Chicago Cubs Lineup (3/18/23): Madrigal Leads Off, Hosmer at 1B, Sampson Starting

The Cubs have just one win since their nine-game streak earlier in the spring, almost like they’re suffering from a much more prolonged hangover than the ones revelers woke up with this morning. Though pitching has been the strength of the team to this point, Adrian Sampson‘s performance could use some Alka-Seltzer and Pepto Bismol.

After consecutive campaigns in which he looked like a very worthy starter, the righty has regressed to his homer-happy days of yore. His improvement was fostered by changes to his pitch grips, so maybe it’s just a matter of tightening a few things back up to keep the ball in the yard. Sampson has all but lost a rotation spot at this point, and eight home runs in his three previous starts puts him in danger of being optioned to Iowa.

Even if Sampson pitches well, the offense needs to be better. Nick Madrigal will try to provide support as he leads off at third base, followed by Eric Hosmer at first and Patrick Wisdom in right. Edwin Rios is the DH, Mike Tauchman is in left, Christopher Morel is in center, and Tucker Barnhart is the catcher. David Bote is at second and Zach McKinstry is the shortstop.

They’ll be facing former Red Anthony DeSclafani, who is now in his third season with the Giants. I’ll be honest, I had forgotten he was in San Francisco for the past two years. He was excellent in 2021, logging a pair of complete game shutouts, but his ’22 season was cut short after just five starts due to right ankle surgery. He’s made one official start this spring, allowing one hit and striking out three in two innings of work.

First pitch from Scottsdale Stadium is at 3:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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