Chicago Cubs Lineup (3/10/24): Tauchman Leads Off, Bote in LF, Smyly Starting

The Cubs are going with a somewhat unconventional lineup on Sunday, but not in the same way David Ross tended to cobble together his late weekends. They’re on the road in Surprise to face the Rangers, so most of the regulars will be on the golf course.

Mike Tauchman leads off in center, followed by Alexander Canario in right and Christopher Morel at third. Michael Busch is at first, Miguel Amaya is catching, Miles Mastrobuoni is at short, and Jorge Alfaro is the DH. David Bote flashes his versatility in left and Chase Strumpf is at second.

Drew Smyly is making his third spring start, the last of which left a bit to be desired for those who put stock in box scores. The lefty was working on a few things, notably his splitter, and explained that he was often throwing pitches out of sequence. That led to five earned runs on seven hits and a walk over just two innings. We can start worrying if that becomes a trend, but it’s fine for now.

On the mound for the Rangers is lefty Cody Bradford, who made his MLB debut last year as a starter before transitioning to a swing role. The 26-year-old worked out of the bullpen in his first spring appearance and will now be making his third start as he looks to break into the rotation on a more permanent basis. A stereotypical soft-tossing southpaw, Bradford’s game is predicated on excellent location.

His 90 mph fastball is effective because he’s a strike-thrower, though his slider and curve often catch too much of the plate to be effective. The changeup has been his best pitch, as it stays arm-side with good tumble into the lower corner. It’ll be a long day for Bradford if he makes many mistakes, which he did last year to the tune of 11 homers in just 56 innings.

First pitch is at 3:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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