In case you haven’t yet seen or heard, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is awesome. Fact.

Hey there, Chris Volstad. Whatchu got?

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (43-61) at Los Angeles Dodgers (57-50), 8:10pm 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

Chris Volstad (0-7, 7.94 ERA, 4.23 FIP)


Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.95 ERA, 2.97 FIP)

Los Angeles Dodgers Lineup

1. Shane Victorino, LF

2. Marc Ellis, 2B

3. Matt Kemp, CF

4. Andre Ethier, RF

5. Hanley Ramirez, SS

6. James Loney, 1B

7. Jerry Hairston, Jr., 3B

8. A.J. Ellis, C

9. Junior Kershaw, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Jeff Baker, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Joe Mather, CF

8. Luis Valbuena, 3B

9. Chris Volstad, P

  • Dan

    Tonight should be, to say the least, interesting with Volstad vs. Kershaw.

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Good luck cubs. Ya need it

  • Jackalope

    Volstad versus Kershaw? Easy.

    You sure that’s not Brett Jackson?

    • Brett

      I thought it, but didn’t want to do it …

  • Zakkyboy126

    1st time poster here. Love your websight! Great Job!

    I’ve had enough of Valbuena at 3rd. That is my thought.

    • Brett

      Thanks, Zakky.

  • cas-castro

    Is Castro leading off?

  • Drew7

    Why would Baker get the start? Not like he’s on the roster just to hit against lefties or anything…

    • Brett

      Baker’s in there. I wondered why LaHair showed up, myself. Looks like early versions of the lineup were wrong.

  • Jeff1969

    Wow, look at that 5 thru 9 again. Yuck. We might get no hit tonight.

  • North Side Irish

    Jeff Baker is hitting 5th and Chris Volstad on the mound? Looks like the Cubs are finally getting serious about making a run at the Astros for 1.1.

  • Irish cub

    just saw the dark knight rises brett did u like it. I think it was really good dissapointing that Chris Nolan won’t be doing any more :(

    • Brett

      I thought it was excellent, both as a stand-alone, and as a wrap-up to the trilogy. Not quite as good as ‘The Dark Knight,’ but excellent.

  • die hard

    wish they would quit messn with Castro’s head..he belongs 6th….let Mather leadoff or Valbeuena who will see more fastballs

    • Drew7

      He wont see more fastba…you know, nevermind…

  • Richard Nose

    good one.

  • North Side Irish

    Jayson Stark ‏@jaysonst
    If Darwin Barney gets through tonight w no E’s that’ll be 91 errorless G in a row, beating Sandberg’s longest single-season streak #whoknew

  • Cheryl

    The manager messes with a lot of people’s heads, not just Castro.

    • die hard

      agree..hes gone next yr is my prediction and Sandberg brought in if not promoted to Phils

      • @cubsfantroy

        I disagree, I don’t think he will be. The FO hired him for a reason, they know the Cubs won’t be good for awhile, no matter who the manager is. I think he rides out his contract. They can’t keep changing managers hoping that will fix everything and I believe the FO knows it won’t help to bring in someone new.

        • J R

          Sveum was given a no win situation. Hell, the guy was asked to do things to help players trade value instead of winning this year. He is in a really tough situation, so there is no way he’s not back next year. With that said I do hope he improves on what he says to the media and his backtracking, and his lineups are sketchy at times.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          There is zilch chance of Sveum being fired and less chance of Ryne “let’s bunt with the cleanup hitter!” Sandberg being hired. Look, is Sveum a full-fledged moneyball manager yet? No. (I still have not forgotten that bunt with Castro: sheesh…..) However, he’s making strides: he hasn’t bunted with a top-of-the-order guy since, and it’s been a while since he’s had a position player bunt before the end of the game. What will be more important is JedStein getting Sveum the high OPS players that you need to manage this way.

