The second half gets underway today, and Paul Maholm will look to continue a nice stretch of outings. Someone in the comments – sorry for the lack of a name – recently compared the next few week stretch to the playoffs, as far as the Cubs are concerned. Every game matters a great deal for trade purposes, and especially those games started by Maholm, Ryan Dempster, and Matt Garza.

Game Info

Arizona Diamondbacks (42-43) at Chicago Cubs (33-52), 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

Ian Kennedy (6-7, 4.26 ERA, 3.58 FIP)


Paul Maholm (6-6, 4.57 ERA, 4.51 FIP)

Arizona Diamondbacks Lineup

1. Willie Bloomquist, 3B

2. Aaron Hill, 2B

3. Justin Upton, RF

4. Jason Kubel, LF

5. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

6. Miguel Montero, C

7. Chris Young, CF

8. Stephen Drew, SS

9. Ian Kennedy, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Bryan LaHair, RF

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Luis Valbuena, 3B

9. Paul Maholm, P

  • ETS

    I get your point but Dempster and Garza’s value has to be fairly established at this point. I guess we can watch if Demp appears to have lingering injury effects, and it’d be nice if Garza had a stellar outing or two, but ultimately I don’t see too big of trade value impact.

  • CityCub

    Brett what would be the chances of the cubs re-signing dempster in free agency 2013 after trading him to a contender this year for a couple prospects. I kind of like the idea of renting him to a contender for the rest of this year and bringing him back next season, but what are the odds of that actually happening?

    • Frank

      I kind of like the idea too–though I’m not sure how Dempster fits into the plans of this front office. But isn’t that what many thought would happen with Lilly? It didn’t work out that way.

      • CityCub

        I think hes still got another season in him. Id like to see him come back. He could help out the younger players that will be with the team next year. Or for anyone else too that is. Plus im sure if hed plan on retiring say after 2013(not saying thats the case) im sure hed like to do it as a cub like wood did.

  • Joepoe321

    Wasn’t dempster supposed to start today?

    • Ian Afterbirth


    • gratefulled

      I thought that is what I heard/read prior to the break.

      • ETS

        Prior is starting? Maybe for the red sox.

        • Cubbie Blues

          He is in AAA with the Red Sox he has only pitched 9.1 innings this year in 8 games with a 3.63 FIP, 1.5 WHIP, 10 BB and 21 K. His fastball is sitting at 90-94. Link

          • dabynsky

            Prior can rush it up there at 93-94, but having watched every inning he has pitched this year I would say his fastball sits at 88-92 at this point in his career.

            • Featherstone

              Speaking of Prior, I remember everyone saying after his lengthy injury history that it was due to his “inverted W” pitching mechanics. Anyone look at Chris Sale’s delivery, he has the same thing going on. I wonder if anyone will suggest that he will be injury prone.

              • dabynsky

                Yeah though with Prior you also had the genetic looseness and Dusty Baker to throw on top of the “inverted W” that Chris Sale doesn’t have to deal with.

                • Featherstone

                  Yeah Dusty certainly didn’t help Prior’s career. As much as I hate the White Sox I very begrudgingly respect Don Cooper (Sox Pitching Coach) quite a bit.

                • Edwin

                  Prior also had that collision with Giles that hurt his shoulder. And that line drive he took off his elbow didn’t do him any favors.

              • Norm

                The “Inverted W” (or, M) is a farce.

                • hansman1982

                  do you have examples of pitchers with long careers who have had this kind of delivery?

                  • dabynsky

                    Smoltz would be an example I believe.

                    • hansman1982

                      Smoltz did have a slight inverted W – not to the extent of Prior, Strasburg or Sale but it was there – I will give you a point there.

                  • Edwin

                    Adam Wainwright. Pedro Martinez.

                    • Featherstone

                      Adam Wainwright is a terrible answer. Try again.

                    • Edwin

                      I think Wainwright is a decent answer. He has an Inverted W. He’s been awesome since 2007. 32 starts in 2007, 20 starts in 2008 due to finger injury, 34 starts in 2009, and 33 starts in 2010. He did sit out 2011 because of Tommy John surgery, but lots of pitchers get Tommy John surgery.

                    • Featherstone

                      3 Good years hardly qualifies for a “long career”

                    • hansman1982

                      Wainwright is a terrible example
                      Martinez did not have an inverted W – his elbows never came much above his shoulders (if at all)

                  • Norm

                    I don’t. Not sure how to even find them without google imaging pitchers all day long.
                    They keep track of guys that get injured with the Inverted W, but I don’t think anyone keeps track of anyone that succeeds.

                    I’m just basing that comment off the baseball people I follow/read…I think it was Will Carroll.

                    • hansman1982

                      doing more reading today – you are correct – the M, in and of itself, will not cause injury – just you need to have perfect mechanics every other stage in your delivery to avoid injury.

                      Long story short, it causes you to have to rely too much on your arm to put anything into the ball thereby causing unneeded stress on the elbow and shoulder. The goal of pitching should be to just get your arm to guide the ball to where it needs to go and let your body do most of the heavy lifting.

                      Unfortunately, guys with the M can’t achieve this and use their arm too much.

              • hansman1982

                It will be interesting to see. Strasburg has the same basic mechanics. Just such an awkward motion and causes you to use far too much of your arm to put zip on the ball.

                • Featherstone

                  It will be very interesting to see. When Strasburg went down with TJ surgery it only added to the “inverted W” fire. Chris Sale has a fantastic arm, I certainly hope he doesn’t blow it out, even pitching for the much maligned white sox.

                  • dabynsky

                    Sale is an interesting case since his success and his team’s success is likely to push him to a far greater workload than he has every had in a single season. It will be interesting to see how the Sox manage that given the very old school tendencies of their pitching coach, albeit a very good one, and what the results are.

                    • Featherstone

                      Strasberg is running into the same issue, He’s approaching his season inning limit very quickly, especially being just 1 year removed from his TJ surgery. Do you shut down the Ace of your staff when your leading your division and haven’t made the playoffs in 31 years (counting time as the Expos)

          • Patrick W.

            Wow… 21 of his 28 outs have been strikeouts. He has faced 42 batters and struck out half of them.

            Is my math right? 21K’s +10BBs +4hits +7outs not by K? His ERA indicates no errors behind him.

      • dabynsky

        Initially the Cubs announced that Dempster would start the first game after the break, but they changed it pretty quickly to Maholm then Dempster for some reason.

        • CityCub

          might be smart to give him an extra days rest after the break so he can come out and fire off 7 more scoreless innings. and improve his trade return even more(fingers crossed)

    • CapnCub

      Yes, but he was told he would get an extra days rest.

  • calicubsfan007

    The trade value for both of our top pitchers is pretty much set in stone (unless something huge happens). Decent lineup. I can see us scoring some runs with this lineup.

  • ETS

    rain delay?

    • Wawa Skittleslits

      According to ESPN, Snow delay,

      • CityCub

        Looks like even espn is affected by friday the 13th…lol

  • Jackalope

    Nice to see Baez make BA’s hot sheet for this past week. Arismendy Alcantara made honor mention. Cool to see Dwight Smith, Jr. there, as well. Remember the Smith-Walton-Dawson outfield? Yeah, those were the days.

    • ETS

      Article would have been better if it said that Baez does what he wants.

      • Steve

        No, he does what the _ _ _ _ he wants. (rhymes with truck)

    • Freshness21

      My favorite outfield…that is until Jackson, Almora, and Soler is born.

  • ETS

    Anyone else see Ben Sheets is starting Sunday? Crazy.

  • João Lucas

    Wow, the Nats just signed Giolito.

  • North Side Irish

    No deal for Appel. Heading back to Standford and the Pirates get the 9th pick next year. Could be an option for the Cubs in next year’s draft if he stays healthy…less leverage, but will still be looking for a big number.

    • calicubsfan007

      North Side: I think that, if I were the Cubs drafting next year, that I would pass on Appel. He is Matt Harrington reincarnated (who the Cubs signed as a undrafted FA, if remember correctly, then cut him shortly after that).

      • North Side Irish

        I’m kind of torn thinking about it today. Assuming he stays healthy and productive (obviously HUGE assumptions), then Appel would be exactly the kind of arm the Cubs need to add to their system.

        I’d love for the Cubs to be able to do what Houston did this year and sign their top pick for underslot and spread the savings around to pick up multiple assets. And I have a hard time picturing Appel agreeing for less than slot, even without leverage.

        Long time before we have to worry about it though.

        • MoneyBoy

          Personally, I think the kid did the right thing but for the wrong reasons. He’s a junior, a Boras guy, and a whole lotta teams didn’t pick him for just that reason.

          Yes, I know, Almora is as well. But he was fairly picked at 6 (though it’s thought the Cubs had him higher on their board).

          Appel, if I’m reading MLBTR correctly, is the only 1st rounder not to sign.

          North Side, from what MLBTR posted, the Pirates offered every dime they could to get Appel without forfeiting a pick in 2013. Now, what’s interesting about that is the buzz is 2013 will be just about as pedestrian as this year’s draft. I’m not a draftnik so I don’t know about these things. Apparently Pittsburgh gets a comp 9th pick next year, a nice balance considering they’re leading the Central.

          The Cubs, Astros, Padres, Rockies and Seattle look to battle it out for positioning in the top five. The Cubs figure to be big sellers … dunno so much about the others. The Astros fired their big bullet with Lee, though it’s thought they might move Brett Myers (FL?).

          Not counting games today, 15 teams sit between 42 and 47 wins!! 5 more between 48 and 52. Gonna make Brett the busy boy and The Wife (cough) testy!!

  • Brett

    By the way, thanks to the rain delay, my plans have been mucked up (I’m in Chicago), which will ultimately lead to a delayed (and potentially inebriated) EBS. Many apologies.

    • Cheryl

      Be tankful you weren’t at rhe cubs game. My first experience wasn’t the best. it’s going to take a whie to dry.

    • Chris S

      Take you drunk your home?

      • Chris S


        • Brett

          I still don’t get it…

          • Cheryl

            In other words it rained for two hours, got soaked, went home.

            • Brett

              You did? That sucks. I wasn’t at the game, myself. The delay pushed back a meetup time with friends for me.

  • Michael D

    Went to the game. I am already home.

  • lou brock lives

    Reds looking for top of order lefty with decent OBP – also looking for someone to replace Leake in rotation. How about we offer Dempster & DeJesus picking up their 2012 salaries for LHP Cingrani in AA who should be ready for 2013 rotation spot.

    • baldtaxguy

      I don’t know if that’s the right exhange of value, but Cingrani has some serious stats. He would look good in a Cubs (affiliate) uni.

  • MaxM1908

    Holy Cow! Soriano’s OPS is going to shoot up with today’s performance: 2 2B, 2 HRs. Unbelievable.

    • baldtaxguy

      Rest did him good

  • leroy k.

    If the Cubs win today, they will have won 8 out of there last 11 games? Is that right? Excellent….Just when I am done, they pull me back in 😉 (Nah, I could never leave)

    • MaxM1908

      Exactly. There’s no leaving the Cubs. But, in typical Cubs fashion, they’re still finding a way to screw themselves…even in winning. I’ll laugh if they make an incredible run over the second half, only to finish middle of the central, but drop significantly in next year’s draft position. Oh well, I’ll appreciate the run even if it hurts us in the draft.

      • gutshot5820

        You can look at it another way. If the Cubs are finishing dead last, that would mean a lot of the younger guys are not performing well and the Cubs are much further away from contending than we thought. If the Cubs go on a great run, that would mean a lot of players are improving or performing well and we are much closer to contending than we thought. I think finishing strong is worth way more that a higher draft pick simply because that means the current major league players are performing well and have substantially more value than a prospect.

        • Gcheezpuff

          I understand the theory, but it isn’t necessarily true. The cubs may trade off there 3 starting pitchers and replace them with Wells, Volstad, and Coleman. No matter how good the young guys play, you aren’t gonna win many games without pitching. I’ also imagine most prospects coming back via trade will still require MiLB seasoning too.

        • MaxM1908

          Or, a great run to the finish may just be a product of statistical anomalies that have no real bearing on the future prospects for the team. Quality players make a quality team. Quality play from sub-quality players can create wins, but is statistically unsustainable in the long run. For the Cubs to win a World Series, they need to field a team that can contend every year. We’ll have that when we have a fully functioning, high quality farm system. So no, I don’t agree that finishing strong is worth more than a higher draft pick in next year’s draft. I do, however, love the Cubs and like to see them win even if it hurts our draft position and the future health of our farm system.

        • Vladimir

          I totally disagree. I have never been a fan of 2nd half runs. Look at all the times the Cubs have done so well in the 2nd half after they were way out of it and the pressure was off. It made us think Quade was a good manager. now I’m not saying this years team has problems performing because of pressure. I’m just saying a great 2nd half does not lead into a great 1st half of the following year. The Cubs can still play respectably (maybe slightly under .500) and still get a high draft pick next year, that’s the best case scenerio in my book. After they sell of Demp and Garza hopefully that is what will happen and they battle for the #1 spot in the fecal league.

  • azump40

    No that it matters, but does anyone know why Super Joe changed to #21 from #16?

    • Mrp

      Roberto Clemente.

  • MaxM1908

    I love that the Cubs are 9-4 since Rizzo joined the team. What I don’t love is how many uneducated Cubs fans out there are probably saying, “Jed and Theo are idiots. If they had brought up Rizzo when we demanded it, we’d be a playoff contender!”

  • calicubsfan007

    Rizzo power strikes again! The Cubs are doing to the other teams what was once vice versa! Ha ha! I was initially concerned that we would get the Rizzo who kind of sucked last year for the MLB Padres, but that concern is long gone! Go Cubbies!

    • Jackalope

      Soriano has some power, too. Raised his SLG% by about 40 points in tonight’s game.

  • gutshot5820

    Am I crazy for thinking that if the Cubs kept this team together. Added a TOR pitcher, solid third baseman, center fielder and a top reliever, this team could do some serious damage next year. All doable within next years payroll if they wanted to.

  • grace17

    Nobody beats the RIZZ!

  • grace17

    Totally agree with gutshot

  • Cub Gone Wild

    The Cubs can really put the hurt on some teams trying to make the play offs the rest of this season. AND… If we keep winning at this rate our record will start to even out. Last year the Cardinals came out of nowhere and got in and won it all. Wouldn’t it be fitting if our Cubbies just pulled off some kind of second half miracle streak. Kinda flip the year of 69 around and instead of losing 13 straight we win like 13 straight right away before anybody actually gets traded. Oh ShaNikia’s that would be the greatest event in the last 103 years. Maybe we should keep our pitching and become buyers at the deadline. I listened closely to Sveum’s interview. He said sometimes nobody gets traded at the deadline. Well I don’t think nobody will get traded but what if they don’t trade Dempster or Garza and Theo signs them both to extensions and keeps the rotation together. Then maybe all we need is a Third Basemen and a couple bull pen guys and we are off to the races. All we need is a little luck and to keep playing sound fundamental baseball and in two weeks time our shit don’t stink anymore. All I can say is THAT’S BASEBALL…. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. It happened for the Cardinals last year and it can happen for us. We have a good clubhouse and our guys win and lose as a team. The Mid Summers Dream could have some life in it. I’m all for it.

    • Tommy

      Man, I love your optimism Cub Gone Wild! I would love to see that scenario come true. I don’t think it will, but like I said, I love the optimism!

      There’s a buddy of mine at work that I always talk to about sports, and we were discussing what separates Cubs fans from say, Cardinal fans (any fans, really). We just noticed that the Cards could be 6-4 over their last 10, and be 7 games over .500 and their fans are whining about how crappy they are. We, as Cub fans can be 20 games below .500 and win 2 in a row and we start talking about our potential and how we’re turning things around. I love that, man! You gotta have hope – and in the end, what good does it do to always look at the negative. I do think there’s value to being realistic, but as a fan, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to always be hoping for the best!

      Keep thinking positive, brother!

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Our Cubbies have 11 games in the division against the Pirates and Cardinals before the trade deadline. Being the big time optimist that I am. If we win this series and the Marlines series then were to sweep the Pirates and Cardinals in the first of the 2 series set between now and months end. The gap would be closed significantly. I just know the Pirates are going to choke and puke and the Cardinals are sucking so we can spank them hard this month. If we sweep the Pirates and the Cardinals I’m quitting my job and taking a ton of cash out of my investments and going to watch all the games I can the rest of the way.

  • Diesel

    Can I have some of what you are smokin?

  • Zogie

    The cubs came out of the break and got right back to work. Great pitching and Great hitting combined for an 8-1 win. DeJesus 0-4 BB played some good defense as always and had some long ABs. Not too productive, but he played his role. Castro 1-5 1K is still struggling a bit at the plate. He has played great defense, but his ABs have been frustrating. Rizzo 2-4 1K continues to hit balls hard to all fields and set up Sori very well today. Soriano 4-4 2HR, 2 2B, 5 RBI erupted. His bat was the lightening and the connection was the thunder. Lahair 0-4 RBI continues to get jammed inside and chase pitches high and away. Hopefully he can make some adjustments. Soto 1-3 2B had some good ABs and is slowly raising his batting average. Barney 2-4 1K, SB looked good at the plate today and I’m calling and improved second half for him at the plate. Valbuena 0-3 BB 2K may need to make some adjustments soon. He has had good timely hitting, but he is starting to level off. Mather 0-1. Maholm pitched well yet again. He got into some jams, but fought through them. Corpas and Camp both had good relief efforts as well. My shout out goes to Alfonso Soriano. He carried the offense all game long.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Okay … we don’t trade Garza or Dempster. we do this deal in a heartbeat though.
    And McNuttcase


    • Jeremy

      Not even close to enough for Upton

    • Njriv

      You would have to include probably both Garza and Dempster.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I’M ALL FOR THROWING IN LAHAIR IN THE DEAL AS WELL. WON’T NEED HIM IF WE CAN GET UPTON… UPTON… is only like 10 months older than Szruzur (can’t spell that name) and only 4 months older than Jackson. He is 23 going on 24 a little later this year. We would have him forever. We got the money to sign him for the next 7 or 8 years if we want too. He is the exact player that fits Theoyer’s mold. He isn’t even close to his prime and would be a superstar amongst superstars at Wrigley over that time frame. Castro, Rizzo, Upton, Baez and we are LOADED for a long time.

  • Cub Gone Wild


    • gocatsgo2003


      • Bric


  • Cub Gone Wild

    Not shouting. I type real fast. I don’t look at what I’m typing. Didn’t realize I had caps lock on.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Diesel, I don’t smoke but if I did I wouldn’t sell it that’s a crime. Not illegal to have that stuff for your own consumption in Montgomery County.

    • Jeff


  • lou brock lives

    Mc Nutt has officially been switched to bullpen as of tonight’s game. Pitched 2 scoreless after relieving Jokisch who also pitched 6 scoreless for Smokies at AA.
    According to one report out of B. Olney (ESPN) Tampa Bay now looking at Soriano – if Cubs pick up most of salary owed.

    • someday…2015?

      I think McNutt is our future closer. If not closer, set up man.

    • Scotti

      “Most,” sure. All but chump change? No reason to do it unless a legit prospect or three is included coming our way.