Ah, how the feckless sweep-ee might become the sweep-er.

In other words: the Padres are bad. Ryan Dempster is going for his first win of the year, but why do I feel like the Cubs used up all of their good luck/skill in the last two days?

Steve Clevenger makes his return to the starting lineup today, which will be a welcome sight no matter how he does.

Game Info

San Diego Padres (17-34) at Chicago Cubs (17-32), 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

Anthony Bass (2-5, 3.55 ERA, 100 ERA+)


Ryan Dempster (0-3, 2.14 ERA, 180 ERA+)

San Diego Padres Lineup

1. Will Venable, CF

2. Everth Cabrera, SS

3. Yonder Alonso, 1B

4. Carlos Quentin, LF

5. Chase Headley, 3B

6. Chris Denorfia, RF

7. Nick Hundley, C

8. Alexi Amarista, 2B

9. Anthony Bass, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Joe Mather, CF

4. Bryan LaHair, 1B

5. Alfonso Soriano, LF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Steve Clevenger, C

9. Ryan Dempster, P

  • HoustonTransplant

    Even with recent struggles, I still think LaHair should be #3. He’s got to be a better option than Mather. Meh.

    Nice to see a catcher not named Hill in the line-up. I hope he picks up right where he left off. If we sweep, we’re only one game away from being a baker’s dozen under .500! Woot.

  • njriv

    Would like to see Campana and Cardenas in there once in a while.

  • RY34

    ah, if we could only score 4 for demp today! what are headleys and quentins career avgs against dempster??

  • LEO L

    I smell the sweep. Dempster first win. Its gonna feel good. gonna be a lot of love in the air

    • RY34

      not looking so good yet, we need some runs!

  • Drew7

    I can actually live with this lineup. The two most important spots (2 & 4) are occupied by the team’s 2 best hitters, Barney at the bottom, DD leading off, and a hot hitter at #5.

    I’d prefer to see Cardenas in there, but otherwise I like it.

    • EQ76

      2 & 4 the most important spots in the lineup???? really? more than #3?

      • Drew7

        Yes. From “The Book” (not that it is the “bible” of batting orders, but it does a great job explaining it) –

        “…the #3 hitter comes to the plate with, on average, fewer runners on base than the #4 or #5 hitters. So why focus on putting a guy who can knock in runs in the #3 spot, when the two spots after him can benefit from it more? Surprisingly, because he comes to bat so often with two outs and no runners on base, the #3 hitter isn’t nearly as important as we think…”

        “…the #4 hitter comes to bat in the most important situations out of all nine spots, but is equal in importance to the #2 hole once you consider the #2 guy receives more plate appearances…”

        “…the #2 hitter comes to bat in situations about as important as the #3 hitter, but more often. That means the #2 hitter should be better than the #3 guy, and one of the best three hitters overall. And since he bats with the bases empty more often than the hitters behind him, he should be a high-OBP player…”

        I see the importance of batting order positions this way: #2, #4, #1, #5/#3, #’s6-8

    • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

      You mean the Cardenas with the .160 average and the 2 errors in 7 games in the field? That one?

      • Njriv

        I think he means the Cardenas that barley gets playing time and consistent at-bats. He’s not known for his glove but im confident he can hit if he gets consistent playing time and im not talking about pinch hitting either.

      • Drew7

        Yes. The one with a whopping 26 PA’s

  • @cubsfantroy

    Ugh I hate working 2nd shift. I have to miss another start of Demps. At least I can keep up on my phone. I put LaHair back in my fantasy starting lineup for the first time in a week, I hope he pulls through and gets some hits. And what the hell is with Mather starting all the time? He is a bench player, nothing more.

    • KyleNovak

      Remember the Reed Johnson and “Hey guys, I’m not quite washed up/still a good player with some pop/let’s stick it to the Cards a bit” Jim Edmonds CF platoon in 2008? Yeah. . . This is a homeless man’s version of that scenario on a bad team. Mather, Campana, and Johnson have all spent some time in center, and despite the fact that all of them are backup quality, have performed decently. “Reed Anthony Mather” has accumulated 1.7 fWAR in 266 PA. That’s a sizable upgrade over Marlon Byrd’s pants-poopingly bad 2012 season.

