A guy on my Facebook feed who happens to be a Phillies fan wrote this as his status this morning:
37 days until Aces and catchers report!
Clever. But I gotta ask: is anyone sick of this rebop yet?
I know I sure am. I mean, I appreciate how excited Phillies fans are about 2011, but you’d think that they’d wait for something good to actually happen on a baseball field before they start crowing. Last I checked their hitters were made to look silly by the Giants and now they’re down one of the best of that bunch and plan on replacing him with a guy who got cut from his Winter Ball team. They watched the World Series at home just like 27 other teams did.
I think the Phillies will win the NL East and should probably win it easily. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that no one wins jack in January.
And yeah, I’m biased and a little bit envious of their pitching riches and I know that it doesn’t wear particularly well on a person. But neither does hubris.
Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta
Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.
RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole
Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.