#Cubs lineup and early notes

NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta makes his first spring start on Wednesday when the Cubs play host to the Indians at Sloan Park. Cleveland will counter with their Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Heyward RF

Zobrist 2B

Rizzo 1B

Montero C

Russell SS

Candelario 3B

Vogelbach DH

Perez LF

Injury updates: Tommy La Stella is day to day with a strained right calf. La Stella said he felt tightness in his leg prior to Monday’s game.
“We don’t anticipate it to be serious but he’s not going to play now,” manager Joe Maddon said.

*Cubs hitting coach John Mallee has a significant bruise on his left forearm after being hit by a foul ball during Monday’s game at Sloan Park.

*Outfielder Matt Szczur, sidelined with a strained oblique, is making progress. Outfielder Matt Murton, who needed to have his appendix removed, is increasing his activities each day.
*Looking ahead, Jon Lester will start Thursday in Peoria, Ariz., against the Mariners, and John Lackey will make his Cubs debut Friday against the Reds at Sloan Park.
*And a reminder: Let’s keep the comments civil, and the discussion on Cubs baseball.


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Two questions.
Don’t the Cubs have a major need for a quality starter and short man for the late innings? Lackey is 37 and last years relievers seemed unreliable to me.
Also, Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, Russell, and Baez combined for 33% of their at bats as strike outs. That is never good. What happens if these guys never get bat control and the Cubs have a lineup of streaky strikeout kings?

John, the opposite of the 33% strikeouts is the OBP, have you checked out the OBP’s of the guys you mention?
Starters, this fan has never seen a Cubs team this deep in quality Starters. There is a reason Management says there is never enough Pitching.
The Bullpen has been awesome after the All Star break the last two years. I look for it to be even stronger this year.

Aloha John, those are concerns. At the same time, the young folks you brought up are just that, young and having to make adjustments to major league pitching. I am excited to see what happens this year. Take Clemente for example: in his first 5yrs he only hit above .300 once, then in his last 13yrs he hit over .300 12 times. Now that may not be the best example as he did not strike out a lot but it took him a few years to get into his groove. I would mention it was unprecedented to have so many rookies on the field at one time on the same team! You just do not see that too often. But this team has been in rebuilding mold and they want to have an organization that can compete for years, not just a single season. To your other question about pitching. As great as it is to have youth, you also need veterans. Look at Greg Maddux who won 100+ more games from age 37 to 42. Again, maybe not the best example but he contributed much more than just winning games. I think Lackey was a very good pick up and for the price and duration of his contract will be a positive for the younger folks in the bullpen. Now, I have been an advocate of Sonny Gray. I would love if the FO could pull off a trade of him soon because they would have him under contract for so many years. But in the meantime: Arrieta/Lester/Lackey/Hendricks is not shabby. I hope Hammel can go the whole year but look at the bullpen too. You can have Warren, Cahill, Wood, and Richard come in and start for you. Maddon his put together not just “One” lineup but multiple lineups so as to cover many bases. Hang in there now. Mahalo!

Just a question for Carrie. 😀 Why are the players allowed to wear T-Shirts that say “Try Not To Suck” with Maddon’s black framed glasses but we are not allowed to use the saying on the blog?

From a mental or psychological perspective on Maddon’s phrase, it would seem the Cubs have no longer have anyone on the roster whose performance would suck because his head was not in the game or because he didn’t want to be traded near a trade deadline. Thus, Joe’s interchangeable lineups and substitutions should average 2 wins out of every 3 games unless someone seriously under-performs. Concentrate on the WAR formula. Stay positive. See me on road trips. I’ll be the one in the blue cap, Brother.

Because your comment was directed at someone, and this blog is not for personal attacks.

Got it! 😀 Jasper Jiggs attacks and bullies me continuously and I am not allowed to defend myself. Interesting concept.

White, your really giving me a bad reputation. I just want to talk baseball. You are being very mean and nasty.

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