Chicago Cubs Lineups (3/16/24): Smyly, Brown Starting Split-Squad Affairs

The Cubs were supposed to have played two games against the Sox on Friday, one of which was the Spring Breakout showcase that ended up being canceled by rain. They’ll do their best to make up for that today by splitting the squad for contests with the Royals and Angels, the latter of which has at least a little prospect flavor.

Drew Smyly is starting the home half as he continues to build toward a starting role that may last only as long as Jameson Taillon is on the IL. The lefty has been better than the numbers indicate, mainly because his goal is to incorporate a new splitter rather than to put batters away with his typical sequencing. That led to him getting tagged for five earned runs on seven hits over two innings in his second start. He was much cleaner the last time out and should be operating with a more standard strategy in this one.

Nico Hoerner gets the start at short, followed by Seiya Suzki in right, Cody Bellinger in center, and Yan Gomes at catcher. Michael Busch is at first, Miles Mastrobuoni is at third, David Bote is at second, and Matt Mervis is the DH. Owen Caissie rounds out the lineup in left.

After making three relief appearances, Ben Brown will make his first spring start for the Cubs against the Angels in Tempe. The big righty has given up one run on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks to this point, and he’s gone two innings in each outing. Depending on how things go for both Brown and the big club, it’s not out of the question to view him as a potential impact arm in the bullpen later this season.

Supporting Brown this afternoon will be Mike Tauchman in center, Garrett Cooper in left, Dominic Smith at first, and Christopher Morel at third. David Peralta is the DH, Alexander Canario is in right, Joe Hudson is the catcher, and Matt Shaw is at second. Luis Vázquez bats last at short.

First pitch from Sloan is at 3:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score while the game in Tempe starts at 3:10pm CT with coverage on the Angels’ stations.

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