Spring Training Game Thirty-Nine: Cubs (18-17-2) vs. Yankees (23-10-1)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Channel 176
Location – Yankee Stadium, The Bronx
Rich Harden (0-0, 7.71/1.50) vs. A.J. Burnett (3-0, 3.72/1.29)
Countdown to Opening Day…2 days. Lou Piniella’s crew will complete the longest Spring Training in the history of the organization later today. Following this afternoon’s game the Cubs will have played 39 exhibition games, counting the match-up against Team Japan, nearly a quarter of full big league season.
Spring Training is nearly over and there should be a lot of first pitch swinging today.
Look for Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez to be in the starting lineup. Both were late scratches on Friday night due to the bad weather and poor field conditions. Piniella said the decision was solely for precautionary reasons.
The ‘Battle for the Bullpen‘ will be settled today. The Cubs are shopping Chad Gaudin but his performance and price tag have “scared off some potential suitors” according to the Tribune. Angel Guzman wants to stay in the organization but has “received plenty of interest” from other teams.
David Patton is expected to pitch in a Major League stadium for the first time in his career. According to the Tribune, Patton is penciled in for two innings of work. After a week full of disappointing performances from every starting pitcher with the exception of Carlos Zambrano, Lou Piniella needs a solid outing from Rich Harden today. Harden has struggled, but at least he has pitched this spring.
In three starts (9 1/3 innings) Harden has allowed eight runs on nine hits (four home runs) with five walks and eight strikeouts.
The Cubs offense will see a familiar face in A.J. Burnett. The oft injured (unless it’s a contract year) and very talented righty has yet to pitch to his ability. If he does in Yankee pinstripes, the contract he signed will end up being a bargain.
Burnett dominated the Cubs on a Friday night North of the Border last season.
This spring, A.J. Burnett has allowed nine runs, eight earned, on 17 hits in five starts (19 1/3 innings)…five walks, eight strikeouts and four home runs.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….