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It’s Game Two on the young season, as the Cubs look to pick up that first win. Matt Garza gets the start for the Cubs, who’ll face AL import, Gio Gonzalez.

I like the Cubs’ chances today, which may or may not be based on logic or reason. It’s probably going to require a 200 to 300% increase in runs scored, though (since the Cubs scored just one on Thursday, that’s actually not asking much). Paul Sullivan says the wind is blowing out to left, so it could be a higher scoring affair either way. And that, combined with the lefty on the mound, makes me love the Cubs’ all-righty lineup today.

Bryan LaHair is still sitting with the bad back, but, here’s the thing: I’d probably want him sitting anyway against the lefty Gonzalez. He could pinch hit today, and will probably be back in the starting lineup tomorrow.

On the roster front, Rodrigo Lopez is expected to rejoin the Cubs at some point this weekend (probably today), so there will be some shuffling. Assuming there isn’t a last minute injury, it seems like one of the infielders – Blake DeWitt? Luis Valbuena? – will be on the way out. There will also have to be a 40-man roster move. (Update: Yup, Lopez added, Valbuena sent to AAA Iowa.)

Game Info

Washington Nationals (1-0) at Chicago Cubs (0-1), 12:05pm CT on CSN.

Game Thread

The Game Thread lives here. Click me. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

Starting Pitchers

Gio Gonzalez (0-0, -.–, no other stats available yet)

versus

Matt Garza (0-0, -.–, no other stats available yet)

Washington Nationals Lineup

1. Ian Desmond, SS

2. Danny Espinosa, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Mark DeRosa, LF

7. Roger Bernadina, CF

8. Wilson Ramos, C

9. Gio Gonzalez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Reed Johnson, RF

2. Joe Mather, 3B

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Jeff Baker, 1B

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Marlon Byrd, CF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Matt Garza, P

  • MichiganGoat

    Nice to see Mathers get a start, let’s see if his spring carries over. If he can stick it makes it very easy to move some other players.

    • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

      Agreed. I say anything less them him hitting for they cycle is going to be a let-down.

      • DocPWimsey

        Cycle??? That’s 3 hits that weren’t HR! A total let-down!!!!

  • James

    Gio can be pretty scary when he’s on….but he can also have major control problems and walk a ton of guys. I IMPLORE the Cubs be fucking patient at the plate. It will pay off.

    • DocPWimsey

      The problem is that “patience” really isn’t as a cognizant as that. Johnson, Sori, Baker, Byrd and Barney are all going to swing at anything near the plate because they are looking to get their bat on the ball rather than looking for a ball on which to get their bat. You don’t just up and decide to switch the horse and cart!

  • Eric

    matt garza? In a contract year? I’m predicting a very good year.

    • JasonB

      Good to know that you think he’s going to have a solid 2013 (he still has two years before hitting FA)

      • Eric

        Doh! He will have a FANTASTIC 2013. heard it hear first.

  • Zogie

    Sori goes 0-4 today with 2ks, Gonzalez will have him chasing that curveball all day. Soto gets his first hit of the season and may have a big day. Just a feeling, Castro goes 2-4, Johnson 1-4, Mather 1-3 with a walk, Baker 1-4, Barney 1-3. Garza shuts down the injured Nats. 4-2 Cubs win!

    • Cubmig

      Zogie…….does this mean I can go out and “play” instead of watching the game?

    • Levi

      No no Soriano will have a hit or two.

      • Zogie

        It is a perfect day for Sori to hit a homer, but his plate discipline will have him whiffing at Gonzalez’s curveball all day. He will have to work the count to get a fastball which he rarely does.

        • Levi

          As I said, Soriano WILL have a hit or 2

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    Attention BN friends! Just found out that MLB Extra Innings is doing a free trial for DirecTV and Comcast from April 5 through April 15. Now I’ll get to watch the game today and tomorrow. I believe my weekend just got much brighter.

  • Zogie

    No way. Why would you want to miss out on Garza pitching? Anything can happen in this game, and with the wind blowing out to left, you may miss a homerun that sends the cubs onto victory.

  • rocky8263

    Im outside the park and the wind is a bear blowing to left/left center. And it’s a warmer breeze. Need a win today to shut up all the nitwts.

  • THEOlogical

    “Washington Nationals (0-0) at Chicago Cubsby (0-0), 12:05pm CT on CSN”
    So Brett, yesterdays game didn’t count? I’d love it if all the Cubs losses were scratched from the record books this season!

  • brittney

    You have both the cubs and nationals at 0-0. I’m guessing a typo since its game 2. It’s my day to be captain obvious. Seeing as how I work at wal-mart and we are so busy, and these customers are brutal today.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sometimes I need a captain obvious.

