Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 02/25/09

Spring Training Game One: Cubs (0-0) vs. Dodgers (0-0)
Game Time – 2:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: None – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 178
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Jeff Samardzija (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Claudio Vargas (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the Air! It’s the Cactus League opener…the Chicago Cubs versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. The five month wait is over, the 2009 exhibition season starts today.

Lou Piniella and Joe Torre will run out many of their regulars in the first game of the spring. Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Geovany Soto and Derrek Lee are expected to play on Wednesday against a Dodgers’ lineup that will feature Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Juan Pierre, Casey Blake and James Loney.

Today also marks the beginning of a new chapter in Dodgers’ history….this year will be the organizations first full spring in Arizona.

Lou Piniella’s crew finished last spring’s schedule with a 15-15-2 record. This year the Cubs will play seven additional games, most in franchise history due to the WBC. Outside of the Arizona part of the schedule, the Cubs will play split squad games against the White Sox in Las Vegas and two in the Bronx at the new Yankee Stadium on the final weekend before Opening Day in Houston on April 6.

Jeff Samardzija will begin his bid today to win the fifth spot in the Cubs’ rotation. Samardzija turned a lot of heads last season after he made his big league debut. ‘The Shark‘ posted a 1-0 record with a save and a 2.28 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 26 games (27 2/3 innings with 15 walks and 25 strikeouts). Samardzija is scheduled to toss the first two innings then turn the game over to Mitch Atkins for the next two.

Samardzija has repeated over and over again this spring he wants to begin the season in the Cubs’ rotation….now it’s time for him to put his money where his mouth is.

The Cubs will see a familiar face in a new uniform…Claudio Vargas. The former Brewer is slated to start the game before turning the ball over to Eric Milton. Joe Torre has Ramon Troncoso penciled in after Milton.

Vargas pitched 11 games for the Mets last season after posting an 11-6 record for Milwaukee in 2007 with a save (5.09 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 29 games, 23 starts). Vargas is 1-2 in 7 career games, 3 starts, against the Cubs with an 8.02 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.

Lou Piniella and Joe Torre agreed on Tuesday to use a designated hitter in Wednesday’s opener.

Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson and Milton Bradley are slated to start against the Brewers on Thursday at HoHoKam behind Sean Marshall.

For new readers of the CCO, a game preview will launch two hours before each regular season game (Most spring games are previewed, but not all). The previews feature pitcher versus hitter stats, as well as other tidbits and ‘Talkin’ gives the readers a place to comment during the game. We are working out the bugs on a new feature for Talkin’ that should be ready by Opening Day that will help with the commenting process.

In order for your comments to post without a delay, you must sign up for an account (it takes up to 24 hours for a new account to be approved) and remember to sign-in before commenting.

Also, there will be live updates from HoHoKam posted in the Twitter section of the site on the right side bar under the ads. As soon as the lineup posts at the park, the CCO will post on Twitter.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball…

Quote of the Day

"The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare." - Bobby Knight
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