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Baseball is awesome, and a day spent watching baseball is better than almost any other day. Still, there are occasionally days when you just don’t want to choke down another Cubs-kick-in-the-crotch sandwich. Today is one of those days. Worse, it’s against the all-universe Dodgers and Chad Billingsley.

At least the Cubs are back home. And, you know what? Screw it. It’s a Friday afternoon, the Cubs are on, and it’s going to be a good day. I have decided.

If you need some pre-game entertainment, I’ll be on Wrigley Talk Friday at 1pm CT with Julie DiCaro from A League of Her Own. It’s live, so maybe you’ll hear me say something stupid.

Game Info

Los Angeles Dodgers (17-8) at Chicago Cubs (9-16), 1:20pm CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

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

Chad Billingsley (2-1, 2.64 ERA, 0.946 WHIP)

versus

Paul Maholm (2-2, 6.20 ERA, 1.328 WHIP)

Los Angels Dodgers Lineup

1. Dee Gordon, SS

2. Mark Ellis, 2B

3. Matt Kemp, CF

4. Andre Ethier, RF

5. Juan Rivera, LF

6. James Loney, 1B

7. Jerry Hairston, Jr., 3B

8. A.J. Ellis, C

9. Chad Billingsley, 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. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Geovany Soto, C

9. Paul Maholm, P

  • Spencer

    I’ll give you $1 if you cuss.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      When I’m talking, I cuss a lot. I really have to concentrate in order to not do it. I’m not sure Julie would mind, though.

  • TWC

    I’ll finally buy a BN t-shirt if you manage to get the phrase “banana hammock” in the broadcast.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Challenge accepted.

      • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

        I’m listening. Stop: hammock time.

        • TWC

          I gotta be honest, it sounds like I’m eavesdropping in on a private phone call.

          • TWC

            Oh, SOOOOOO gratuitous, Ace.  It’s like Julie read this board and tried as hard as she could to give you the opening for that.  Pfft.

            Cracking open that wallet…

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That was awfully gratuitous wasn’t it? She said that and I thought, “here’s my chance!”

              • TWC

                Shirt = ordered.  Hope you’re happy with yourself.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Haha, well thanks. Didn’t mean to make you feel compelled. Just wanted to see if I could do it.

      • A_Mazz_ing

        I’m so mad I missed this!

  • Myles

    Came up with something cool today. It’s called the Fun Factor, and is a measure of how fun it would be to be a fan of each team this year.

    Basically, it has two components: how many runs total are scored per game they play, and how many more runs they score on average than their opponents. This is more of a casual fan stat, because obviously you want to see your team win a lot, but if your team loses, you’d at least like to see some scoring (generally).

    1. St. Louis 11.04
    2. Boston 11.00
    3. Texas 10.88
    4. Colorado 10.58
    5. Atlanta 10.23
    —-
    25. Cubs 7.04
    —-
    26. Washington 6.56
    27. Miami 6.48
    28. Oakland 6.31
    29. San Diego 6.31
    30. Pittsburgh 5.92

    Bonus Fun Fact: 27 and 29 play tonight!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That’s not a bad idea.  You might factor home runs into that, too.  Everyone likes going home with a souvenir.

      And the data analyst in me takes over and ponders the possibilities in using your Fun Factor as a predictive measure of average game attendance.

  • Cody

    Sveum must really hate Mather huh?

    • gratefulled

      Please, don’t get me started.

  • Cody

    I am curious to know how many people think like I do… which isn’t always correctly. But, in this case would you rather pay to see a lineup as follows versus what we’ve been throwing out there…

    1. CF Tony Campana
    2. 2B Adrian Cardenas
    3. SS Starlin Castro
    4. RF Bryan LaHair
    5. LF Brett Jackson
    6. 1B Anthony Rizzo
    7. 3B Luis Valbuena
    8. C Welington Castillo

    Perhaps the order would get switched up depending on the pitching and what not, but for real.. I’d rather pay to watch this team compete than what is the “everday” line up as of now..

