Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Angels – 02/23/13

Spring Training Game One: Cubs (0-0) vs. Angels (SS) (0-0)

  • Game Time – 2:05pm CST
  • Coverage – TV: None – Radio: 720 WGN
  • Location – Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe

Travis Wood (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Jerome Williams (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the Air! It’s the Cactus League Opener … the Chicago Cubs versus the Los Angeles Angels. The long winter is over and the 2013 exhibition season begins today.

The Cubs’ long exhibition season kicks off this afternoon in Tempe against an Angels split squad. The Cubs have 39 games on the schedule between today and March 30 that includes trips to Las Vegas and Tucson, a practice game against a WBC team, five split squad days and three night games in Arizona. The Cubs wrap up the pre-season with a pair of games in Houston on March 29 and 30 before the 2013 opener in Pittsburgh on April 1.

Len Kasper will join Keith Moreland in the 720 WGN radio booth on Saturday, filling in for Pat Hughes. Kasper and Moreland will call the spring opener in Tempe. Kasper and the Smokies’ play-by-play man, Mick Gillispie will call games on for the third straight spring beginning with Sunday’s opener at HoHoKam against the Giants.

The first game of the spring all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood is coming off a decent first year in a Cubs’ uniform. After a horrible spring and a serviceable start in Iowa, Wood was called up to the big league team and finished the year with a 6-13 record in 26 starts with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP (119 strikeouts and 54 walks). Wood showed a lot of improvement over his last seven starts and posted a 2-2 record with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (35 strikeouts, 16 walks and 30 hits over 41 1/3 innings). Wood is seen as the favorite to land the last spot in the Cubs’ rotation, and his quest begins today.

Dale Sveum announced his lineup for the spring opener on Friday afternoon, and this is how the Cubs will lineup for the first game of 2013:

  1. Logan Watkins – 2B
  2. Dave Sappelt – CF
  3. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
  4. Scott Hairston – RF
  5. Luis Valbuena – 3B
  6. Welington Castillo – C
  7. Brett Jackson – LF
  8. Brent Lillibridge – SS
  9. Darnell McDonald – DH

More of the regulars should be in Sunday’s lineup against the Giants at HoHoKam Park.

Dale Sveum begins his second spring as Cubs’ skipper today, and a lot has changed since Rodrigo Lopez started the Cactus League opener a year ago.

The Cubs will face a former Cub this afternoon in Jerome Williams. Williams has resurrected his career with the Angels after the Cubs designated him for assignment in September of 2006. The Cubs acquired Williams, along with David Aardsma, from the Giants for LaTroy Hawkins in May of 2005. After being DFA’s by the Cubs in 2006, Williams spent time with the A’s, Nationals, Twins, Dodgers and A’s again before signing with the Angels in 2011. Williams posted a 6-8 record last year with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP and is competing for a spot in Mike Scioscia’s rotation.

Mike Scoiscia voiced his displeasure with beginning the Cactus League schedule with a split squad day. While half of his team hosts the Cubs, the other half of his roster travels to Scottsdale to take on the Giants. Brad Mills will make the start against the defending World Series Champs.

The Cubs will not face Albert Pujols. Pujols is recovering from minor knee surgery in October and the Angels are targeting for him to be in Cactus League games by mid-March.

For new readers of the CCO, a game preview will be posted two hours before each regular season game. For the third spring in a row, the CCO will publish game previews before each of the Cubs’ Cactus League games. With a majority of the 39 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 our readers a place to discuss that day’s game.

The CCO is in Arizona and will post live updates and photos, via Twitter, from Tempe Diablo Stadium today … and for the next four games. Make sure to check the CCO’s Twitter feed or follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO. A full recap of the day will be posted after the game.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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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