          • J R

            Yeah, I am not sure why Sveum being fired is even being discussed. Kinda pointless in this type of year…

            • scorecardpaul

              guys you are missing the point. just read(or don’t read) his post and move on. If you must comment just say Hi diehard

      • Andrew

        Absolutely absurd comment. Zero chance he gets fired. Just an idiotic comment

      • Carew

        No way is he gone. He has done well with a weak team

      • art

        not going to happen.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      How does Sveum mess with players’ heads? Platooning does not mess with their heads: a platoon players know when they are and are not playing, and they know why. Changing their position in the batting order does not mess with their heads: if Jed & Theo’s messages are getting through, then every player should be approaching every PA with the same approach.

      Basically, the fans might feel like their heads are being messed up, but how fans perceive the game and how players do has little (if anything) in common.

      • Cheryl

        Basically I agree there is no reason Sveum shoud be fired. But there are times when he can handle situations better. A player does well in a certain situation and then he sits. There seldom seems to be an acknowledgement of the player doing well on Sveum’s part. In some ways he reminds me of Quade in that regard. But in many ways he doesn’t.

      • Cheryl

        Question, Doc. What if a player does not regard himself as a platoon player and then is placed in that posiion? Would that not have an effect on him?

        • Drew7

          I’d think that, when a guy has a decade of minor league baseball under his belt, he understands his flaws and embraces the opportunity. I’m sure LaHair knows his defense is bad, and he can’t hit lefties. He was given plenty of opportunities (mostly in the minors) to disprove those notions and failed to do so.

          We obviously can’t know for certain, but when a guy like LaHair can either A) pout about it, suck, and not get another opportunity, or B) firmly establish hiself as a RHP-masher and continue playing, I think he chooses to accept it and pick option B.

          • Cheryl

            Very true. But say someone has been an everyday player and then is placed in that poosition. I would think it would effect him. We can use an example of a pitcher who has been a starter and is, in his mind, relegated to the bull pen. Or you can take someone on another team who has been an everyday player and a trade forcs him to adjust and become a platoon player. There is a difference. Will the player admit that the change effets him? Probably not, even if it does. My question was broad and not related to LaHair.

  • Irish cub

    Well it would have been very difficult to beat Heath Leadgees joker.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Way to beef up your trade value more, Soriano.

  • J R

    Personally, I like Castro leading off. He seems comfortable there. I know he has been caught stealing a lot this year, but he has completely quit trying to steal all together which is a bit disappointing. I would steal with that dude like crazy in this worthless year, so he can get a better feel for it.

  • TJ

    At Iowa Cubs game, Vitters just belted a 3 run homer. Unfortunately, he also committed an error earlier in the game. Still, he has 7 hits in the last 3 games.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      An error hardly cancels out a homer! Errors do not really concern me: they are a horrible measure of how good a fielder is. What I have not been able to learn is whether Vitters has decent range: what’s really important is how many outs a fielder creates, and that’s range, not fielding percentage.

      • Ben

        Exactly the kind of stuff that worries me are fielders that do not commit errors but have Jeter like range at their position (late Jeter career) sometimes errors are only errors because the fielder made a play on the ball

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Jeter’s range actually was pretty bad early in his career, too. He does look very pretty on those plays “in the hole”: the fact that most other SS’s would set up lawn chairs in front of those grounders is a separate issue.

  • Fastball

    I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. But Sveum isnt getting fired. What is this he’s messing with peoples heads. He’s the boss if he needs to jump someones ass and straighten them out well thats his job. This isnt little league where your mom and dad get to talk the coach in the parking lot. These guys arent a bunch oc pussies wjo havent had a talking too. Give me a break. SWveum has a job to do. He has a shitty job to do and he has a team that mostly sucks is doing it. He

  • MightyBear

    I really dont understand why Vitters hasn’t been moved up and given a chance. Cant they work on his defense at ML level? I don’t see what value playing Valbuena at third does for us at this point. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    • Scotti

      By the same standard, can’t they work on Valbuena’s offense at the MLB level? Answer, not optimumly. Same with Vitters. Vitters will get called up at some point this year (likely September). Then he will probably start next year at Iowa until he gets 162 AAA games under his belt. There is no reason to do the type of development at the MLB level that you can do at the AAA level when your team isn’t going to win jack squat. You don’t help the prospect’s development or his value.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    A couple of things, we all bought into the rebuild, so it’s really ridiculous almost, with all due respect, to try to evaluate Sveum. He’s had little to work with as far as an everyday line-up and nothing in terms of a bull pen.

