Spring Training Game Three: Cubs (2-0) vs. Dodgers (0-1-1)
- Game Time – 2:05pm CST
- Coverage – TV: MLB.TV (Dodgers) – Radio: Cubs.com
- Location – Camelback Ranch, Glendale
Carlos Villanueva (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Chad Billingsley (0-0, -.–/-.–)
Dale Sveum and the Chicago Cubs make the trip from Mesa to Glendale to face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. The Cubs will shoot for their third win in as many Spring Training games this afternoon behind Carlos Villanueva.
The Cubs have begun the exhibition season on a positive note. While wins and losses are not important, the team as a whole has played good ball. The pitching staff has thrown strikes, for the most part, and the defense has been very good.
It is still very early in the spring and there is a long way to go before Opening Day, but the performances over the first two games have been encouraging to say the least. Again, the wins and losses do not matter, but the way the Cubs play the game this time of year does.
Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie will call this afternoon’s game on Cubs.com.
This afternoon all starts with Carlos Villanueva …
Carlos Villanueva makes his Cubs’ debut this afternoon. Villanueva signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Cubs in the off-season with the thoughts of becoming a full-time starter. Villanueva is reportedly battling Travis Wood for the final spot in the Cubs rotation, but Wood appears to be the favorite for the final spot due to the way he finished last season and Villanueva’s experience pitching out of the bullpen.
With the uncertainty surrounding Matt Garza, Villanueva could end up in the starting rotation at the beginning of the year if Garza does not return soon from his strained lat.
Carlos Villanueva was 7-7 in 38 games, 16 starts, for the Blue Jays a year ago with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP (122 strikeouts, 46 walks).
Dale Sveum will run out the following lineup behind Villanueva this afternoon.
- Luis Valbuena – 2B
- Darwin Barney – DH
- Nate Schierholtz – RF
- Scott Hairston – CF
- Brad Nelson – 1B
- Darnell McDonald – LF
- Welington Castillo – C
- Junior Lake – 3B
- Alberto Gonzalez – SS
The Cubs will face Chad Billingsley, who will be making his first start since last August. Billingsley was in the middle of a solid season (10-9 in 25 starts with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP) before a partial ligament tear in his elbow ended his year. Billingsley opted not to have Tommy John surgery and elected instead to have platelet-rich plasma injections … and the procedure appears to have worked.
Chris Capuano will piggyback Billingsley this afternoon. Capuano is fighting for a spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Spring Training News Bits
Dale Sveum told the media on Sunday that with the way his Opening Day lineup appears to be stacking up, Starlin Castro will likely hit in the two-hole behind David DeJesus. According to multiple reports, Sveum is leaning toward a top four of DeJesus, Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano to start the season. Sveum told the Sun-Times that is how he plans to go through the season … unless there is a trade.
Matt Garza has not thrown since last Sunday and was shut down exactly seven days ago. The Cubs have not scheduled any throwing sessions for Garza and are awaiting medical clearance. Chris Bosio told the Sun-Times that Garza is doing much better, and Sveum said Garza is getting better every day when he was asked about his progress on Sunday. The Cubs are still not anticipating Garza missing the start of the season.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …