The Cubs have an opportunity to win this four game series with the Phillies, which is probably not something we would have projected back in early April. Better, the Cubs could close the month at a digestible 9-14.

Chris Volstad gets the start today, in place of Jeff Samardzija, who was bumped back to tomorrow to help preserve his arm a bit. The Cubs face Vance Worley, who just keeps pitching well.

Geovany Soto is back in the lineup today, and Blake DeWitt gets a start at second base.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (8-14) at Philadelphia Phillies (10-12), 6:05pm CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness by clicking on 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.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Chris Volstad (0-3, 6.14 ERA, 1.273 WHIP)


Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16 ERA, 1.240 WHIP (interesting to see those two WHIPs side-by-side, eh?))

Philadelphia Phillies Lineup

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Shane Victorino, CF

4. Hunter Pence, RF

5. Ty Wigginton, 1B

6. Laynce Nix, LF

7. Carlos Ruiz, C

8. Pete Orr, 2B

9. Vance Worley, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Tony Campana, CF

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Bryan LaHair, 1B

5. Alfonso Soriano, LF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Blake DeWitt, 2B

8. Geovany Soto, C

9. Chris Volstad, P

  • SirCub

    Yea, Volstad has pitched much better than his ERA and record show. He’s due.

    • KING2ofScouts

      As I said, 6MM for a Cuban softy lefty just because he is Cuban pitching
      to a bunch of high schoolers in Nacionale’

      Theo and O.F. are truly A1 spankin great evaluators.

      Let the shelling continue, and the duping carry on.


      • Joe


  • Drew

    This lineup should draw Jay Anderson Jr back to the commentary

  • Spencer

    Well, nothing wrong with a road split of a four game series.

  • cerambamugly cerambam

    6-9 = ugly

    • hansman1982

      you mean 2, 4 – 9 ugly…

      at least 6 and 8 provide good defense.

      • Spencer

        I’m sorry, what’s wrong with 2?

        Edit: and four is ugly too??

        • hansman1982

          Campana is far from a good hitter and I slipped on the 4 – should be 5.

  • MaxM1908

    I love how Mather has been played so far: 1) Hits the game winning RBI to beat the Cardinals? Sits the next day. 2) Hits the first HR of the outfield all year? Sits the next day. 3) Maintains a .292/.414/.458 line? Sits 80% of games.

    • PhishHeadCubby

      Agreed, give me some more Beaver!

    • hardtop

      there is always the “he’d be exposed if he played everyday” argument. its a real good argument, and i believe it fits joe mather like a glove. not OJ’s glove… Michael Jackson’s glove.

      • AB

        How dare you ignore Mathers 3600 minor league plate appearances

      • MaxM1908

        He did maintain a .260/.334/.450 in those 3600 minor league appearances, and his 2010 and 2011 AAA stats look pretty close to how he’s performing this year. If he’s exposed, he’s exposed. But considering he’s performing among the best on the team this year, I believe he at least deserves more plate appearances.

        • hardtop

          if the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit!
          im all for giving guys a second chance (or 4th, in this case)

          he hasnt sustained any semblance of “good” in his major league time. if i recall, he’s bounced other places than st louis and chicago. some dudes just dont click at the major league level (like almost every cubs prospect i can remember). he might end up being okay but history says his spring and current performance are more a fluke than a sign of things to come. of course, when you look at stewarts line, one has to wonder how a joe mather couldnt be an improvement.

        • cubfanincardinalland

          Mather has been injured the last three years. His wrist was totally messed up, had several surgeries, but tried to play through it. He’s a tough dude.
          By the wicked swing he takes, it is obvious he is healthy. In a perfect baseball world, Soriano’s butt would be on the bench and the guy that is producing and can actually play good defense would be on the field. But we have to continue the illusion that Alfonso is just one at bat away from his annual hot streak, hey teams, you should trade for him.
          I sincerely hoped this team has learned it’s lesson about stupid long term contracts to non superstar players.

  • calicubsfan007

    Volstad has looked better and better with every start, he’s due for a great win.

    • Spencer

      Yeah you know what they say, every pitcher goes through a rough stretch where they don’t win a game for nine months

      • rcleven

        Volstad is what his numbers say he is a .450ish ERA type pitcher. If the Cubs score 5 or more runs they will win.

  • gratefulled

    You will not hear an argument out of me regarding terrible use of Joe Mather so far this season. I do not get it, nor have we had a decent explanation for it.

  • Cody

    I do not understand this. Mather has consistently shown he can hit. Why does Sveum refuse to play him? And I am about sick of seeing Stewart get the nod everyday. So what if he’s “hitting the ball hard.” He hits them at defenders that equal puts. Period. This lineup suggests to me the game is over before it begins. 5-8 is complete garbage.