      If you don’t have the elite talent, well. . . You sometimes just have to Frankenstein things together.

  • djriz

    anyone else concerned we hired away san diego’s gm?

    • Edwin

      Why would we be concerned?

      • cubs1967

        ‘cuz he sucks………the padres were last this year and again this year and so are the cubs..notice a trend. he’s here so theo has a dinner date; hasn’t done anything in baseball to be handed a job like the cubs. we really needed someon who was opposite of theo; not a YES man for him. maybe then the dumbass marshall trade would not of been done or signing of maholm or binging back the JH club of players…….it’s a long list.

        • TWC

          Your constant focus on the Marshall trade is somewhere between adorable and insane.  I’m sure you’re a blast at parties.

          • hansman1982

            Just another example of some fans being upset when a guy is “sold” at peak value.

            • cubs1967

              so if marshall was sold at his “peak” value; then you are OK even if we did not get anything of value of it?? why; just because theo did it and it was “peak” value. marshall in theo’s words was an “asset”. which of the following look like an “asset”:

              travis wood-5.94 ERA at majors, 4.50 ERA in the minors; 17 ERA in spring training.

              saffelt hitting .225 avg, .284 OPS and 3 homers in the minors.

              torreyes hitting .176 in high A ball, .248 OBP no homers.

              marshall is 29; typically at an age of being in one’s “prime”; plus he was homegrown and a lefty. so we are the expos that we trade players at their peak value now? marshall who some say is “struggling” has 8 of 9 saves, his ERA is high at 4.24, however his xFIP is at 1.80; similiar to his last 2 years of 2.28 and 1.86. he has 12.71 K/9 and his BABIP is at .435, which is at least 150 over his norm.

              so for those of you just loving the trade; i guess becuz theo did it; there’s some facts for ya so instead of calling me stupid with NO facts, prove otherwise of how this was a good trade as one of you called it.

              • Njriv

                I cant think of another example of getting 3 players for 1 relief pitcher. Your facts are almost irrelevant at this point because it is only the end of May, the return for Marshall was for the long-term, not the short term. Your “facts” are virtually nothing.

                • cubs1967

                  yes the facts don’t matter mr attorney; cuz all guys hitting at or near .200 in the minors turn into .300 hitters in the majors-right?

                  show me some facts that show it was for the future?
                  all the players we got back were younger? is that your point?

                  facts are facts. stupid is stupid(you). you know nothing about baseball.

                  • Njriv

                    Why do you think it’s okay to judge players only in May? Is there no such things as slumps or adjustment periods? If it was the end of the year and he was hitting below .200 then you have a point. But its only May he has 4 months to turn things around. Torreys is only 19 years old.

                    • cubs1967

                      i don’t but someone said marshall is “struggling” so therefore good trade. so it’s OK to judge in may if the guy we traded is doing bad but if the guys we got back are doing bad then it is not? make up your mind.

                      the astros traded mark melancon who had a .8 WAR last year and got a starting SS in lowrie who has an .825 OPS and a 1.9 WAR & 8 homers plus a good SP prospect in Kyle weiland. we traded marshall who had a 2.8 WAR last year and got the 3 stooges.

                      to defend this trade shows one of 2 things; complete blind loyalty to team theo OR NO baseball knowledge whatsoever. nothing the 3 we got back show they are an “asset” for the future except eveyone saying so becuz it’s cool to say so since theo made the trade. it’s stunning the lack of baseball objectivity some on this site have.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                    So, once again, let’s talk facts.  I’m fairly certain you’ll ignore them… again… but I’ll do it anyway.

                    Torreyes.  He is being dismissed as having any value whatsoever because he has a batting average of .176.

                    Here’s the facts.  He has a BABIP of .183.  That is ridiculously low and entirely unsustainable.  The facts are that Torreyes has been extremely unlucky so far this season, that this has resulted in his numbers being far lower than they would normally be, and that trying to make a case regarding Torreyes as a player or a prospect based on his slumped numbers at the start of this season makes exactly as much sense as trying to argue LaHair should go into the Hall of Fame right now because of his good start to the season.


                    • TWC

                      But those facts don’t jibe with his narrative!