    Second, I would love to know what Detroit was willing to pay for Barney. Barney is OK, nothing more a smurf who really is not great at anything, but works hard and is a hustle guy. Another Theriot kind of guy. I think he’s one of those fan favorites, good for a quote and over-rated. And he’s not that hard to replace.

    Finally, again with all due respect, we all can all tag Castro and use superlative adjectives all we want. We keep the constant comparison to Yankee superstar Jeter up, but it just doesn’t make it so. He’s not demonstrated HOF talent, dedication or that he’s a fundamentally sound player. Is he talented? Hell yes, but he’s not a rookie and he has a lackadaisical approach that most HOF players don’t. He”s not a guy that respects the game in my view. By that I mean, no one ever goes out and is perfect every game. No one goes without mistakes or bad streaks. But greatness translates into being a fundamentally sound guy day in and day out. Running hard, not consistently making the same mistakes and being just a little lazy like he was on the ball in the 8th inning. I think Castro is over-rated and elevation that both the organization and fans have given him to SStar elevation far before it’s due has hurt him. I also think the mentoring of Ramirez and Soriano is not good. Neither of those two ever played the game right. Maybe Castro still has time to become what so many have jumped the gun on, namely a SStar, but the organization will have to change the promotion campaign and find a hard love mentor that can coax it out of him. Maybe more importantly, he’s going to have find the where with all to recognize he’s got to work harder at it.

    In my view Castro needs competition and I think it’s coming in the form of Baez. Now if you want a glimpse of a guy that reminds me a little of Jeter or A-Rod, that’s a better fit.

    • Cheryl

      Mike, I definitely agree with you on Castro. He has much to learn on the field and at bat. As you say, he’s talented. But he has a way to go before he becomes the star we’re hoping he becomes. I agree Baez may well be that competition he needs.

    • Scotti

      Wait, Castro “has talent” but he doesn’t “play the game right” and Baez, a guy in A-ball, some does play it right? Is it the way that Baez doesn’t walk or the way he trash talks opponants that remind you of a HOF player? Or, perhaps you’ve seen the 19-y/o run out every ball and focus on every defensive play… or perhaps it’t because Baez is putting up good numbers in Peoria–a level that Castro skipped as a 19-y/o (playing, instead, at Daytona AND Tenn).

      I like Baez but comparing him to a two-time All-Star isn’ t fair to him (much less two HOF guys). Baez MAY be able go stick at SS. If so, he’d never be a premium defender. He lacks the range for that. Castro, however, is already a plus defender who has the tools to become premium. As of yesterday, Castro leads the NL in BOTH put outs and assists. His range and arm are the reason that Barney leads 2B in put outs.

      Re. Soriano not playing the game right. When Sandberg talked about playing the game right he referenced Dawson as the model. Dawson who didn’t walk, watched his fair share of HR and who had to prep his knees for hours just to play–sounds like Soriano.

      • MaxM1908

        Well said, Scotti.

    • Drew7

      What makes Ramirez and Soriano guys who “don’t play the game right”? Ramirez was the best 3B’man to play for the Cubs in 40 yrs, and Soriano has been a very good player here and everywhere else he has played. The WS-draught wpn’t be ending any time soon if we field a team full of everyone’s favorite *scrappy* player. As for them being mentors, you, I, or any other fan have no idea how these guys effected Castro or what advice they gave him.