    • dick

      I looked at the lineup plus Volstad, and I see an 8-1 loss coming.

      • Cody

        Exactly. Its like were throwing the white flag in hopes that one of these FLOPS..ya I said it… catches fire. It isn’t going to happen. Let some people who will actually be valuable as trade chips this year get some AB’s and prove they are worth the prospects they could net. And.. I CANNOT wait until Soriano’s name can never ever be put in a Cubs lineup again.

    • Pat

      We’re probably just using different definitions of consistently, but when has Mather consistently shown he can hit?

    • Drew

      “I do not understand this. Mather has consistently shown he can hit.”

      -Except he hasnt, at anywhere he’s been, ever. I think its great he made this team and he has given us a spark off the bench, but I think we should leave him in that role.

      • MaxM1908

        Where do all of you Joe Mather naysayers get your assumption that he can’t hit? Prior to joining the cubs he had fewer than 300 major league plate appearances spread out over three years and multiple call ups. His first year in the majors, 2008, when he only had 147 PAs (but still the most of his career in the majors) he sported a .241 /.306 /.474 line. That’s not stellar, but he wasn’t bad. And, compared to this lineup, it’s downright impressive. He had two shorter stints in the majors where he didn’t do well in 2010 and 2011, but I would argue that was the exception and not the rule (the two years combined equaled his PAs for 2008). He now has 29 PAs with the Cubs (about 10 percent of his previous major league plate appearances) and he’s making the starters look bad. How do you not give the guy a chance to prove what he can do? Why do you reward slumpers and sit a guy on a hot streak? It doesn’t make any sense. When Mather slumped he got sent down, released, and was branded by you naysayers as a guy who can’t hit. Well, now he’s hitting, so give him a chance.

        • Kyle

          You can’t fall in love with every AAA palookah who has a few hot weeks. And that’s all Mather is.

          • MaxM1908

            How can you make that assumption on 300 PAs distributed over three years? He may just be having a few hot weeks, but who’s to say his 64 and 84 PAs in 2010 and 2011 weren’t cold weeks? I guess 300 ABs in the major is enough for some to condemn him as a “AAA palookah,” but it’s not enough for me. Right now, he’s performing, and he’s performing better than our starters. That deserves him a spot in the lineup more than 1 day week. And by the way, how awesome are the Cubs doing offensively tonight without that Pookalah in the lineup? Thank god he’s riding the bench.

            • Drew

              “He may just be having a few hot weeks, but who’s to say his 64 and 84 PAs in 2010 and 2011 weren’t cold weeks?”

              Its unlikely given the numbers you referenced earlier: .260/.334/.450 in his MiLB career, which are actually a bit inflated given the fact that over 500 of those PA’s were at age 27 and 28 AND in the PCL.

              Look, I’m all for giving someone else a chance, but I think there are better guys to do that with. I’d rather see someone like Sappelt get a shot than take the slim chance that Joe Mather is 1 out of a countless number of players just like him who all of a sudden “figure it out.”

            • Kyle

              Nobody is making that assumption based on his small MLB appearances.

              He’s a very ordinary minor league hitter. Ordinary minor league hitter = below average major league hitter.

              • Drew

                Mather (Age 29) MiLB – .260/.334/.450 – 3608 PA

                Player A (Age 28) MiLB – .267/.351/.452 – 3681 PA

                Player A = Ouch…Scott Moore.

                For every Jose Batista, there are 500 Scott Moore’s.

            • MaxM1908

              Well, look, when he starts putting up Scott Moore stats, you can bench him. But right now, Mather is playing closer to Bautista (2011 Bautista) than to Moore so why condemn him as one of the 500 without giving him a chance to prove himself?

              • Kyle

                Would you go to a casino and start betting the rent money on red because a roulette wheel hit it a few times in a row?

                Major League roster space and playing time are valuable. You don’t give it out based on a short hot streak or to “give a guy a chance.”

                • MaxM1908

                  Kyle, that’s not even close to an apt analogy. I suppose we should have gone and bet the rent check on Pujols, or Fielder, or whatever big name, overpriced “talent” you like to say would have magically made us a contender. Joe Mather is hardly the rent check. He’s the tax on the utility bill (notice the choice of bill given Mather’s ability to play practically every position). I’m more than willing to risk that when the Cubs are a 70 win team. Then, we can see if we actually have someone of value for the future or trade. But an “expert” like you condemns him because you would have rather we wasted more money on free agents when we’re not even in a position to contend.

