Chicago Cubs Lineup (2/26/24): Busch at 1B, Suzuki in RF, Caissie in LF, Wesneski on Bump

The Cubs are no longer undefeated in spring training after Sunday’s lackluster performance in the wake of the Cody Bellinger news. It was fitting that the reunion came exactly eight years to the day that Dexter Fowler strolled back into camp, and would have been even more so had the Cubs been facing the Royals. That’s because KC’s Cactus League ballpark is located in Surprise.

Bellinger isn’t in the lineup, but two other key players will be making their respective debuts. Mike Tauchman gets things started in center, followed by Seiya Suzuki in right and Michael Busch at first. Miguel Amaya does the catching, Nick Madrigal is at third, Jorge Alfaro is the DH, and Miles Mastrobuoni is at second. Luis Vázquez plays short and Owen Caissie bats ninth in left.

On the mound for the visitors is Hayden Wesneski, one of several different Cubs vying for a rotation spot. That’s been the theme so far, with every starter toeing the line between starter and reliever or maybe the majors and Triple-A. Wesneski’s stuff has never been in question, it’s that he hasn’t commanded it consistently enough to avoid throwing cookies that get hammered.

Going for the Royals is 34-year-old righty Seth Lugo, who I would have sworn was even older. The longtime Met had arguably the best season of his career last year with the Padres working exclusively as a starter for the first time. Lugo will fill up the zone with his fastball, literally, creating a bright red heat map across all nine segments. His sinker was his best weapon last year, perhaps because it moves less than average.

It’s all about keeping hitters off-guard, though he could run into trouble if he keeps it middle-middle and can’t get outs with the curve and change. That breaking ball makes up about one-third of Lugo’s offerings and it was middling at best last season. There probably isn’t much to learn from a guy’s first spring outing, though he’s an interesting one to track now that he’s got a multiyear deal to start for KC.

First pitch is at 2:05pm CT and the only coverage is through or the app, which will have a radio feed from KWOD 1660.

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