View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



March 2017



The Last Monday Before it Begins

Written by , Posted in General

This will be the last game that I watch before opening night on Sunday so I thought I’d write the morning article while I watch the game and see what thoughts pop out and share them spontaneously.

The first thing I notice is the starting lineup of RF Schwarber, 3B Bryant, 1B Rizzo, 2B Baez, C Contreras, LF Happ, CF Almora, P Lester, SS Young.

While the opening day lineup will also contain SS Addison Russell, 2B/OF Ben Zobrist, and OF Jason Heyward, I would guess that 95% of the rest of the teams would take tonight’s starting lineup as their regular roster.

What went through my mind is, “pretty nice little lineup” which of course reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from Old School which I have linked for your amusement. In the clip, Frank (Will Farrell) tries to avoid the peer pressure put on him at a frat party.

Interestingly, Schwarber is in right field and I believe I have read that Maddon plans to use him in right on occasion depending on the ballpark, with perhaps Pittsburgh being an example of a optimal right field for Kyle. Thoughts on this idea? I think I lean toward the side that would prefer that Schwarber get comfortable at one position.

Let’s enjoy the game together.

  • Top 1st – First inning starts with a Schwarber strike out then Bryant goes the opposite way for a double. I love his easy power to the opposite side. Oh look, Rizzo is up with an RBI opportunity in the first inning, that is going to occur A LOT this year. Indians pitcher Danny Salazar strikes out Rizzo and gets Baez to ground out to end the inning. For those of you that play fantasy baseball, I like Salazar as a mid to late round starter.

This is Lester’s last start before opening day and I’m hoping for five or six easy innings. Want another sign that spring training results don’t mean anything? The Cubs are batting their pitcher and the Indians are using a DH.

  • Bottom 1st – Lester starts the first getting Ramirez to ground out and then strikes out Lindor. First pitch popup by Santana ends the inning quickly.
  • 2nd – I really like Ian Happ. I hope the Cubs find a way to keep him in the organization long-term. Happ walks and Almora singles to put pressure on the Indians again. However, Salazar strikes out Lester and Young. This continual pressure will wear down the pitchers quickly throughout the season. The Indians inning starts with a lead-off double from Encarnacion. What a great pickup for the Indians. Shallow fly ball to right by Guyer shows Schwarber’s limitations (coming in on shallow fly balls) and the Indians have them on the corner with nobody out. So much for an easy outing for Jon. Maybe a stressful outing is good for you?? Indians 3, Cubs 0.
  • 3rd – Salazar looking good. Lester settles back down. Indians 3, Cubs 0.
  • 4th – Willson hits his fourth of the spring though I think as far as he hit it, it should have counted for two. Happ will need to work hard on the off-speed stuff this year. Indians 3, Cubs 1.
  • 5th – Lightning has started off in the distance. Any rain delay will end the post. It’s really hard to focus when the games don’t count. As long as everyone stays healthy, it’s a victory to me (and I’m not just saying that because Almonte hits a homer increasing the Indians lead). Indians 4, Cubs 1.
  • 6th – Willson! Willson! Willson! Lester drives in a run but Schwarber strikes out leaving two runners on. Lester finishes strong striking out Encarnacion and Guyer. Indians 4, Cubs 3.
  • 7th – News flash, Andrew Miller is really good. Another news flash, Almora is really good in the outfield as he runs down a long fly ball to help Hector Rondon. Wade Davis replaces Rondon to get the final out of the inning. Looks like a scheduled replacement, no injury or struggles for Rondon. Indians 4, Cubs 3.
  • 8th – Quiet inning as the Cubs go down in order and the Indians get one hit around a strikeout and two fly outs from Pedro Strop. Indians 4, Cubs 3.
  • 9th – Last chance for the Cubs and the bus must already be warmed up because they go down in order to drop the game to the Indians 3-4. Good news is that the Cubs still won game seven of the World Series even though they went 0-2-1 against the Indians this preseason and good news is that we’re one day closer to opening day.

Elsewhere around the league on Monday:

  • Giants workhorse, Madison Bumgarner, went seven strong innings against Cincinnati to show that he is ready to start the season.
  • Nationals outfielder, and future New York Yankee, Bryce Harper hit his league leading seventh and eighth home runs against the Mets.
  • Lots of discussion about Yadier Molina and his deadline to have an extension done before opening day or the threat that he will become a free agent at the end of the season. An interesting series of tweets from Jon Heyman claiming that he should be the highest paid catcher per season. I certainly would pay Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy way more than Yadier, but to each his own. Sounds like the two sides are making progress toward a deal. I hope the Cards overpay for about four years.
  • Former Cub, Jorge Soler, was diagnosed with a Grade 1 oblique strain (for the non-medics, Grade 1 is less severe than higher grades). This news is unsurprising to any Cub fan. I wish Soler the best in Kansas City and hope this is just a minor setback.
  • Finally, not sure your feelings on Tim Tebow getting a lot of attention for being a 29 year old former football player trying to play baseball. My take is that if he wasn’t Tim Tebow, he wouldn’t get an opportunity at all and even if he did, there would obviously be no attention his way. For those in that camp, enjoy this clip from as he faces Nationals ace Max Scherzer.