      As for Castro: the kid is already an above average SS that led the league in hits at an age where nearly every SS is busy booting balls in the minors. His power is deveoping nicely, and his defense has been steadily improving. If he’s overrated, I’d love to see an example of a 22 yr old SS that is underrated.

      I’m a big fan of Baez as well, but remember one thing: while his performance in low-A has been great, Castro was in Chicago doing great things when he was that age.

      • Flashfire

        You’re overstating your case a bit. When Castro was 19, he split the year between A+ and AA. Obviously, Baez is a bit behind him, but this is a new regime that moves players more slowly. Looking at the numbers, there’s really not a lot of evidence that Castro was a better player at 19 than Baez is. It’s entirely possible that Baez starts his 20-year-old year at AA, just like Castro did. Though I will admit it’s almost inconceivable that he’s called up after 26 games,regardless of how well he’s hitting.

        • Drew7

          Ok, I concede- Castro was called up 6 weeks after his 20th B-day (which, actually, still makes it his age-19 season, right?), after starting with a .990 OPS in AA. Again, I’m not saying Baez wont be great, but we all seem to forget that Castro is only a little more than 2.5 years older than him.

          • Drew7

            Stupid phone…

            Meant to finish with– I think you missed my point. It wasnt made to discount Baez or to say he’s overrated, but instead point out that Castro is doing things only a small group have done in baseball history.

          • Flashfire

            Not, you’re right. That’s why I said you were overstating, not wrong. I just don’t think it’s fair to knock Baez as being behind Castro. They’ve both shown a remarkable amount of talent at a very young age.

            We’ll see, though. That was hardly an encouraging debut for Baez at Daytona tonight. Hopefully he was just trying too hard.

            • Drew7


              Also, Ive forgotten to ask this question so I’ll ask now: Why is everyone so excited about Candelario (some here even including him in top-10 lists) and not Amaya? Amaya is raking and playing 2B, while Candelario, following a nearly identical path, at the same age, and at 3B, isnt showing near that level of production.

  • Josh

    Volstad actually had a great outing by his standards. Missed the game though. Was watching Phelps wrap up his amazing career. Can’t remember a moment where a more or as dominating athlete announced his retirement before his final appearance.

    • Kinz

      Josh Moran?

    • FromFenwayPahk

      Ted Williams

    • daveyrosello

      Jim Brown. MJ, retirement #1.

  • daveyrosello

    Casey Weathers, geebus already. WTF are they wasting time for with this washout in Tennessee? He is beyond awful, my gawd. If you’re trying to instill a winning atmosphere with your young prospects, then why would you continue to trot this zero out there for endless blowups? Release him already, ugh.

  • cubsin

    I suspect the only reason Weathers is still pitching at TN is that Jed and Theo and Jason don’t want to rush any of their high-A pitchers to AA. It’s not like our depth in pitching prospects compares favorably to our depth in infielders.

  • art

    IMO, Theriot could never win a gold glove. no range, no arm for SS, no range for 2B. Barney is good on defense or he wouldn’t be playing. as for Castro, he is still young and improving. only time will tell if he becomes great.

    Soriano is no comparison to HOF Dawson in any way. Soriano has admitted he can’t take pain, that’s why he’s afraid of surgery and he’s admitted that. so i doubt his knees come close to the pain Dawson had/felt. some players lead by example, Soriano/Ramirez were and are lazy. that’s a bad influence on any young player. A-ram was a good hitter, average D, Soriano is a DH in a players (NL) league. BBQ Sunday.

    • Drew7

      Would you mind providing the link to the story with that Soriano quote? Because anyone who watches this guy play knows he’s in a ton of pain, and he’s still having a great year. As for him and Ramirez being lazy, it’s just silly to think you know someone’s work ethic by watching him on TV for a couple hours a day.

    • baldtaxguy

      Interesting. This is the first I’ve read where he NEEDS surgery. Has that been confirmed, or is this just speculation?