Cubs-Giants: First Cactus League Game

Chris ByrdContributor IFebruary 28, 2008

The Chicago Cubs begin their 2008 championship season today in a spring game against the Bonds-less San Francisco Giants.

Ryan Dempster gets the starting nod in an attempt to make his way closer to the starting rotation.  Kosuke Fukudome also gets a look at his first (American) major league pitching.

Aramis Ramirez will sit this game out, replaced at third by Ronnie Cedano.  This spring training season will give manager Lou Piniella the ability to play around with the line up, trying to figure out which combination will produce the most base runners, and ultimately the most runs.

Piniella has stated over the past couple of weeks that he is looking at batting Fukudome in the number three spot, followed by Derrick Lee, and Ramirez at five.  This will be a huge opportunity for Ramirez to drive in runs.  And Lee is an incredible hitter, especially hitting doubles.

With Fukudome's speed and OBP, we should see good RBI/run production out of these three.  The Cubs have to improve on their dismal performance in last season's wild card series against the Diamondbacks, to say the least.

I will report back tomorrow with the results of today's game and some analysis of the line up.