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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

  • cls

    I disagree that Marmol “had just enough” to get out of the jam. He got lucky. And if he doesn’t make that catch the Mets tie the game up. And if that happened, it wouldn’t be on Marmol as much as it would be on Svuem. After all we have all seen, there is zero excuse for not having Marmol on a short leash. He should have been pulled potentially after his first walk, for certain after his second walk.

    Marmol came out looking sharp. I even excused that HR blast right after he K’d the first batter as bad luck. He came out tossing another strike after the HR. But, in the end, he walked the bases loaded. He is ALWAYS good for one walk, but when that walk comes after a HR, Marmol has shown he doesn’t have the mental fortitude to bounce back from that, and he didn’t. He lost the strike zone and walked them loaded and got FREAKIN LUCKY with that double play at the end.

    Look, I’m glad it happened. I didn’t want an entire team let down by one single player again, but Svuem needs to know to have a short leash on Marmol. It just isn’t worth it.

    • Iceman

      Marmol did make the catch and the Mets didn’t tie it up so therefore he had just enough to get out of the jam

      • cls

        There’s just no way I can look at Marmol with the same optimism that you do. He was awful, he got lucky. End of story IMO.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I just don’t understand the negativity of some Cub fans. Most wanted to see the Cubs rebuild. Most have used their mouths to sign on in the abstract to some sort of rebuilding process. Most openly turned up their nose at free agency and wanted a bright young manager. Everyone seemed to say the understood that this team lacked talent and most have been advocating trades.

    So here we are mid season and Sveum has done a pretty good job with little talent and they have had a nice little streak. He has very little control over the roster, this is clearly a collaborative effort with the focus on getting what they can from what they have. Oh and by the way, they have been doing a pretty good job of winning games of late that they probably shouldn’t against better pitching. I think the process could be a little shorter than the 2015 most seem resigned to, but if some continue to nit pick even decision along the way and every move, the prozac manufacture is going to be doing well.

    I’m pretty impressed how well Sveum has conducted things and has veterans and young people playing well when a team has so little to play for. It is really the mark of greatness he works as hard as he does at this with so little to work with. Way too much complaining for where they are…..

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Ha, I think most knew there would be certain people to jump at the chance, because Ryno isn’t the manager.

    • Toby

      Mike, I am completely in agreement with you. How many years have Cub fans been clamoring for a complete overhaul. I am paraphrasing here when Hendry used to get ripped in the last five years about resigning Ramirez, Lee and signing Fukudome and, more recently, Pena to “really bad contracts.” How many times were fans complaining about the lack of fundamentals and laying the blame on an inept farm system that “must not be teaching them in the minors. At the end of Hendry’s run at GM, fans were calling for someone that “knew what they were doing.” Insert Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod with the notion that everyone is going to play the same way from Rookie Ball all the way up to when they get called up to Chicago. They hired Sveum, who was one of rising talents in managing, Dave McKay, who was one of LaRussa’s inner circle of coaches, and Chris Bosio who worked with a fine pitching staff in Milwaukee. On day one, Theo and Co, made it clear that they were going to build the Cubs the right way which is through the farm system with free agency supplementing that farm system. It was going to take a couple years to see this plan coming together, but something went wrong in some fans eyes. Apparently, Sean Marshall was untouchable, Tyler Colvin was untouchable, and Sveum is worse than Mike Quade.

    • calicubsfan007

      Mike F: Right on, you are completely on point here. Sveum is pretty solid. Sure he makes rookie mistakes, but I think he is learning. And the only reason Colvin looks decent this year is because of his home park, which inflates every batter’s numbers whenever they hit there. And no one is worse than Quade.

  • Bric

    Rizzo is starting to look alot like Ike Davis and Marmol is starting to look like Marmol again. Or, in my mind, he’s never stopped looking like himself. 3 or 4 dominant appearances followed by 3 or 4 wild, lost looking performances and a DL stint. At least he’s consistant. The one thing you need in a closer. With or without the whiffle ball type numbers.

    • Jeff

      I hope like hell that Rizzo doesn’t look like Ike Davis to you..there’s no way! A .204 AVG with a .274 OBP..your kidding right????????

      • Bric

        I just meant the swing and the power.

        • Jeff

          Ok …lol

  • daveyrosello

    Can’t wait until the Cubs dump Marmol somehow, so sick of his act. Guh.

  • http://Yes Dude

    Marmol looked great, we need to lose if we want that number one pick.

    • daveyrosello

      Are there any Bryce Harpers, Mike Trouts, or Stephen Strasburgs out there for next year’s draft? I thought I read the 2013 crop was going to be just so-so, in which case the player quality should be roughly similar regardless if the Cubs pick first or fifth. And I don’t think there’s any chance the Cubs win enough games the rest of the way to do any better than 26th.