                  • Kyle

                    “Stunning lack of baseball knowledge” is exactly how I’d describe someone who wants to ignore peripherals and use batting average over a small sample to judge a player.

                    Well, not that stunning. It’s a pretty common and predictable lack of baseball knowledge, to be honest.

                    Few on this site have been harder on Epstein than I have, but that was a fantastic trade.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Ever watch or read “Game of Thrones” where one of the Dothraki will say something absolutely blithering and the rest will chime in “It is known!”?  I’d say it’s not lack of “knowledge” but what “is known” is the problem….

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      I wouldn’t say fantastic (but I believe you think better of Wood than I do), but it was definitely a good trade.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      I think that this also stems from people over-valuing bullpens.  There certainly seems to be the idea that the Cubs would be a 0.500 team (or close to it) if a guy like Marshall was in the pen.  However, the Cubs starters are near the bottom of the league in performance, and while a bad bullpen can drag down a good starting rotation if the offense is bad, good bullpens cannot lift up bad starting pitching.

                      Wood certainly has the potential to be an average or better MLB starter, which is much more valuable than a setup guy.  Marshall really is useful on a team that has its starters and offense in order; as some playoff teams show, you do not need a guy like Marshall, but he’s a gourmet frosting on the excellent cake if you do.

                • Cubs Dude

                  The Marshall trade seems better than the Bowden for Byrd deal (regardless of how trainwreck bad Byrd was), but it’s hard to get excited about any of the 3 players we received for Marshall. Hopefully Wood can become a legit #5 at some point. The other 2 received in that deal seem like serious long shots to have an impact in the majors.

                  • Kyle

                    I find it very easy to get excited about all three players. Well, maybe not Sappelt.

        • The Show

          Is it that hard to understand that Theo and Jed were not going to make a huge impact on the team this year? Seriously your stupidity is getting really annoying.

          • @cubsfantroy

            You really shouldn’t feed the trolls. That is all he is.

            If he isn’t a troll, he is one of the dumbest people on the planet.

            • BT

              He could be both.

            • cubs1967

              thanks for calling me dumb. if you have nothing to say; just keep quiet OR try explaining how the marshall trade was good?
              perhaps you should buy a mirror before you speak and call others dumb.

            • cubs1967

              i’ve been a fan since the early ‘1970’s; U?


          • cubs1967

            your right; the goal was to take a 71 win team by JH and quade and turn it into a 50 something win team??……..

            do you have a point? but yes they had an impact; lots worse.

          • cubs1967

            i’m stupid?/ really??………WOW–did not know.
            you making comments about others is really rude and uncalled for OR should i say annoying to be cool like you. should i call you names too; would that prove a point as you cowardly hide behind a computer screen telling others they are stupid with no reason or facts; OR just because the facts show how bad the marshall trade is BUT theo did it so we should bow down before him as the 50 plus win team on the field proves he’s a great master. (or the fact his last 3 teams will not make the playoffs or that in boston he had a 93 win team and a 170M payroll) so sure he’s a boy wonder. OR that he signed john lackey, dice-K and carl crawford..right?

            • Spencer

              facts are facts. stupid is stupid(you). you know nothing about baseball. – cubs1967 at 4:13 PM.

              There’s a saying about glass houses and stones I think you should look up.

            • The Show

              Im not a coward, I will gladly take this beyond a computer screen. Who’s the coward now?

              • calicubsfan007

                Don’t worry about it, he once called me a coward. Just let it slide.

        • Carew

          Right now Marshall is really struggling. Id say it was a good trade, especially in the long run.

          Its cliche but Rome was not built in a day

          • Njriv

            I’m confident either Russell or Beliveau will fill in for Marshall quite nicely in the future.

            • cubs1967

              what has beliveau done in the majors and how does that excuse trading an “asset’ for junk?

              just because travis wood is under control for 5 years; so yeah we have a pitcher with a near 6 ERA under control for 5 years?

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                Beliveau hasn’t done anything in the majors.  Why does that make him “junk”?

                Are you arguing that all players who have not yet reached the majors are junk?

  • KyleNovak

    Even with his recent regression (or “slump”), LaHair is still arguably the most valuable NL first baseman behind Votto during the first two months.

