First Cubs Practice Game Done, Time For Overreactions

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This day has been marked on our calendar for some time, but the lead up to the Cactus League opener hasn’t seemed as tense given all the shenanigans that have transpired over the offseason.  However, now that we hear Len Kasper’s voice on GameDay Audio again, it is in fact the most wonderful time of the year again!

You may notice that the lineup is mostly devoid of the regulars we expect on Opening Day, but that’s fine because these are tune-up contests and don’t count in the standings except for bragging rights.  There are some goals for each one of these games, though, including auditions for lineup spots:

I think Ian Happ makes sense sense because he’s got quick feet and is a switch hitter.  Of course, we know what happened with the Kyle Schwarber experiment, and I imagine the Cubs will avoid doing that again, or at least they won’t try it on a regular basis.  Albert Almora makes sense as a contact guy against left-handed pitching, though I feel like he made some progress against right-handed pitchers as well.  I get that many fans and pundits think Almora is too swing-happy and would get eaten alive by righties, but I am a bit more bullish on his abilities than most.

There are no perfect prototypical leadoff types on the Cubs right now.  With a 2-3-4 of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and probably Willson Contreras behind whoever does lead off, it makes sense to find someone who can get on base a lot, but it’s hard to figure out who the regular leadoff guy should be.  Maybe that spot will change with the matchup, who knows?  It might even be a guy like Ben Zobrist, who may see a reduced role now that he’s a bit older, but could still provide a quality at-bat.

Many of the regulars are easing into the swing of things, and Zobrist has been taking it easy as a precaution as well.

We actually have some game video, courtesy of a nice play by Tommy La Stella (who should make the roster):

You can see that the Cubs (along with much of MLB) is wearing the Stoneman Douglas caps to honor the victims of the senseless tragedy in Florida last week.  La Stella also happened to get the Cubs the early lead with a nice 2-out RBI single.  Happ also apparently made a really sweet defensive play in center field to save at least two runs, so we know he can handle that position with data point n = 1.

That was all the action for the big guns as the Cubs would ride the reserves for the rest of the game.  The backups had a few pretty decent defensive plays, including a strike’em out/throw’em out double play to end the seventh.  Alas, the offense went on a snooze, and the Cubs are now 0-for-spring…in the first game, so it’s all good.  Get’em tomorrow at Sloan!

I also just realized that Opening Day happens during our spring break, so I won’t have to miss it.  Yay!


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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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