      Or I was just repressing the memory of yesterday.

      • DocPWimsey

        Or repressing yesterday’s memory of repressing the day before…. :cool:

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Damn you. :)

  • Serio

    That is some shitty line-up

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    It appears that the Cubs have outrighted Luis Valbuena…

    • Kyl-el

      Farewell, Luis. I’ll never forget you.

      • DocPWimsey

        Tough to forget someone you never remembered…..

  • morgan

    already not a fan of playing match up, with the 2nd game, not a fan of reed johnson and let steward hit against lefties, and get baker off of 1b, if lahair is injured call up rizzo

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The only part I don’t like is having Reed lead off. I’m not really sure he and Mather should be getting the most at bats today.

  • Kyl-el

    On the one hand, stealing third with two outs makes my teeth hurt.

    On the other, two SBs for Castro in one inning is cool.

    I’m going to have to learn to enjoy stuff like that if I’m going to get some fun out of this season.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Stealing third with two outs is almost always stupid. When you can get there standing up before the ball even crosses the plate is one of the exceptions.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Very smooth second inning for Garza. Dig that.

  • Kyl-el

    Pitch F/X has Garza hitting 95.5 on one of those fastballs. The velocity is definitely there, which is a great sign.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It looks easy, too.

  • Cooper Rushing

    Reed leading off? Please tell me this won’t be a common occurrence vs. left handed pitching.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It might. Dale might want to try and leave everyone else in their usual-ish spots in the lineup, and, since Reed was in right, he’s at the top. Not saying I like it, but I understand.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Would be nice if Garza could hit .150 this year.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    I know Baker kills lefties, but I would like to see Soto in front of Baker. Or how about putting Baker at 1.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I know it’s heresy for me to say, but I almost wouldn’t mind Barney in there at one against lefties.

      • Jeff

        I agree, flip flop them or put a right handed hitter in right field, but still let Barney lead of against lefties.

  • Cedlandrum

    apparently Cubs outrighted Valbuena and called up Lopez.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    I love Garza, but striking out twice on bunts is really, really not acceptable.

  • Doug

    Really Garza?!?! You can’t get a bunt between the lines two at bats in a row?

  • Kyl-el

    I’m taking credit for Johnson’s two-run triple. I take credit for that for berating him so much.

    On the flip side, I think I ruined Travis Wood.

    • Matt3

      Good thing he’s playing today

      • Matt3

        and he gave the cubs the lead

  • Josh

    Anyone know what is going on at Triple A with the roster – there are currently 26 players listed as active – I though the max was 24!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I assume it’s partly because of today’s roster move – it’ll be sorted out.

  • Doug

    I hope Garza took notes on that sacrifice bunt!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I hope not – that one was atrocious. If Garza could stand, it was an easy catch.

      • DocPWimsey

        Indeed, that bunt had triple play written on it under the right circumstances (like, one fewer outs).

        Garza is a good example of just how specialized a talent pitching actually is. He’s probably no better a hitter than the average high school player, and he’s not a natural fielder.

      • Doug

        Ahh…Just reading the thread on MLB. It just said sacrifice bunt. Didn’t give the detail that Garza blew the play.

        • DocPWimsey

          Well, he slipped going after it. When a guy slips, it’s hard to tell how much he “blew” it as opposed to just getting unlucky about where his foot went. However, an above-average fielder would have turned one of the two prior singles into outs.

  • ty

    Love Garza*stuff but as I wrote all winter do you trust this guy in a playoff game someday . He can not hit or bunt. His fielding his laughable and once again I will repeat that last year in 200 innings he managed to start “one double play”. He will hurt a first baseman some day with those insane 90 mph throws over there. Nuts needs to get up his A** and work on his off days on all of this. Besides this we love the guy!

    • Kyl-el

      Garza already has started five playoff games. He’s done pretty well in the playoffs overall.

      • DocPWimsey

        Game 7 in ’08 was a masterpiece.

  • ty

    O.k. Kyle, then I am wrong. He can continue those traits.

  • DocPWimsey
  • Kyl-el

    Ian Stewart and DeJesus come in as defensive replacements, which is fine, but that makes it even more curious that they weren’t brought in to face righty relievers in key at-bats in earlier innings.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Was thinking the same thing. Only explanation is that now it’s “later,” and you can risk losing players off the bench a bit more.

  • DocPWimsey

    Wow, that pitch was a few inches outside, wasn’t it?

  • Kyl-el

    Remember when Kerry Wood was insulted by Epstein’s offer? He owes Theo an apology.

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