    As the calendar turns to June:

    Who would have thought that Albert Pujols would be statistically considered a replacement-level player? (He actually was below replacement until he started hitting the ball like the Albert of old during the last two weeks.)

    Carlos Pena is hitting .202/.343/.365 with a BABIP hovering around his career norm. He could either A) drop below the Mendoza-line like his 2010 Tampa season (Ouch.) if his BABIP drops due to bad luck, or B) move closer to his 2011 Chicago numbers. The ZiPS projection on FanGraphs has him splitting the difference between the two scenarios.

    • Kyle

      YEt more great reminders that there’s no such thing as “proven” commodities, be they major or minor leaguers. We can use projections and predictions that shade the odds of guessing what will happen, but in the end baseball players are extremely volatile.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I hope the Cubbies get a sweep today.. It would be nice before another road trip. The line up is just about the best we can field right now. So here’s to hope and prayer.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I think 7 weeks is enough time for Soto to put together a new mini season before the trade deadline. Maybe the time off has done wonders for his psyche. It certainly couldn’t have hurt anything. I would love to see LaHair catch fire again. Looking at how he played in Winter ball and made adjustments while at Iowa last year he should be about ready to break out on a hot streak. I like Mather being in the lineup he seems to be providing some pop. I wouldn’t mind seeing him move to 3B. But I doubt Sveum makes any change at this point. He seems content to leave Stewart there for now. I would put Mather at 3B against lefties at a minimum.
    Can’t wait to see what Theo accomplishes with the draft.

  • calicubsfan007

    Yay, Clevenger is back!! That significantly increases the odds for the Cubs to win!! If we trade Soto, what should the Cubs get back in return?

  • Drew7

    I’m starting to hope we don’t see Jackson until much later in the year for one reason: Other Fan’s frustrations over the SO’s.

    Recently, (starting with Brett’s article on Soriano’s hot-streak) I’ve read a lot of remarks about Soriano K’ing all the time. Soriano, for as much power as he has brought to the table, has only SO something like 21.6% of the time as a Cub (even less overall). I am very confident we will see a higher K-rate with Jackson, in addition to less power (at least in the first couple of years).

    This has also, along with bringing about the afformentioned concern, made me realize that many have undervalued what Soriano has brought to the table offensively. I just really hope fans temper their expectations and realize that, while he will K a ton even as a successful ML’er, his success will come from his ability to get on base and provide good power (along with above average defense).

    • CubsFanBob

      Are Jackson’s SO’s mostly swing and miss ? Or caught looking ? He has a high walk rate so i am hoping it’s the later.

  • Patrick

    I’m not a big proponent of Campana as the everyday CF, but it’s his birthday! Couldn’t he get a start on his birthday?

    • KyleNovak

      That’s a silly proposition, you know there can’t be any sixteen year olds just hanging out in center field during a baseball game, even if it is his birthday. Safety first! :)

      • Patrick

        Now that’s funny.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I do not care about the San Diego Padres. I don’t really think their former GM did anything special for them and he hasn’t done anything special for us up to this point. I think he is Theo’s lunch buddy for the most part. I wonder what he really does on a daily basis. Most CEO’s have their boy that they bring along with them. I’d say he is more like the Chief of Staff. The kind of guy you can’t piss off politically or it’s suicide for your career. But does he really have any power? Is he the one calling all the other GM’s trying to get an edge. Na… He and Theo sit in the office together making all those calls.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      1) 1984 is a perfectly good reason to care about the Padres.  “HATE!!!” is a form of caring (or at least non-apathy; specifically antipathy!), you know;

      2) The Padres farm system is considered one of the best in baseball: some call it the best.  (As with most things, worrying about the single best is a waste of time.)  Hoyer did not do all of that, but he certainly helped.  The Cubs system is very much middle of the pack, and on the wrong side of the median.

      3) The rest is sheer speculation….

  • calicubsfan007

    Brett, why isn’t Bing showing bleacher nation anymore in the search results? I normally have no problem with accessing Nation through Bing, but now it says no results for that and did I mean “Bleacher National”. What the heck is bleacher national!?!?

    • hansman1982

      probably because Google has blocked the Bing search engines from accessing their website! ZING on BING!

