Whirlwind schedule begins for Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- It doesn’t matter where you go around the southwestern desert over the next week, you’re bound to find a Chicago Cubs game.

From Mesa, to Scottsdale to Phoenix, to Las Vegas to Peoria and back to Phoenix again, the Cubs will play 10 games over the next six days, with the whirlwind of innings courtesy of four split-squad days in that stretch.

Yet for what seems to be an ideal scenario for a club that needs to get a look at a number of starting pitcher candidates, manager Dale Sveum had a different view of the situation.

“Yeah, I think it’s not all that fun to make lineups out, but it’s nice to get other guys a lot more at-bats when you have split-squad games,” Sveum said. “And then obviously the pitchers get built up. It’s kind of nice to have [split-squad games], but to have them bunched up together isn’t all that good.”

If they do have to be bunched up, though, the middle of March is probably best for it.

“It comes at a right time when the guys can be built up to be played nine innings for the position players, not that everybody will,” Sveum said. “They’ll start playing more nine innings, eight innings, getting four at-bats, that kind of thing. It’s nice that it’s time of the year where guys start playing more.”

The upcoming schedule has the Cubs playing two games on Thursday (home against the Diamondbacks and away against the Rockies), a game at home Friday against the Giants, two games on Saturday (at Las Vegas against the Rangers and away against the A’s), two games Sunday (at Last Vegas against the Rangers and home against the White Sox) a game Monday on the road against the Mariners and two games Tuesday (home against the Rangers and on the road against the A’s).

Those games lead directly in to the March 21 off day. The Cubs will have just one more split-squad day (March 26) on the Cactus League schedule.