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Travis Wood will try to continue his ridiculously hot stretch (which can be hard to do when you’re facing a team for the second time in two weeks), and he’ll try to beat Johan Santana once again.

Starlin Castro gets his first game off of the year a day after all the beat writers got quotes from Dale Sveum about how Castro is going to keep starting even as his bat slumps because of his good defense. I’m sure they’re thrilled about that.

Darwin Barney fills in at shortstop, which could threaten his errorless-game streak a bit, since he hasn’t played there in quite some time. He’s a natural shortstop, though, so maybe he’ll give other teams something to think about this month.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (31-51) at New York Mets (45-38), 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

Travis Wood (3-3, 3.05 ERA, 1.089 WHIP)

versus

Johan Santana (6-4, 2.76 ERA, 1.092 WHIP)

New York Mets Lineup

1. Ruben Tejada, SS

2. Ronny Cedeno, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Scott Hairston, LF

5. Lucas Duda, RF

6. Justin Turner, 1B

7. Mike Nickeas, C

8. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Reed Johnson, RF

2. Darwin Barney, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Jeff Baker, 2B

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Joe Mather, CF

8. Luis Valbuena, 3B

9. Travis Wood, P

  • Spencer

    this has “W” written all over it.

    Bazinga.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Big test today. Rizzo vs. a top lefty in the majors in Johan Santana. I’m really interested to see how he handles the bat today. Lahair out of the lineup against lefty again.

  • mudge

    I like that Sweum rethinks things sometimes. Looking for a couple doubles from Soto tonight.

    • rcleven

      “I like that Sveum rethinks things sometimes”

      If you ever see or read what this man say’s post game the man is one big contradiction.
      The only thing he rethinks is how to get the foot out of his mouth.

  • Patrick G

    I will be attending this game at Citi Field, and of course Castro sits for the 1st time. At least I can see Rizzo. Go Cubs!

  • RY34

    mather, johnson, baker, and soto, ughhhhhhh!

    • TonyP

      It would be great to see T Wood have another great start.  Not feeling overly confident in the offense tearing it up tonight however.

       

    • Mat B

      I like Johnson, and since my response is well after the game, he showed why so many of us like him. He’s a hard nosed player who will do everything he can to help his team. I would like to see him remain with the team beyond this year as a good veteran presence on the bench, but Mather, Baker & Soto, yep you are quite right.

      • calicubsfan007

        Mat B: Those other 3 just totally suck. Johnson is the old fashioned player who really plays the game for the love of the game, not for the money. Again, I love him and I loathe him at times for some of the stupid mistakes he makes at the worst times of the game. But then again, no player is perfect.

        • Mat B

          I don’t get to see many games, so I’m not aware of any stupid mistakes. What kind of things are you talking about?

  • cubchymyst

    Well be nice to see how Barney does SS. I like the way he plays and hope to see him on the cubs for a while, but a good showing tonight could only helps his trade value if that is the front office’s plan.

  • Cubs5050

    What the SAM HILL is up with the lineup?

  • MightyBear

    Dempster is going to pitch on Sunday. I know it may hurt their draft choice but I hope the Cubs pound the Mets. I hate the Mets.

  • gary

    i know we dont have a ton of talent but svuems’ lineups sux

  • joepoe321

    lets see T wood beat dempsters no run innings streak!

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Kerry Wood announced to Dave Kaplan on CLTV that on the last pitch in his 20 strikeout game that he felt pain in his elbow for the 1st time after that pitch.

  • Vladimir

    I can understand an off day for Castro. But I am just sick and tired of seeing Johnson and Baker. I know when we have more good players we won’t see crappy bench players but IMO they are getting way too much damn playing time. Mather for some weird reason I don’t mind seeing as much.

    • Mat B

      How do you feel about Johnson now? A bench player who plays excellent defense and is hitting .299, I’ll take it.

      • calicubsfan007

        Mat B: Johnson is one of those players who can aggravate me so quickly when he makes some of those strike outs at the most inconvenient moments in the game, then he makes these amazing catches and throws. I love Johnson, but I also loathe him.

  • nkniacc13

    I don’t mind Johnson vs Santana as he has decent numbers I believe

  • Stu

    Mather has no bat. Never has. They were just using him for filler.

    Baker has done well the past couple of games that he has been in. I don’t know if that justified his playing against every left-hander. Never liked his approach to the game. When you are marginal with talent, you need to play with a little more passion.

    Johnson is playing out his last stint with the Cubs. He could be traded, but he will not be with the club next year. I’ve liked his attitude and presence over others. A pros pro. Not much talent left in the tank.

    Can’t wait for the trades.

  • Josh

    RizzOMG!!

  • AD

    Rizzo (OMG) !!!

  • Jackalope

    Boom!

    • joepoe321

      rizzOVERTHEFENCE!

  • Chef Brian

    Rizzo goes yard! This kids amazing.

  • Jeff

    Go Baker!!! bout time! good to see you getting hot

  • Nick

    Rizzo is amazing!!!!
    Then Jeff Baker goes yard

  • Njriv

    Sorry for the language, but every god damn time I have to leave the room, Rizzo hits a home run, EVERY TIME! I have not seen one live yet, always on replay.

    • Josh

      Take one for the team and next time you see Rizzo come up to bat, turn off your TV

    • joepoe321

      SAME HERE! i always miss it!

  • Patrick G

    Just saw that in person. Have the biggest man crush on Rizzo

  • theNOOGE

    My Darwin Barney koolaid is getting sour.

  • Jackalope

    It seems no one told Rizzo he’s not in the PCL anymore.

    • hansman1982

      Shhh, don’t say it too loud he might hear you

  • Cedlandrum

    Soto has made some loud outs this year. Very bad luck. Last i checked his BABIP was a laughable .150

  • Goatbuster

    The pieces are slowly falling into place. I try not to get punch drunk on the kool aid, I like where we are going.

  • John

    Ok Dale needs to be fired! He keeps letting Marmol pitch. It makes no sense

  • Zogie

    The cubs had a hitting frenzy tonight. 18 hits tonight resulting in 8 runs. The 9th was crazy, but Marmol had just enough to get out of the jam. Johnson 4-6 HR, 2B, 1K had an amazing game. A night to remember for him and his batting average is now 1 point away from .300. Barney 1-4 BB, K had one of the key ABs of the game allowing the cubs to break it open. Rizzo 4-5 1HR 3 RBI 1K killed the ball all night yet again. Sori 2-4 1BB 2K had a so-so night. The K’s came in key situations. Baker 2-4 HR 1 2B K had another solid night against a tough lefty. He has earned his starts the last few games against lefties. Soto 2-5 is starting to break out of his funk a bit. He was hitting balls hard all night, but he continues to find gloves. Mather 1-4 and Valbuena 1-5 had a few rough ABs, but came through in key situations. Mather- Sac Fly, Valbuena- RBI Single. Castro 1-2, LaHair 0-1 K. Wood had another good start. He did just enough to keep himself out of trouble. Camp was great out of the pen and Russell did enough to keep the mets down. Marmol almost blew a 4 run lead, but luckily got out of his jam. My shoutout goes to Reed Johnson. Rizzo and Baker deserve some love as well, but Johnson got the cubs going today.

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    Castro should have started to try and break him out of his slump.

  • rcleven

    Cubs will no longer be in the Central cellar. Milwaukee ahead of astros in the 8th. 7-1.

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