getting ready to shake his fist. Alas, it’s nice to have baseball back in whatever form it takes.
Justin Steele is on the mound tonight for his second official start and third overall since the one against Team Canada last week didn’t count. The lefty got roughed up a bit, eh, giving up a two-run double to organization-mate Jared Young after walking the two previous hitters. Steele’s control was off a bit in the early going as well, punctuated by a passed ball and a wild pitch.
After a clean 2nd inning, Steele allowed a leadoff homer in the 3rd before getting a lineout and being lifted due to his pitch count. He ended up with two strikeouts, but the lack of grounders was a big change from his very efficient first outing. That was probably a matter of dialing in some of his other pitches after using just fastball and slider against the Padres.
Nico Hoerner is back in his regular spot at the top of the order and playing second, with Ian Happ once again batting second in left and Dansby Swanson at short. It looks like that’s an order David Ross is seriously considering. Trey Mancini is at first, Cody Bellinger is in center, Eric Hosmer is the DH, Patrick Wisdom is in right, and Edwin Ríos is at third. Yan Gomes bats ninth behind the plate.
First pitch from Sloan Park is at 8:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 14, 2023