                • Brett

                  I’m not quite sure the gambler’s fallacy applies to player performance – sometimes guys do get hot (seeing ball better, muscle memory is in a good place, etc.).

          • KyleNovak

            And here I thought “palookah” was exclusively used in old school Warner Brothers cartoons. . . but nay, it lives! Haha.

            • Ogyu

              “So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors in the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! … I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”
              —— Joe Mather, “On the Wrigleyfront” (2012).

              • MaxM1908

                Very good reference, Ogyu.

  • die hard

    Phillies are bad…period….Could be race to the bottom between these two teams…but like it when Campana starts…makes other team nervous…Castro thinks hes second coming of Dick Allen…he needs to tone it down and try and hit all to right center or else his BA will tank like his FA

  • Brett


    Chris Volstad’s been pretty disappointing in his limited duty thus far this year, eh?

    • Kyle

      He’s been brutalized by BABIP and clustering. He’s giving up an acceptable number of BB, HR and hits, but they all seem to come in the same inning.

      Objectively, I believe that to be a product of variance and he should do well if he keeps pitching this way. But it’s hard to keep telling myself that when his ERA is almost 8.

      • hansman1982

        the interesting thing, even after last nights game, he has a 3.45 FIP. Even last night, the runs didn’t come off XBH but singles poked through (and even within) the infield.

        Even with a 30 pitch 1st inning he still only needed <100 pitches to get through 6 innings. One of these days (please dear Chris, don't make me eat these words) he is going to rattle off an 8 inning gem.

        • CubFan Paul

          Single poked through right by the stiff defenseman DeWitt.

          Adrian Cardenas anyone? At least he brings offense

  • Njriv

    Why is Blake DeWitt still in the MLB?

    • Njriv

      Bring up Cardenas!

      • Drew

        I agree. Really thought Cardenas should have gotten more of a look in ST.

        At least he didnt go pout and flounder in AAA like some pitchers in the organization.

    • Mrp

      I don’t know man, but I have seen lawn gnomes with more range then him.

      • CubFan Paul

        That’s brutal. Hopefully theo&Co make double roster moves Thursday when Dempster comes back

  • Cheryl

    The argument against Mather can’t take hold until he has more plate appearances. He is not showing he can hit? If he can’t, then let his plate appearances show it. If he can play third base, put him there instead of Stewart. Stewart is in a terrible slump and is showing his poor batting average last year may not have been a fluke. Give Mather enough plate appearances for the cubs before he is totally dismissed.

    • hardtop

      sadly, stewart is not in a slump: thats just stewart. or, i should say, thats who I believe stewart is. can we get a denny green sample up in here?

      • Kyle

        I’m not a big Stewart fan, but he’s been getting royally BABIPed. Every line drive he hits is right as somebody.

        His BABIP is actually *lower* than his line drive percentage. That’s almost impossible to pull off.

  • H

    Please trade soto not only is he not getting hits bases loaded no outs down late and grounds into double play. Trade him while he has some value left. Let Castillo and clevenger take over as a platoon catcher situation. Waive sori. See what the team does. Can play reserves in outfield until they call up Jackson then can move lahair to left and bring in defense of with lead and have rizzo at first when he is called up

    • Joe

      What trade value do you propose Soto has right now?

  • Bret Epic

    I love how LaHair comes up and he’s like…oh so we’re supposed to WIN today? Okay I’ll hit a home run. This guy is the bees knees, seriously.

    • Angie

      More like the cats pajamas

  • hardtop

    “the hair”… pretty clutch with the long ball.
    if i was inclined to participate in such things; i would friendster that guy.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    If Mather is a Palookah what the hell is Stewart????? He sucks… they need to just fire his jazz. And Volstad is bull pen pitcher at best. Oh he is a starter.. well Marmol is a starter too. Because anybody can be put out there to start a game. Doesn’t. Make them a starter now does it. Mather is better than Stewart. Mather may never be great but he doesn’t suck as bad as this garbage at 3b. Both he and Soto are the easiest outs in the national league.

  • brittney

    LaHair might have a high strikeout rate but I will take the K’s if he’s swatting HR’s at this rate. I think pitchers do not know how to pitch to him yet and he is taking advantage of it!

  • Cheryl

    The problem they have with him is he adjusts. He wasn’t supposed to hit left handers. He does. He studies how the opposition pitches to him. I think that’s the key.

  • hardtop

    bummer. cant say dolis was bad, but they should have gone after rollins when they had two strikes on him. i felt that one coming.

  • H

    Some team is always desperate for catcher that might be able to hit we will get something for soto and that is enough