  • Brad Lyerla

    Interesting post. Thanks. A couple of thoughts.

    1. Kyle Schwarzer in right field is nuts. And I love the guy. If he needs a second position, it should be first base. And I love Rizzo too.

    2. Why don’t we hear more about Mike Borzello. Gordon Wittenmyer writes in the Suntimes this morning that the Cubs pitching infrastructure “includes unsung catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello, who breaks down video and puts tailored pitching plans together better than, perhaps, anyone in the game.”

    3. Is Tebow still a virgin? Cause I am starting to worry about him.

    4. Yadier Molina was once the toughest player in the national league. He scared me more than anyone else. But now he is breaking down. His value is falling.

    5. Happ is a monster. And we are blessed not to have a spot for him, for now.

    • Adam Peters

      I agree, Brad: Schwarber should NEVER be in right field. I don’t care if they somehow invert Fenway Park. He still shouldn’t be out there. (note: of course Schwarbs will be DHing at Fenway, so we will be able to dodge that bullet.)

      • Bryzzo1744

        That’s going to be awesome

    • Bryzzo1744

      You should have seen his girlfriend when he was at Florida. Woot! Woot! Hubba! Hubba!

      Happ will be on the MLB team very soon. I eventually see the infield as Bryant and Rizzo at the corners, Baez and Russell up the middle, Happ in CF, Schwarber in LF, Contreras behind the plate. I think Zobrist is going to move into a super-sub/Mark DeRosa role. He’s an older player who can’t go everyday. As for Heyward, to hell with him. And I really hope the NL brings the DH soon so we can get Caldemero into the lineup as well.

  • Bryzzo1744

    Me and Raker were talking last night, and he brought up a good point about the rotation. We should be throwing our 3 best pitchers against the shitbirds in the opening series. None of this Hendricks in #5 in name only garbage. Him Lester and Arrieta are 1-2-3.

    • Adam Peters

      I was wondering about that myself. I read where Maddon said the reason was to break up the lefties, but you could do that any number of ways. I think he doesn’t want to bruise Lackey’s ego by making him #5 and he knows Hendricks won’t make a big deal out of it.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Sucks to that. I’m the manager, if he gives any brushback, I say you’re going to be the #5 starter, and you’re going to like it. You do that to someone like him, that puts scrubs like LaStella in line, and you wouldn’t have a repeat of last year’s brouhaha.

      • Doug S.

        Go CAPS!!
        I recall an interview I saw with Bryan Singer, the director of the movie The Usual Suspects. During filming actor Stephen Baldwin had a difference of opinion on how it should go. Singer said (paraphrasing) – You’re going to do what I want, when I want and how I want or you’re not going to be in the movie. Baldwin stayed.

      • Did Stephen yell at Bryan and say he was done acting for him and never talking to him again and then try to get an acting job with Bryan’s family in San Diego? And then did Bryan let the San Diego guys to be on the lookout because Stephen was emotionally unhinged and then did the San Diego guys rescind the acting role? Then did Stephen have to get an acting job in Washington so he could take a train?

      • Doug S.

        No. But I like your version better.

    • Doug S.

      I have no problem putting Lackey out there against his former team in a stadium he knows well.

      • Eddie Von White

        He might get shelled because of his on-again off-again consistency and he’s starting to get kind of old.

    • Brad Lyerla

      Hendricks deserves a lot more respect than Joe shows him. Not sure why. But it might be cultural. Hendricks is a very smart, southern California child of the millennium who may see Maddon as slightly absurd.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I would have no problem with this alignment if the shitbirds were the 2nd series of the season. This is the opening series. You want to set the tone, put them in a 3 game hole right out of the gate.

      • Eddie Von White

        Maybe he’s a Bernie fan.

  • Doc Raker

    Has Schwarbs played 1b at all in the spring? 1b is such an obvious position for him I would think Schwarbs would be Rizzo’s back up. When Schwarbs is at 1b you can have a lot of speed in the OF.

    Ian Happ for RF.

    Fire Len Kasper.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Did you send your email to Muskrat?

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        And What about Muskrat Love? Will that be the next song David Ross dances to in his bedazzled uniform?

      • Bryzzo1744

        Don’t give Lame Len any ideas

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        No we should do just the opposite. Suggest very bad ideas if we can get Len to sing lets say Disco Duck on the Cubs broadcast, the higher ups will realize that he is crazy and take him off the air.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I like your thinking! Let’s do it. Fire Lame Len.

  • Vegas (baseball) was great.. team is so incredibly stacked. Half of the team completely handed it to the Reds. Happ was the real deal.. Schwarbs is stacked.. business as usual for Riz and Bryant. Eddie Von Butler was pretty impressive too, surprisingly. Probably back to Mesa next year though.. still a bit hungover.

    • Doc Raker

      Sounds fun JSwan. I listened on the radio to the Cubs drubbing of the Reds 20-3 or something like that. I tried to get the Reds feed on XM knowing Old Man Brennaman would be entertaining broadcasting this ass kicking but no Reds broadcast of the game. Where did you stay in Vegas?

  • Congrats EVW.. you had a big weekend!

    • Eddie Von White

      Thanks…and fun.