    Youth Movement. Yes. Let em’ develop.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Hmm, there are a lot of old “youths” in that lineup.  Still, drop Campana to #8, slide everyone up (but flip-flop Jackson & LaHair), keep Stewart over Valbuena (they are the same age), and slide Campana over to LF (Jackson’s a better CFer than Campana is).  As it is, BJax will have a lot of room to cover between Campana (who misreads balls badly) and LaHair (who gets such slow jumps that we don’t know if he gets good reads!).

    • Drew

      I just have a couple problems with it:

      1) Over the course of a season, Stewart will outproduce Valbuena at 3rd. As I have mentioned for a couple weeks, Stewart has been unbelievably unlucky and has consistantly hit the ball hard.
      2) Campana leading off in this case, even if he shows he can get on base more consistantly, doesnt work for me with Jackson in the lineup.
      3) I really like Cardenas at 2B

      With that, I think what I’d like to see is:
      1) CF Jackson
      2) SS Castro
      3) LF LaHair
      4) 1B Rizzo
      5) C Castillo
      6) 3B Stewart/Baker/Vitters (when time comes)
      7) 2B Cardenas
      8) RF Sappelt

      One problem is that this is a pretty heavily LH lineup, especially if you want to get Campana in lineup. I’m also assuming Dejesus is flipped at the deadline.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The other thing is that Stewart is all of half a year older than Valbuena: so, it is not as if we can say that Valbuena has a higher ceiling than Stewart.

    • Kyle

      If you are going that route, Barney and Sappelt need to be in the lineup.

      The biggest problem is that you start using up service time on some guys. I really think half the Cubs’ goals this year is to buy an extra year of prime from some of their future assets by stashing them in the minors for a year.

    • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

      Enough of the Campana as a starter…He is a late inning defensive replacement at best with unreal speed as his only real asset. If LaHair continues to hit, they will no doubt move him to left field (or right field if we are still stuck with Soriano) so Rizzo can play first. BJackson is your centerfielder of the future. I am all for the scrappy underdog (DARWIN BARNEY), but Tony Campana is hopefully our Dave Roberts come World Series time…

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    She’s got kind of a manly voice… and why do you sound like a redheaded chick?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s cold, man. Julie is a cool lady.

  • Cerambam

    I’d probably switch Jackson and Rizzo and also switch Castillo and valbuena but ya id really like to see this

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Well that was fun. I’ll try to find a replay link for folks who missed it. I think we did well for being live…

  • Senior Lake

    Chad Billingsley (0-1, 1.33 ERA, 0.934 WHIP)

    Has he been getting Marmoled too?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Dang. Thanks. I don’t make a ton of mistakes, but that’s one I make way too often. I suck.

      • Senior Lake

        Ha. I actually didn’t know it was a mistake. I was hoping it was true. Would’ve made me feel better.

  • KidCubbie

    Is it just me or does it seem like Castro has at least a single and an RBI in every game?

  • Njriv

    Man do I feel bad for Stewart, he’s hitting the ball well, but unfortunately they are “at em” balls.

    • KidCubbie

      Yeah its crazy. Guy cant catch a break.

  • Zogie

    Who is the ump behind the plate today? He is calling pitches about a foot off the corner. Brenly just called them out.

  • Patrick

    Just heard on MLB network the Cubs are trying to shop Marmol? Who the hell wants that bum

  • ty

    Campano trying to do too much in center again and turns a single into a double. Needs some loud counseling.

  • Zogie

    Soto hit that ball a ton. It sounded great of the bat but the wind killed it. dang wind!

  • Cubs 10

    Anyone see the new Cubs and White Sox commercial on ESPN? Good stuff…

  • Cubs 10

    Just now realized that it’s not new at all. Neeevermind…

  • Stu

    They put Wood in. Are they trying to lose every lead they have?

  • Njriv

    I dont expect Dolis to be lights out today, i expect some jitters.

  • ty

    Paaaarrrrttttteeee!

  • http://facebook.com/anotherspacesong Bret Epic

    Carlos Marmol…you have been replaced. For a moment, I was a bit nervous, but I’ll take a win over a blown save. This win feels deserved.

  • Stu

    Good job Dolis. Now is the time to bring up 2 relievers from AAA and finally put Marmol/Wood out of their misery. Maybe they can cut the grass at Wrigley to justify their salaries.

    It was a good win and time to look at the future.

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