The Cubs head to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick to take on the Rockies this afternoon, which is good because it means they won’t be waiting for Goudeau. By which I mean Rox starter Ashton Goudeau, a big 27-year-old righty who put up some pretty spectacular numbers — 2.07 ERA, 10.46 K/9, 1.38 BB/9 — over 16 Double-A starts last season.
Ian Happ will lead off in center, followed by Willson Contreras catching and Kyle Schwarber in left. Stephen Souza Jr. is in the opposite corner, Jason Kipnis is at second, Nico Hoerner plays short, and Alfonso Rivas handles first base. Noel Cuevas is the DH and the versatile PJ Higgins gets the start at third base.
José Quintana is on the mound for the first time this spring after a bout with the flu laid him low for several days, so this may not be the best barometer of his readiness. That said, he’s been working on the side and throwing live BP for a while and should be able to go more than the one inning typically reserved for a Cactus League debut.
Scheduled to appear in relief are Colin Rea, Rowan Wick, Rex Brothers, Duane Underwood Jr., Dakota Mekkes, and CD Pelham. The four pitchers in the middle are very much in the mix for the Opening Day roster, with Wick as a near lock and the others vying for the remaining few spots. Mekkes has looked particularly good so far.
The Rockies aren’t doing Q and the bullpen any favors with a regular season lineup that features David Dahl, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Daniel Murphy, and Ian Desmond. May as well jump into the deep end.
First pitch is at 2:10pm CT on Marquee Sports Network only, though everyone can watch the broadcast via MLB.tv as well.