The Cubs will spend Easter Sunday at Sloan Park with the Mariners. Before the afternoon exhibition game, the focus around Cubs’ camp will be on Jake Arrieta’s bullpen session. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to throw his side session and if all goes as planned he will start Tuesday in what will be his last tune-up before Opening Day.
Sports Illustrated predicted Joe Maddon’s team will represent the National League in the Fall Classic when it put the Cubs on one of the four regional covers for the annual baseball preview. Sports Illustrated has the Astros beating the Cubs in The Series.
SI pointed out the Cubs are the pre-season favorite by most to win it all this year. And the Cubs missing the post-season “would be deeply shocking” even in the stacked NL Central. Sports Illustrated explained the Cubs are built to dominate in the regular season, but the same team that could lead the NL in runs scored might have problems scoring in the post-season.
With Opening Day just eight days away, the pre-season hype is almost over. It will be up to the players to ‘Embrace the Target’ that has gotten bigger this spring and make all the predictions become reality.
Cubs-Angels Pitching Matchups
Mike Scioscia hasn’t made it official, but Garrett Richards is expected to get the ball on Opening Night against the Cubs. Richards was 15-12 in 32 starts for the Angels last season with a 3.65 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 3.86 FIP. Opening Night would be Richards’ first career start against the Cubs. He has faced the Cubs twice, both times in a relief role, for a total of two innings.
According to Jeff Fletcher, Andrew Heaney will likely get the ball in game two.
With Jake Arrieta scheduled for the opener and Jon Lester lined up to follow him in Maddon’s Opening Day rotation, the pitching matchups for the first two games:
- Opening Night – April 4 – Jake Arrieta vs. Garrett Richards
- April 5 – Jon Lester vs. Andrew Heaney
Jeff Samardzija faced the Cubs for the first time Saturday in a Giants’ uniform. Samardzija had a good outing against the Cubs in what ended up as his best start of the spring.
The Cubs and Samardzija were interested in a reunion over the winter. The Cubs signed John Lackey and Samardzija took his talents to San Francisco for five years and $90 million.
Samardzija spent time Saturday catching up with the Cubs’ beat writers.
Addison Russell hit a homer off Samardzija on Saturday. The two players will always be connected in Cubs history. Samardzija talked about the trade with Patrick Mooney that sent him to Oakland for Russell.
According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs and Samardzija were not “really close to a reunion this off-season.” Samardzija said there were talks and explained, “From where we were at, it takes a lot more to get a deal done. I think Theo had an idea of what they wanted and what they were looking for this year.”
Samardzija thinks it would be cool if he was able to face the Cubs in a post-season series.
The Cubs and Giants play seven games in the regular season. With two series against the Giants, it’s likely the Cubs will get two more shots at Samardzija this year.
Kyle Schwarber’s Windshield
The Cubs sold the windshield Kyle Schwarber broke early last month during batting practice for $900 in a charity auction Friday at Sloan Park. Grant DePorter bought the windshield and it will be displayed at the Chicago Sports Museum adjacent to Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch at Water Tower according to the Tribune.
The Cubs wives raised $15,000 at Friday’s auction according to Carrie Muskat that benefited Paz de Cristo Outreach Center in Mesa.
News and Notes
• Anthony Rizzo played in all but two of the Cubs regular season games last season. According to Carrie Muskat, Maddon expects Rizzo to play about the same amount of games this year. Rizzo batted .298/.413/.542 with 24 doubles, two triples and 16 home runs for a .955 OPS before the break. In the second half, Rizzo hit .255/.355/.478 with 14 doubles, one triple and 15 home runs for a .833 OPS.
• John Lackey is finding his groove according to the Tribune. Lackey made his last big league start of Spring Training on Saturday. Lackey will get his work in Thursday in a minor league game. Ryan Williams is scheduled to start Thursday against the Mets in Las Vegas.
• The Cubs see Trevor Cahill as the Ben Zobrist in their bullpen according to Patrick Mooney.
• Paul Sullivan reported the Cubs are glad to give long-time rivalry with Cardinals a much-needed face lift.
• Addison Russell’s confidence grows as he readily meets life’s challenges according to Mark Gonzales.
• Ascendant Cubs pose a challenge in Giants’ World Series quest according to Henry Schulman.
• The Score reported violators of tobacco ban face additional discipline from Major League Baseball.
• The Cubs spring attendance at Sloan Park has been astonishing this year. The Cubs are averaging more than 15,000 per game (15,012). There are three left on the schedule (Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday) and the team has already drawn 180,148 this spring.
• The Reds signed RHP Ross Ohlendorf to a one-year contract. Ohlendorf opted out of his minor league contract with the Royals late last week. The Cubs actually faced Ohlendorf last Sunday at Sloan Park. Terms of the deal are unknown.
• Joe Maddon was scheduled to meet with the team’s geeks Saturday to discuss lineup combinations according to Carrie Muskat. The Cubs’ skipper plans on batting Addison Russell seventh or eighth in the order.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Ryan Roberts
2013 – Cubs selected Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Blue Jays
2012 – Cubs released Jason Jaramillo
2011 – Cubs released Carlos Silva after he refused to accept assignment to minor leagues. Silva verbally attacked pitching coach Mark Riggins and the team on his way out the door.
2004 – Cubs released Jamey Wright
2002 – Cubs traded Jose Cueto, Ryan Jorgenson, Julian Tavarez and Dontrelle Willis to the Marlins for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement.
1990 – Junior Lake, born
1983 – Cubs returned Sandy Wihtol to the Indians
1973 – Padres purchased Danny Breeden from the Cubs
1965 – Cubs purchased Bill Faul from the Tigers
1963 – Drew Hall, born
1951 – Dick Ruthven, born
1950 – Vic Harris, born
1950 – Lynn McGlothen, born
1932 – Wes Covington, born
1915 – Newt Kimball, born
1911 – Walter Stephenson, born
1905 – Johnny Gill, born
1902 – The nickname ‘Cubs’ was coined by the Chicago Daily News in an unbylined column noted that “Frank Selee will devote his strongest efforts on the team work of the new Cubs this year.” It took several years before the new nickname was fully accepted.
1882 – Bill Collins, born
1875 – George Magoon, born