I can’t say I expected the Cubs to be going for a sweep in this one, but, here we are.

Jeff Samardzija will look to throw a put together a solid start for the first time in a while, and Anthony Rizzo will get his first start against a lefty. On the bench? Bryan LaHair. It’s the Cubs’ first post-Rizzo “all-righty” lineup, and it’s not quite as “all-righty” as before.

Game Info

New York Mets (39-36) at Chicago Cubs (26-48), 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

Jon Niese (5-3, 3.75 ERA, 4.33 FIP)


Jeff Samardzija (5-6, 4.34 ERA, 3.28 FIP)

New York Mets Lineup

1. Andres Torres, CF

2. Ruben Tejada, SS

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Lucas Duda, RF

5. Ike Davis, 1B

6. Scott Hairston, LF

7. Daniel Murphy, 2B

8. Josh Thole, C

9. Jon Niese, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Joe Mather, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. RIZZOMG!!!!!!!!!! (yup, still) (1B)

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Jeff Baker, RF

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Luis Valbuena, 3B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • Carew

    They should give LaHair a shot against lefties, therefore they should put him back in RF and Baker at third…thats just me

    • Frank

      They could–but LaHair has never been effective against lefties at any time in his professional career; why expect that to change in the majors where the pitching is that much better?

      • Carew

        I know. But in a lost season like this why not give it a shot? Even if it is only for a week or something. I dont see it as a bad thing

        • djriz

          You’re right Carew. He’d have to get better against LHP if he had more reps against it, right? Plus, it not like his platoon partner is hitting all that good against.

      • BD

        Even if he’s not that good, it will be as good or better than Baker.

        • Carew

          My thoughts too but Sveum is adamant about playing Baker..

        • Drew7

          Thats the thing – he most likely wouldnt be as good…

          • jr5

            My issue with this is that even though Baker might be slightly more effective than LaHair, that value is negated by allowing an opposing pitcher to face batters solely on one side of the plate. It allows him to settle into pattern of attacking the same side, etc. I just don’t see how a team can want a balanced lineup, but then toss that out the window against lefties.

            At least two lefties are in today. We’ll see what happens.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Why would a pitcher keep attacking the same side of the plate for different batters?  Each batter has different strengths and weaknesses: pitches that get Darwin Barney out get Sori to donate one to the bleachers.  Pitchers are using the “heat zone” data for each individual batter these days, which makes it rare that you can pitch the same way to two batters in a row.

      • baldtaxguy

        Not sure why Val(not so)buena is in the line-up over Baker at 3rd against a lefty.  He’s not an apparent fielding upgrade over Baker…..

        • chirogerg

          cause the dude can rake

      • Joshua Edwards

        Here’s an article with a chart that shows LaHair’s splits vs. lefties in the minor leagues.
        (Tough info to find since minorleaguesplits.com went under).


        I’m a LaHair fan but even I have to admit his history against MiLB lefties provides ample evidence he shouldn’t be facing them in the majors.

        Stupid, large sample sizes…

  • Tim

    lol this must be the best outfield weve put out there all season. Mather leading off…. hahahahahahaha

    • MikeL


      You must’ve read Sullivan’s tweet……Sullivan has been hating on Sveum because Dale won’t give him enough “information”……in other words, Sullivan is lazy and doesn’t want to do the leg work. Mather batting lead off today is not really a bad decision…..here is his line against lefties on the year:


  • Spencer

    I wanna see a W!

  • EB

    Why does Valbuena get a shot against lefties and not LaHair? Has he ever proven to be effective against lefties?

    • Beer Baron

      Actually Valbuena’s career average is 40 points higher against lefties than righties. His career splits vs LH is 265/.328/.453 and vs RH is 219/.277/.331. So the move makes sense on that level. Of course even his “better” numbers against lefties are still pretty lousy, so not really a strong argument for starting him over LaHair. LaHair is awful against lefties, while Valbuena is merely bad…kind of a ‘pick your poison’ scenario.

      • andrew

        .780 OPS isn’t bad at all

  • Leroy K.

    Alright, this is getting annoying. Play Lahair!!!!

  • rocky8263

    Valbuena has a cooler name.