      • Kyle

        There’s no Harper, but it’s way too early to tell if there’s a Strasburg, and nobody knew Trout was this good until a few years after he was drafted.

        It’s way, way, way too early to start talking about whether the draft class is strong or weak or whatever.

      • Vladimir

        Well early talk is Ryne Stanek (college pitcher) would be the best pitcher this draft. And since he’s college, next year he’d be even closer to the majors than any pitchers from the first round this year. Also you’ve got to think in a sense of bonus money, now that we are restricted on spending. The difference between the Astros and us (#1 to #6) was what? Astros had like 7.9 mil and we had about 3.9 mil? It’s about 3+ mil to play with. Looks like we will sign all of our top 20 picks. But with no money leftover. Just imagine what an extra 2 to 3 mil could mean. There are alot of intriguing guys we won’t beable to sign, the top of them being Rhett Wiseman. If we had a couple extra mil to offer him, we could likely pry him away from college.

        • hansman1982

          the extra money doesn’t mean jack – players now are signing for close to bonus so the money doesn’t matter, what does matter is being able to grab whomever you want in the first and getting a slightly better pick each round. Getting the extra $3M just means that Almora would have been $3M richer this year.

          Hell, look at Appel – word has it that even though he fell $in the draft he is still going to sign. I think the new CBA restrictions aren’t going to be as terrible as was once thought. College seniors and juniors now have no leverage and everyone knows that it just takes one injury to go from $3M to $300K.

          • Cubs Dude

            The extra money does mean something. The Astros saved 3 million on Correa with the first pick by way underslotting him. It allowed them to sign players like McCullers. If everything is close to equal you take the guy who will let you underslot him. The first pick in the draft gives you a ton of leverage.

          • Scotti

            When have college seniors ever had leverage (answer: never)? And if Theo had an extra $3M Almora/Boras wouldn’t just take it. I’m not one who believes that Theo walks on water but, heavens to Betsy man, Theo isn’t an idiot. Teams have leverage and they have been using it. Don’t sign your guy this year and get one pick lower in the next draft.

            • Cubs Dude

              College seniors absolutely have no leverage. That is why Appel will sign. Any decent prospect comes out their junior year for a reason.

              • Scotti

                Just to be clear, my reply was not to you. You appear to understand but just making sure.

                • Cubs Dude

                  No worries. I love what the Astros did in the draft. They completely exposed the loop holes in the system, and told Boras to F off and made him look like an idiot. He only cost Appel 2.5 million.. I can’t wait to see the Cubs play the system next year.

  • MIkeL

    OH MY F’N GOD!!!! No……no closer has EVER had a rough outing in the history of MLB……..seriously guys…some of these comments are pathetic! Rizzo goes 2-4 with a walk and a homer and people say he is Chris davis….really?!??? marmol is not the best closer in the league…..far from it…..but even the best closer blows saves from time to time…..he was due for a blown save…..that still doesnt mean he hasn’t been lights since he came up from AAA……I mean seriously guys….

    • calicubsfan007

      MIkeL: I believe Rizzo was compared to Ike Davis, not Chris (unless I misread the comments). And I am sorry that you are angry about the comments. I am not crazy about Marmol either. The sooner he’s gone, the better for the Cubs.

  • Josh

    Funny how the Cubs threw out arguably their worst on paper lineup of the season and got the best overall results of the season.

  • calicubsfan007

    Play of the game: The Valbuena catch off the Hairston line drive down third base line. WOW! Loved it!

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    For all you Colvin haters out there who tell us he only hits well in Coors Field what is your explanation for his 2 homer night vs. Stephen Strasburg this evening in D.C. ? Just dumb luck ? When given consistent at bats this guy can hit for power from the left side & would look just fine out in RF instead of DeJesus & would have been much cheaper. Just sayin.

    • Vladimir

      stop being a stupid ignoramus. My uncle was talking about stupid cubs fans today, and I argue with him but people like you prove him right. Colvin has a good half a year and all of a sudden you think he’s a great full time player. Let’s see him keep this up for 2, 3, 4+ years then maybe you can say how terrible we we’re to get rid of him. But that won’t happen, because when Colvin fades into obscurity you’ll move on to the next crap player to latch your homerism to much like you probably did Murton, Pie, Cedeno, Patterson and any other mediocre or worse player that had one good year.

      • daveyrosello

        Whoa, relax a bit, mkay? Even if/when Colvin has a nice stretch, NO ONE believes he was a long term option for the Cubs. I’m happy for him individually, but no way is this a bad thing from a Cubs fan perspective.

