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One game of baseball not enough of you? Let's play two! The D-backs will be covering both ends of Maricopa County today, heading west to face the Dodgers again, and kicking things off down in Mesa against the Cubs. All line-ups and pitchers, subject to change, naturally!
With all due respect to those involved, this does have the feel of the B-squad, doesn't it? Pennington is probably the only one among the position players guaranteed a 25-man roster spot come Opening Day. A little better among the pitchers, where Delgado and Hernandez should be present. Paterson should be in the mix for one of the extra bullpen spots in Australia, and I'm interested to see how Matt Stites performs, having had a good Fall League performance, once he adjusted to no longer having an appendix... But it's definitely the weaker roster overall, and if they can hold off an unsplit Dodgers squad, for the second day in a row, I'll be impressed.
This is the game which is actually going to be most followable, since it's being webcast online at dbacks.com, with Steve Berthiaume joining Greg Schulte to cover the opening of the Cubs' new park. Personally, this starts the clock on how long it'll be before the Cubs start whining about the inadequacy of the facilities and threatening to move to Florida if they don't get another tax-funded facility. My money is on 2026, if their discarding of Hohokam Stadium, a mere 12 years after it was rebuilt for them, is anything to go by.
Couple of changes from the team which beat the Dodgers in the opener yesterday: Chavez comes in as DH, and Didi gets his first start of the season at shortstop. While the position side looks close to full strength, once we get past Arroyo - probably three innings, though Brandon McCarthy pushed the boat out yesterday with a four-inning start! - the quality become more pre-seasonal. Brewer and De la Rosa should be at least slightly familiar from last season. Mateo might be interesting to keep an eye on, and I've heard good things about Simmons.
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