  • hogie

    Svuem has his clear favorites. It took the multiple relievers failing before he gave Russell a real shot (at more than one batter at a time) when the stats showed his success out of the pen. He could easily put Mather at third and Johnson in center but a few clutch shots and some flashy leather work means Svuem has a new man crush. I like the guy too, but after a two error performance, let him clear his head in a situation that allows it without hitting ego.

    Edit: Valbuena that is.

  • calicubsfan007

    Can someone remind me why is Baker starting? Ugh…

  • mudge

    Lefty-righty, lefty-righty. You look at some of the lineups, like this one, and you can’t imagine them winning. Looking to be wrong today.

  • Patrick W.

    Is it true that LaHair has NEVER had any success against Left handed pitching in his professional career?

    I read this from Carrie Muskat’s column about a week ago, and I wonder, is she just wrong? Does she have the minor league numbers wrong?

    “In 2011, LaHair batted .284 (40-for-141) vs. left-handed pitchers. He had a .546 slugging percentage, .338 OBP, .884 OPS, with nine homers and 10 doubles.”

    Before you say “Small Sample Size” (a concept I agree in whole heartedly) he’s had 39 at bats against Left handers in the majors.

    If those numbers are accurate, I guess I just don’t believe the HE HAS ALWAYS SUCKED AGAINST LEFTIES argument.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      If you believe in the concept of small sample size, why are you putting any stock into a small sample size of numbers?

    • Frank

      According to these splits, he only had 12 at bats against lefties in 2011 and hit .250:


      • Patrick W.

        Those are his Major League stats, I was quoting his minor league stats as quoted by Carrie Muskat (and confirmed).

        Also, I’m not putting any stock in any of the numbers. I’m simply saying that it’s not true, as has been said, that he ALWAYS struggles against LHP. I saw a post that said he has NEVER had a good season against lefties. I’m just pointing out that last season in AAA he had a good year against LHP. I did not advocate for him to start every game against every left handed pitcher. I simply pointed out a fact.

        Why are we so quick to jump on anybody who offers something that goes slightly against the grain of the zeitgeist? People act like I said “Bryan LaHair had an awesome season in AAA against lefties, dude should be playing every day.” Which I obviously did not.

        Oh well, anything to provide an opportunity for a dozen “Look how smart I am” posts.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    BOOM!!! CC Sabathia to the DL!! The Cubs are are open for business Yankees! Garza is yours for the hefty price of 2-3 top prospects!! Drive up the bidding!!

    • cubchymyst

      Andy Petite just left the game, hit in ankle by batted ball

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I’m lovin it. Make the Yanks desperate and make them over pay. I don’t like that petite got hurt but it could benefit the cubs

    • Patrick G

      I don’t believe the Yankees have good enough prospects for Garza. Their 2 big pitching prospects have been garbage of late

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Agreed. The yankee prospects are always over rated but the more desperate they are the more they will bid and that will drive the cost up from other teams that want Garza. Its all about leverage

        • Patrick G

          That’s true. Now if it was a major package like Betances, Banuelos and Mason Williams and maybe a catching prospect that would be great, but doubt they’d part with their top 3 prospects.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Yes, but the problem is that the Yanks do not have much to bid!  Their farm system is underwhelming right now.

          • Serious Cubs Fan

            Doc: I really wish the Tigers get desperate and trade for Garza. You think they would part with Nick Castellanos. The guy is pretty much as close to a can’t miss prospect as you can get. He is a beast. He is a kid who is already at high level but has a high ceiling too. He will definitely hit for average in the pros but the only question is if he can develop the power which he definitely could. Has a very projectable body.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              The Tigers have said several times that Castellanos is untouchable.  They do have a 2-year plan of moving Miggy or Prince to DH after VMart leaves, playing the other at first, and putting Castellanos at 3rd.

              If they get Garza (with a year of control after this season), then they prbably will offer one of their promising looking young pitchers.

              Still, we can dream….

  • Cubbie Blues

    Is it true that LaHair has NEVER had any success against Left handed pitching in his professional career?

    He has had success in the past. It’s just that it’s been a very low percentage of the time that he gets that success.

    • Patrick W.

      I get that. I’m just suggesting that it’s not necessarily true that he has always been terrible against left handed batting, has never shown improvement, therefore should not be given the opportunity to EVER start over Jeff Baker (.241/.300/.370 vs LHP ty) when there’s a lefty on the mound.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Kyle has posted LaHair’s numbers against lefties at various times. They’ve always been pretty poor.  There is a weak trend towards improvement, but it was going from worse to bad.  LaHair is now 29 and past “developing.”  Despite the label, he really is not a late bloomer: he was raking against RHP in AAA as far back as 2006. LaHair really was just late to be recognized for some reason.

