Spring Training Game One: Cubs (0-0) vs. Diamondbacks (SS) (1-0)
- Game Time – 2:05pm CST
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV – Radio: Cubs.com
- Location – Cubs Park, Mesa
Jeff Samardzija (0-0, -.–, -.–) vs. Bronson Arroyo (0-0, -.–, -.–)
Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the Air! It’s the 2014 Cactus League Opener … the Chicago Cubs versus a split squad of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The long winter without baseball is over, the 2014 exhibition season begins today and a new era begins for the Cubs in Mesa with the first Spring Training game at new Cubs Park.
Rick Renteria makes his debut as Cubs’ skipper this afternoon. The front office replaced a majority of the coaching staff during the off-season with Chis Bosio, Lester Strode and Mike Borzello being the only holdovers that will be in uniform.
The Cubs will spend a majority of the next month in Arizona. The Cubs play 36 exhibition games (six split squads) with only one day off (March 13). Half of the spring roster will make the annual trip to Las Vegas for two games against the Mets at Cashman Field and the exhibition season wraps with a pair of games against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will call today’s opener on WGN-TV. Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer broadcast 720 WGN Radio’s first game on Friday. When Len is not on the TV side and Hughes and Coomer are not on WGN, Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie, the Smokies’ play-by-play man will call the spring action on Cubs.com.
Tom Ricketts and Mayor Scott Smith will throw out the first pitch this afternoon. And the first game at Cubs Park is sold out.
The first game of the spring and at Cubs Park all starts with Jeff Samardzija …
Jeff Samardzija was 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP last season. In his first full year as a starter in the big leagues, Samardzija struck out 214 batters with 78 walks in 213 2/3 innings.
Jeff Samardzija is saying he is able to shutout the trade rumors and is prepared to have a big season. The front office needs Samardzija to pitch well in order to maximize his value or provide enough clarity to close the gap in their negotiations with him.
Wesley Wright, Alberto Cabrera, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon and Jose Veras are scheduled to follow Jeff Samardzija this afternoon.
Rick Renteria announced the starting lineup for today’s game on Wednesday.
- Emilio Bonifacio – 2B
- Luis Valbuena – 3B
- Starlin Castro – SS
- Anthony Rizzo – 1B
- Junior Lake – CF
- Welington Castillo – C
- Justin Ruggiano – LF
- Mike Olt – DH
- Darnell McDonald – RF
Renteria confirmed he would be using a designated hitter early in the Cactus League games.
The Cubs will see a familiar face this afternoon in Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo has owned the Cubs over the years and will face them for the first time in a D-Backs uniform.
Arizona is expecting to challenge the Dodgers for the NL West crown and Arroyo was added to the mix after Kevin Towers was not able to land his other off-season targets.
For new readers of the CCO, a game preview will be posted one hour prior to the scheduled first pitch of every regular season game. For the fourth spring in a row, the CCO will publish game previews for each of the Cactus League games. With a majority of the 36 games being broadcast via radio (720 WGN, SiriusXM Radio, Cubs.com, MLB.com), television (WGN-TV, Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network) and Internet (Cubs.com, MLB.tv), the CCO will have a place to discuss each and every spring game.
When the regular season begins, each game preview (Talkin’ Cubs Live) will feature hitter’s stats versus the day’s starting pitchers, FIP for the starting pitchers and BABIP for the hitters as well as other news and notes related to the day’s game. Talkin’ has been one of the mainstays for ChicagoCubsOnline since the 2006 season and provides our readers not only with info on the game but a place to discuss the action on the field.
The CCO is in Arizona for the first few games of the spring, our tenth straight Spring Training. Updates from the park will be posted on Twitter so make sure to check the CCO’s Twitter feed or follow us on Twitter: @TheCCO. A full recap and observations from the park will be posted after the game.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …