Chicago Cubs Lineup (3/22/23): Madrigal Leads Off, Team Italy Well Represented, Alzolay Starting

The Cubs had the last two innings of Tuesday’s game rained out, so they’ll lean heavily on the bullpen in this one to get their relievers plenty of action. Adbert Alzolay will get the start, but he’s probably only going to go two innings at the most. That’s all the Cubs need from him and all they have room for because Ryan Borucki, Brad Boxberger, Michael Fulmer, Anthony Kay, Julian Merryweather, Michael Rucker, and Rowan Wick are all scheduled to pitch as well.

Nick Madrigal gets another start at third base and it’s almost to the point where even the most reluctant observers on a social media platform that will remain unnamed have to admit this is a real thing. Trey Mancini, who was originally slated to play for Team Italy in the WBC before he signed with the Cubs, bats second at first base. Cody Bellinger is in center, Yan Gomes is the catcher, and Edwin Ríos is the DH.

Ríos got off to a slow start this spring while trying to utilize a bigger leg kick meant to get him into his back hip to generate more power. The move didn’t translate from the cage to live action, however, and he worked with the team’s hitting coaches to get back to a toe-tap that still allowed him to find the proper hip hinge and improve his pop. He and Madrigal could see a lot of time at the hot corner this season.

Mike Tauchman is in right and Miles Mastrobuoni, who was on Italy’s WBC roster, is at short. Ben DeLuzio was also playing for Italy and he’ll be in left as he works to earn a spot with the Cubs. He looked like a frontrunner for the last outfield role and could still sneak in there on the basis of his speed alone. Zach McKinstry bats ninth at second base this afternoon.

This is a very interesting lineup for those who are working out the roster shuffle, as six players are conceivably at risk of not breaking camp with the big club. Not that one spring game will determine their fate, of course, but it’s nice to get another look at some of the guys who’ve been away from the Cubs for a while.

On the mound for the A’s is 29-year-old righty James Kaprielian, who closely resembles movie star Glen Powell. This will only be Kaprielian’s third start of the spring, but he got to four innings in the last one and should be at full strength on Wednesday. A fastball/slider guy with a curve, change, and sinker, he’s prone to walking batters and didn’t miss many bats last season.

That said, he struck out all five of the batters he retired in his first outing and logged another four Ks in his last start. He has also walked three — all in that early start — and allowed six hits, so the Cubs should be able to put runners on base.

First pitch from the Cubs’ old home at Hohokam Stadium is at 3:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network

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