        OTOH, you want to argue that Team Theo screwed up and took a deadbeat, injured player (at higher $$ cost) in exchange for Colvin, hey, you’ll get no argument from me in that regard. I’m sure Ian Stewart is a swell guy, but he’s been injured for what, five years now? Team Theo deserve to be criticized for their apparent lack of due diligence there, no doubt.

        But Colvin on his own, honestly, no loss. We all saw his shortcomings last year, those aren’t going to go away. Bully for him for his short-term success.

        • The Dude Abides

          Stewart was as high a rated prospect as any when he was coming up but like you say injuries and strikeouts did him in (insert Brett Jackson”s name possibly here). But as far as the gamble Theo took he was and is still looking to catch lightening in the bottle with all of these former high ranking prospects much like he did in Boston with Ortiz from Minnesota. We had too many outfielders and no 3B so he pulled the trigger, did it work? May still be a little early but probably not. Will Colvin be an everyday 25 HR guy in his career? It’s possible, but Stewart could have been and still may be one day just probably not with the Cubs.

          This blog is a perfect example of over promoting every prospect signed and hatching a possible trade and who we will get back in a trade that no GM would make and still keep their job. It will be a Stewart for Colvin like trade that is made that will be the difference, and maybe, and I mean maybe one or two of the these players signed will make it to an elite level, this stuff is hard and Theo will have wayyyy more misses that hits, we only need a few to make it, just keep filling up the pipe with players, this really is not a secret recipe developed by Theo.

          • Tommy

            Let’s not bury Jackson before he even gets a shot. He was looking pretty good in spring training, and the one difference he’s shown from Ian Stewart is the ability to still hit for average. The strikeouts are a huge concern, but he hasn’t even gotten a shot in the majors yet, and he’s still young. I just think it’s a bit early to be giving up on him. I know back during spring training when he was killing the ball, everyone was raving about him. We, as fans, can be incredibly fickle (see Soriano, Soto, Marmol).

            • Mrp

              You had me until you mentioned Marmol.

    • Scotti

      FWIW, Colvin is now hitting .293 with an OPS of .867–on the road. For those saying his hot streak is Coors inflated, well, those are some really good numbers. His 13 HR would look mighty fine as a Cub and his trade value right now is MUCH higher than it was when last off-season’s trade went down. If Theo/Jed can have winning trades then they can have losing trades. No problem. Happens to the best of them. You usually can’t tell for certain until years have passed but honesty compells one to view this as a loss for now (yes, there’s a minor leaguer involved but he is a long way off and the Cubs had the freakin medical file of Stewart). Loss.

      • Cubs Dude

        Yeah Colvin is playing well, and that deal for sure appears to be a loss for the Cubs. But like you said, it happens. Hopefully we win more than we lose in the future.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          And anybody who thinks that Colvin is going to keep this up is seriously deluding themselves.  He’s a left-handed Jeff Franceour, nothing more and nothing less.

          • Cubs Dude

            I don’t think anyone thinks Colvin is someone you want starting long term in the outfield, but the deal appears to be a loss for the Cubs. That’s ok because it happens, but it’s a loss none the less. Plus if we had him it may hurt our chances for the #1 pick next year!

            • DocPeterWimsey

              The only way that this deal comes up as a loss for the Cubs is if the Rox dupe a contender into giving up a decent prospect for Colvin.  Quite frankly, I think that it is more probable (albeit still highly improbable) that Stewart will contribute to a winning Cubs team in the future than it is that Colvin will contribute to a winning Rox team in the future.

              At any rate, 3B is always a tough position to fill: remember the gap between Santo and ARam?  The Cubs are not alone there: look at how long it took the Dodgers to get anybody to replace Cey.  So, it’s always a smart gamble to try to get a guy who has the potential to be a decent OBP, good slugging guy at 3rd.

          • Scotti

            To determine a win or loss on this trade one has to factor some likelihoods. Likelihood of the B prospect panning out? Rule of thumb is less than 10%. Likelihood of Stewart recovering from wrist surgery then playing for the Cubs at a higher level–much higher level–than he has career-to-date? Less than 10% (sorry Ian). Likelihood that MLB will do a George Brett on Colvin and take back his 13HR and .300 BA in his first 200, or so, PA? 0%. Likelihood that Colorado will offer Colvin back in a do-over so we can use him in a trade to get some value in return? 0%.

            So, from that standpoint, Colvin could get hit by a bus tomorrow and this trade is a loss for the Cubs. The value he has already provided Colorado surpasses any likely future MLB return from either Sterwart or the B prospect.

            Again, it happens. No GM is immune. It’s happened to Theo, Jed, Hendry, everyone. But not calling a loss a loss is just hiding your head in the sand.

            • hansman1982

              Agree, it didn’t work out so far, well dang. Colvin would have gotten us (if you want to go absolutely nuts) 5 more wins right now over Byrd/Campana and would likely have brought a B type prospect at the deadline (at best) and that is assuming that he would have been able to hit as well as he has with the Cubs. It certainly is not worth the head shaking, fist pounding, feet stomping, teeth gnashing, etc… that it has gotten so far.

              One game does not change the fact that he has NOT hit well outside of Coors.

              • Scotti

                A .293 batting average and a .867 OPS is in FACT considered hitting well outside of Coors, no?

      • Cubs1967

        ur killing me Smalls……….don’t give me the road stats too!!………..how bad is this trade!
        wtf……..seems team theo had ants in their pants and had to move colvin for an injured can’t hit .200 anyway way overrated defensive 3B………ouch!

        i thought team theo was perfect??……whatever member of the new 300 person FO who suggested that trade needs to be ignored when trade time comes in a few weeks…….

  • PJD

    Mike, I can’t agree with you more.. I still hear it today! Expectations were set low anyhow and everyone was “signed on” for this but now that we do have a little streak going its … Where was Rizzo in April.. How come Sveum made this move or that move.. I just think everyone needs to remember what we All signed up for and it will lead to much more happy cub fans come 2014-2015

    • ColoCubFan

      We all signed up to be Cub’s fans. If a trade can go bad, it will!!!

  • pjboy9

    We all want the same results that netted us the likes of a Grudzielanek, Karros, or Aramis (to name a few) each time a trade is made. It’s just not going to happen. I would have liked to seen Colvin given a chance this year but I was happy when they didn’t bring Aramis back, thus I was ok with the Colvin/Stewart trade. Still am. Glad for Colvin that he’s getting his chance. Don’t think he’ll maintain his numbers but if he does…good for him.

    • Scotti

      Exactly. Good for him. And I like how you phrased the “I don’t think he will” bit. Your opinion. No uneccessary finality. None of this stuff about A guy can’t be this or A guy can’t be that…

  • Tommy

    Hindsight is 20/20. Where were all the genius baseball minds when the Ian Stewart trade was first made. I don’t remember hearing anyone whining about giving up Colvin then. I’m not saying it didn’t happen – I’m just saying I don’t remember hearing a whole lot of complaints personally.

    And half a season does not determine whether a trade was good or bad. I think it will take a bit longer than this to make that call.

    • hansman1982

      You can certainly call it a loss up to this point; however, in 5 years time I doubt that 99% of the posters on here will even remember the trade. Stewart will most likely end up playing for someone else or being out of baseball come the 2014 season, Colvin will ALWAYS be a 4th OF type and we will have other marginal prospects that get traded away to do good with their new team for 6 months to worry about.

      Anyone know where Sam Fuld is right now?

      • Scotti

        In 5 weeks 99% of the posters on Cubs.com won’t remember the trade but the majority of the posters here will.

  • Keith

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned about the Stewart-Colvin trade is the defense …. It should be woefully easy to remember how bad the defense was on this team last year, especially at 3B …. Trading for Stewart gave us an excellent glove in the corner and if his offense showed up in a rebuilding year, that was a bonus, at least he was contributing when the Cubs are in the field and helping the pitchers out …. smart gamble by Theo and company in my opinion during a season in which we won’t be competitive

    • Scotti

      The gamble would have been smarter, IMHO, had Theojed not had access to the medical files where they saw that Stewart had been complaining of wrist problems. For hitters the wrist is somewhere between a shoulder (more serious) and an elbow (serious but usually recoverable) for a pitcher. Not good.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I like Colvin, and I still do. I, however, don’t think he would have had this production with the Cubs. I wouldn’t say his stats are inflated because of Coors, but it has helped. I hope he goes onto a great career, either with Colorado or some other team.

    I think Stewart, after he comes back from his surgery will command the hot corner for the Cubs for a few years. I’m not sure how long it will be, but I can see at least three years before the Cubs have anybody ready in the system to take it from him.

  • Kevin

    Thinking outside the box, the offseason trades were just bandaid trades to try field a team for a year or two at best. These were not blockbuster deals for either side, they were mid ceiling, at best, in exchange for the same. The true test will be what happens this month. Let’s not focus on the negatives, we are wasting too much energy on nothing. Let’s be happy we have Theo & Jed who are putting the pieces together their way.

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