Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. A’s – 03/04/12

Spring Training Game One: Cubs (0-0) vs. A’s (1-1)
Game Time – 2:05pm CST
Coverage – TV: None – Radio:
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Rodrigo Lopez (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Brandon McCarthy (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the Air! It’s the Cactus League opener…the Chicago Cubs versus the Oakland Athletics. The nearly five-month wait is over. The 2012 exhibition season begins today.

For the third spring in three years, the Chicago Cubs will have a new manager calling the shots. Dale Sveum takes over a team that is building for the future and Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will get to see the roster they assembled in action against another team for the first time.

While the Cubs will be playing their first game of the spring, the Athletics have already split a pair with the Seattle Mariners. The A’s and Mariners started early because they open the season in Tokyo (March 28-29). Bob Melvin is sending former Southsider, Brandon McCarthy to the hill for the first time this spring.

Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland will call their first Cactus League game from HoHoKam Park on Monday. Today’s broadcast can be heard on with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie calling the action.

Today’s exhibition game all starts with Rodrigo Lopez

Starting Lineup for Sunday, March 4 vs. Athletics

Alfonso Soriano – LF
Ian Stewart – 3B
Starlin Castro – SS
Bryan LaHair -1B
Marlon Byrd – CF
David DeJesus – RF
Jeff Baker – DH
Darwin Barney – 2B
Welington Castillo -C

Rodrigo Lopez will start the game and the other pitchers scheduled to throw on Sunday include Carlos Marmol, Dae-Eun Rhee, Rafael Dolis, Lendy Castillo and Marcos Mateo.

For those that thought Rodrigo Lopez’s days with the Cubs came to an end last season, well … Lopez signed a minor league contract with the Cubs over the winter that included a non-roster invite to big league camp. Lopez is competing with the likes of Chris Volstad, Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Casey Coleman, Jeff Samardzija and Andy Sonnanstine for the fourth and fifth spots in the Cubs’ rotation. Lopez is a serviceable pitcher but if he ends up in a Cubs’ uniform, other than during Spring Training, it will be another long year for the Chicago Cubs.

Rodrigo Lopez was acquired from the Braves last year for minor league lefty Ryan Buchter. Lopez posted a 6-6 record with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP in 26 games, 16 starts, for the Cubs. In 97 2/3 innings, Lopez gave up 116 hits, walked 29 and struck out 54.

Bob Melvin is sending his Opening Day starter to the hill this afternoon. Brandon McCarthy will get his first start of the spring. McCarthy posted a 9-9 record last year for Oakland. In 25 starts, McCarthy allowed 168 hits in 170 2/3 innings with 123 strikeouts and 25 walks (3.32 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP).

The A’s also plan on using Sean Doolittle, Brian Fuentes and Andrew Carignan in relief of McCarthy.

For new readers of the CCO, a game preview will launch two hours before each regular season game. For the second spring in a row, the CCO will publish game previews before each of the Cubs’ Cactus League games. With all 32 of the games being broadcast via radio (720 WGN, XM Radio,, television (WGN TV, Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network) and Internet (, the CCO will have a place for the Faithful to discuss each game.

When the regular season begins each preview (Talkin’ Cubs Live) will feature pitcher versus hitter stats, as well as other news, notes and tidbits. Talkin’ is one of the staples of the CCO, which gives the readers a place to discuss the game.

The CCO is in Arizona and will post live updates and photos, via Twitter, from HoHoKam Park today and for the next four games. Make sure to check the right side of the site for updates from the park … or you can follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO. A full recap of the day will be posted after the game.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver