Ok, Jeff Samardzija. How about one of those good starts again?

Game Info

Atlanta Braves (41-37) at Chicago Cubs (29-49), 6:10pm 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

Jeff Samardzija (5-7, 5.05 ERA, 3.68 FIP)


Tommy Hanson (9-4, 3.59 ERA, 4.72 FIP)

Atlanta Braves Lineup

1. Michael Bourn, CF

2. Martin Prado, LF

3. Jason Heyward, RF

4. Chipper Jones, 3B

5. Freddie Freeman, 1B

6. Dan Uggla, 2B

7. Brian McCann, C

8. Andrelton Simmons, SS

9. Tommy Hanson, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Tony Campana, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Bryan LaHair, RF

6. Steve Clevenger, C

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Luis Valbuena, 3B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • calicubsfan007

    Not a bad lineup. I hope Shark regains his dominant form.

  • Andrew

    I agree with the last comment. I really like this lineup. I like DeJesus leading off but Tony just gives us that little edge offensively with his base running skills.

    • Jwilson3985

      I agree with Campana here because Hanson (and McCann) have allowed 63/70 stolen bases the last two years (90%). I also hope Sveum is putting Campana ahead of Castro to force him to take a couple pitches.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Speed is nowhere near the edge that OBP is, and Campana’s inability to get on base pretty much negates his one weapon.  Hanson & McCann might make stealing bases easy, but nobody can steal from the bench.

      • J Wilson

        Normally I would agree, but Chipper at 3B can’t move. Also, if there was one day to start Campana, this would be it. Huge CF at Turner Park. These reasons, when combined, I think warrant a Campana start on this team, this night, and maybe one or two other teams in the league.

  • RWakild

    In my eyes this is the most dynamic lineup that can be rolled out there. Just hoping Campana can get it going again and do anything he can do to get on base.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    I wonder how long into the game Len or Bob will say “This could be the night!”

    • calicubsfan007

      Over/under 2 2/3 innings? I say under at 1/3 innings.

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        I like that. I’ll go under as well. I think it’s said in the pre-game:)

  • CubsFan4Life

    Hey Brett, Jeff Samardzija’s record is actually 5 wins and 7 loses. His ERA climbed up to 5.05 after he gave up 9 runs in his last start. Also, Tommy Hanson’s record is 9 wins and 4 loses with a 3.59 ERA. I thought you might want to post the correct records and ERAs for tonight’s starting pitchers.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, thank you. Distracted by the waves or something.

      • CubsFan4Life

        You are welcome. If I was at the beach, I would blame the women in bikinis for distracting me. A day at the beach followed by a Cubs win would be a very good day. Let’s Go Cubs.

  • Nick

    I really want to see Vitters and Jackson up soon. Is it possible the Cubs bring them up after the all-star break?

    • nkniacc13

      the cubs have no reason to bring them up they are not forcing their way to chicago yet

    • TonyP

      Jackson will strike out in half his ABs if he is brought up now.

      I hope Jackson is traded in a package deal with Garza or Dempster at the deadline.  Let him K for someone else.

  • João Lucas

    I haven’t heard anything about DeJesus after he was pulled from the game yesterday (after getting in already late in the game), and now he isn’t even in the lineup. That’s weird.

    • nkniacc13

      someone said it looked like he tweaked his arm when he threw the ball in as a replacement so maybe that’s the reason

      • João Lucas

        Oh. I hope it’s nothing serious. Thanks for the info.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Sore neck. Slept on it wrong.

        • João Lucas

          This is a bit of a relief actually. I was starting to think Dale Sveum went completely mad and was favoring Campana over DeJesus.

          • TWC

            No, that’s just (some) Cubs fans’ madness.

            • MichiganGoat

              Scrappy Dappey Doo

              • TWC

                Shouldn’t you be scraping the bottom of the growler somewhere up in the UP?  Do they have the Internets yet?

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                  Leave tomorrow morning

    • art

      his neck. read that some where.

  • Frank

    Has there been any indication of how the Cubs are going to handle the fact that Samardzija is already at his career high in innings pitched?

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Just read that Phillies plan on keeping Hamels. I also read a post that says it’s possible Garza was already more valuable then Grienke and Hamels… If the report that Phillies are not trading Hamels is true it has to make Garza’s value go up.

  • nkniacc13

    Its all about what other Gm’s think.

  • JoeyCollins

    I wonder how close this lineup will be to next years opening day lineup. My guess is atleast 6 of these guys are on that lineup card. Not sure how that makes me feel.

  • JK

    2-7 is a distinct possibility. I have feeling that either LaHair or Soriano may get moved to give the Cubs more flexibility. Valbuena and Campana if they can show sustained success I have no objection if they start but we need to get more production into the offense somehow, so somebody is going to have to go.

    • Drew7

      If Campana and Valbuena are on the 25-man next year the 2013 season will be a long one. If both start? Yeesh…

  • RY34

    a split in this series would be considered a huge success considering the way shark has pitched of late and the uncertainty of volstad on his return.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Campana is a pinch runner and a spot player, nothing more. I don’t know why people have such a mean on for him to be in the starting line up.

    • Professional_High_A

      Because he is actually fun to watch.

      • TWC

        Imagine how fun he would be to watch if he was, like, good.

        • Drew7

          Yeah…incompetence out of the leadoff spot is a blast

          • @cubsfantroy

            I know I enjoy it.

            • TWC


    • art

      Campana is not even a good bunter.

  • KidCubbie

    Who is the douche bag that is calling the game with Chip Carrey? He’s straight dogging on Lahair getting voted into the All-Star game. Whan an embarrassment that guy is.

    • whiteflag

      Braves regular announces are Chip and Skip Carey, I believe.

      • Drew7

        Skip Caray died in 2008…

        • whiteflag


  • TWC

    Yo.  Moreland just said leadoff walks score 65% of the time.  That seems a touch high.  Is there some independent verification of that?  Or is Zonk just making up bullshit?

    • oswego chris

      I have read that before as well…

    • Drew7

      65% seems pretty high. I thought it was more like 40%.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      65% is a commonly repeated number.  However, Drew7 has it right: it’s about 40%.  The percentage has dropped a bit over the last few years as the number of homers has dropped.  Also, the 40% applies to leadoff men reaching first: the scoring frequency is the same for singles, hit-by-pitch, errors, etc.  Fangraphs has the exact numbers, but all are within easy binomial error of each other.

      • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        From Bill James’ website:

        How often does the leadoff walk score? Going back 10 years, it’s 38 percent of the time. Not good (for the pitcher). How many runs score in the inning, on average, after the leadoff walk? .905 runs. That’s an 8.15 ERA, assuming all the runs would be earned.

  • KidCubbie

    I love Castro but what the hell was that? He just stood there with the ball and let Uggla reach base on a routine grounder. WTF Castro, wake up!

    • rcleven

      Rizzo playing a shift could not get to first fast enough. Castro chose not to throw till Rizzo was in position. Dale talked to both.

  • MoneyBoy

    RizzOMG with a bomb to deep left center …

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Shark looking much better tonight… Keep it up Cubs!

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    4 2/3 Innings, whoever had that wins!

  • CubsFan4Life

    Samardzija just stuck out the side. He has 7 strikeouts in only 4 innings. This is definitely encouraging. Hopefully he can keep it going and get through the Braves lineup 3 times tonight.

  • Kevin

    Did you hear about Castro? Oh crap, i forgot what i was going to say……

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    Amazing plays by Barney!

  • Can’t think of a cool name

    Barney, putting on a clinic.

  • conradmcmasters

    The shark would have been pissed if that play by castro cost him a no-hit bid

  • Mysterious4th

    Now that’s the shark we were waiting to come back! Went from an ERA of 5.05 down to 4.77 with 11 K. Rizzo is looking so comfortable both at the plate and on defense.

  • Patrick G

    MLBtraderumors says braves are definitely in on Greinke and willing to deal top arms. Bad news for Cubs

    • Jonski

      The reason I disagree is because it is all hinged on Grienke signing a extension .If Big Z and Garza are headcases then Grienke is 1 step away from a mental hospital.

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      Only if Greinke is willing to sign an extension. Sliver of hope?

  • Turn Two

    Infield defense could be a strength for many years.

  • 100 Years of Tears

    So what was the difference between this start and Samardzija’s shellacking last week? Clevenger was behind the plate today. Maybe that’s not the only difference, but I think it was a big one.

    • Drew7

      The big difference was him having command of his pitches and not leaving meatballs up in the zone.

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      Fewer base on balls, fewer pitches down the middle of the plate.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Remember, catchers do not call games like they used to do.  Many of the calls are done off of the bench, and they are based on the heat charts showing where in the strike zone batters fare poorly on fastballs, sliders, curves, etc.  No matter what pitch is thrown, the pitcher is trying to throw the (or a) version that is nice and blue on those heat charts.  When he gets hit, it’s usually because the pitcher missed, not because the catcher called for a hittable pitch.

      • Turn Two

        Not sure, Dale Sveum has remarked several times on how well Clevenger calls games. Alot of the dugout look-ins in major league baseball are with runners on to get a sense of how to handle the baserunner. I believe the Cubs to a large degree let their catchers call their own game. Of course the pitching charts are analyzed excessively both in pre-game meetings and in-between innings. However, I would not be so quick to say that the Cubs catchers do not play a big role in helping their pitchers through. Whether it be pitch selection or framing pitches, I like the way Clevenger handles the staff.