        • Cubbie Blues

          ↑ This

  • TonyP

    Could 1 of you Stat heads post Dejesus and Bakers slash lines vs LHP please?

  • King Jeff

    Baker is .hitting 241/.300/ .370 with 10 ks in 56 at bats
    DeJesus is .hitting .123/.275/.123 with 13 ks in 57 at bats, so yes Baker is the better option with the bat.

    • Carew

      So play LaHair over DeJesus against lefties sometimes

    • TonyP

      thanks Jeff

    • TWC

      Oh, but those are just numbers.  Those don’t really matter.  What matters is that when I’ve seen Jeff Baker he’s sucked. ###

  • Leroy K.

    ARRRGHHHH!!!!!! These are the days I hate living in the UK haven’t seen Rizzo yet, and happy because the game is at 1:20 (which means a 7:20 start for me) so I can actually watch the game. I put on VIPBOX.tv and it finally loads and it’s the FREAKIN SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF!!!!

  • HuskerCub

    “Jeff Samardzija will look to throw a put together a solid start for the first time in a while,” Holy crap, did we hit the bottle a little early today Brett? Will look to throw a put together?

  • Patrick G

    Rizzo just pissed on that ball

    • BD

      Just to be clear- I am not trying to be saracastic. But what does that mean?

      • TWC

        The ball had blisters.

        • Richard Nose

          Yes, lessons learned from Moises.

  • Carew

    anybody know any websites that I can watch the game on that’s not mlb?

    • calicubsfan007


      • Carew

        ok thanks…but im not sure i want to watch it now

  • Leroy K.

    well Samardjia continues his wonderful “streak” and I have concluded We can’t win them all. STUPID METS!!!

  • MikeL

    Well that whole Shark to the rotation experiment has been fun…….but it ultimately failed……

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      You can’t give up on him already. Its called he’s worn out. He was a reliever last year. He is also young and still learning how to pitch and developing

      • MikeL

        uhm…no. I would agree with you if he had a couple of shaky outings here and there, but when he has struggled as badly as he has his last 5 starts and especially after today, he isn’t a starter. He isn’t just struggling and developing….he is getting crushed. I would also agree with you if he were in his first or second year in the majors, but he isn’t.

  • Leroy K.

    Oh great how is Rizzo going to score 9 runs???

  • BD

    Muskat’s latest blog said that Soler is a switch-hitter- is this true?

    • Leroy K.

      I think he bats left and throws right….not sure though…

  • Steve

    Holy Homerun Batman….DANGER DANGER

  • Leroy K.

    All things Jeff are evil…Jeff Blauser, Jeff Fassero, Jeff Baker, Jeff Sama…sama….not going to work here anymore lol…

    • Steve

      Leroy…THAT was funny stuff right there…

      Yyyyyeah… I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday……

      • Leroy K.

        i was hoping some one was going to get this, I have become so satirical as of late with this team. No….not satirical, cynical lol

  • RY34

    WOW, didnt take long for the league to figure out Samardiza, dude has gotten his ass kicked for what now the last 5 outings in a row, 27 runs given up over last 23 innings. Maybe he should quit thinking his shit don’t stink and realize it is he that stinks. Nothing like a nice big dish of humble pie; maybe we shouldnt be so quick to get rid of Garza, cuz Jeff sure isnt a future ace!

  • RY34

    hey more typical shit, coleman walks the pitcher, jesus christ already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Steve

    We need institute a $1,500.00 fine for walking the pitcher…especially if his name is Jesus Christ.

  • RY34

    i see a 20 spot in the mets near future.

  • rbreeze

    I think the Shark needs to miss a start.  The All-Star break is coming but that may not be soon enough.  That means we can’t get rid of Wells yet?  Volstad call up?  R. Lopez call up?  My God it keeps getting worse…….

    • RY34

      better yet, lets just forfeit the rest of the games until the all star break and give us fans a much needed break! i knew there was no way in hell we could get a three game win streak today.

  • TWC

    Casey Fucking Coleman has a WHIP of 7.0 today.

    • RY34

      lets DFA his dumb ass too! he has been given more chances than deserved already.