      Seriously, use Google.

      • CubFan Paul

        Bing has pretty backgrounds.

  • Drew7

    Anyone else notice Sean Marshall and his 4.24 ERA and 1.5+ WHIP? Its early, but I still like the trade.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Lies.  He’s made people forget Mariano Rivera and every other reliever not named Andrew Cashner.  Why, soon, it will be a religious offense to say either’s name without bowing your head!  Indeed, I read that opposing batters are snapping their bats and committing ritual suicide in the on-deck circle out of awe of their amazingness.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    All I can say about Theo and Jed is this draft better be THE Highlight reel for 2012!!! It’s one thing to draft well. It’s another thing to get them signed!! It doesn’t do a damned bit of good to draft somebody you can’t sign right away and get out to AZ and Boise to start playing meaningful games. If we get a few top notch college pitchers I would love to see them in Florida or Tennessee this season. If we are going to draft pitchers we need guys who are at a level where in two years max they are pitching in Chicago.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The signing deadline has been moved up this season, from mid August to mid July.  We should see a lot more of the top guys playing in the short season leagues.

      Whether or not a pitcher pitches after signing depends to a great degree on how many innings he has already pitched that season.  If the Cubs draft a college guy who already has 125 innings this season, for example, they may just shut him down rather than risk fatigue related injuries.

  • Myles

    Looks like Demp doesn’t have it so far.

    • Myles

      Yeah, Dempster is tired and real bad today.

      • RY34

        dempster has returned to that nice warm shiny turd of a pitcher. trade winds must have scared him back to reality.

        • Myles

          I’m not quite saying that, even very good pitchers have bad days, he just looked uncomfortable from the first pitch IMO.

  • RY34

    way to help your cause dempster! nice piece of hitting!

  • Ogyu

    “I will not say ‘dumpster.’ … I will not say ‘dumpster.’ … I will not say ‘dumpster.’ …”

    • hardtop

      I would hope not. poor bastard cant go every game giving up 1 or 2 runs. regardless of the score, we need some runs from the top of the order.

      • RY34

        you are definitely correct. hopefully we get some more!

  • RY34

    might be time to go way inside on quentin next time around.

  • Cubs Dude

    Really good to see Starlin take that walk. I really liked his approach during that at bat. He looked like he was only looking for pitches to drive.

  • djriz

    4 walks in an inning? Is that a Cub record?

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Milt Pappas is on WGN.  Someone needs to show him the correlation between team wins and team saves in the early 1970’s the next time he starts grumbling about pitchers no longer completing games…..

  • Joe

    Dempster is back to his normal self. I’ve been saying trade this joker(choker) for a long time. His recent success is not indicative of his career numbers. The Cubs organization is too emotionally attached to him. That is NOT good management.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah! Those other 8 starts were just flukes! This particular start was the REAL Dempster!

      (We disagree. He’s certainly not as good as he’s been the first 8 starts, but neither is he as bad as he was today.)

    • Joe

      I don’t know who that Joe thinks he is, but he’s not this Joe! :)

      Dempster rocks. He’s not an ace, but he still rocks. Rock solid #2 on a decent team, #3 on a perennial playoff team, I think. In any case, he rocks.

      All pitchers choke on occasion. How else can you explain the Cubs’ numbers against Halladay?

      When get Ryan’s run support you do, press too hard you sure as hell will, too, bud.

      • calicubsfan007

        Are you the original joe here or was the other joe the original here? If that makes any sense.

  • MaxM1908

    Sh*$ Cubs fans don’t normally say: “Darwin Barney: Home Run Hero!”

  • John

    Holy cow!! a walk off homerun by Darwin Barney!!!!!!!!!!

  • calicubsfan007

    I am happy for Barney, I really like the way he plays the game.

  • calicubsfan007

    This also proves my point that with Clevenger starting, we win way more than with any other catcher. Go Steve!!!

    • cubchymyst

      Be careful with that point, for a long time the cubs won more then they loss with Hill behind the plate.

      • Joe

        You can’t compare Clevenger to Hill. Hill probably could iron his clothes!

      • calicubsfan007

        Fair enough, but Hill really didn’t contribute. I personally think it was more luck than anything else.

  • Joker