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Brooks Raley makes his Major League debut tonight for the Cubs, and it couldn’t be a more favorable matchup – the Padres, at Petco. I’m not expecting domination, but success will come with a grain of salt. Failure, a head shake.

Also of note: Josh Vitters grabs some bench again. It’s just three games, but that’s one start against a lefty, two bench jobs against righties. I’ll give it another week or so before I go off, but I don’t like the way this is going.

Alfonso Soriano was a late scratch (sore hand from getting spike on the bases last night), so Bryan LaHair gets a start in left, which temporarily puts Starlin Castro back in the three-hole, and Anthony Rizzo in the clean-up spot.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (43-64) at San Diego Padres (47-64), 9:05pm 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

Brooks Raley (0-0, -.– ERA, Probably Nice Smile)

versus

Ross Ohlendorf (3-2, 6.27 ERA, 1.741 WHIP)

San Diego Padres Lineup

1. Chris Denorfia, RF

2. Logan Forsythe, 2B

3. Chase Headley, 3B

4. Carlos Quentin, LF

5. Jesus Guzman, 1B

6. Cameron Maybin, CF

7. Everth Cabrera, SS

8. John Baker, C

9. Ross Ohlendorf, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, LF

2. Brett Jackson, CF

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Bryan LaHair, RF

6. Steve Clevenger, C

7. Luis Valbuena, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Brooks Raley, P

  • JMick

    I tend to give Theo/Jed the benefit of the doubt in most cases because I respect their resumes and buy in to their vision for the Cubs future. However, this whole Vitters platoon idea being kicked around simply makes no sense in my mind. Hopefully, there are other factors at play behind the scenes that have caused Vitters to sit two of his first three games and he’ll start playing more regularly soon. We’ll see.

    • Turn Two

      I liken it to quarterbacks. Some great quarterbacks (Eli Manning) were immediately thrown into the fire and others watched for a while and then became great. (Tom Brady) Personalities are different, I would think based on all the evidence they have they believe Jackson can handle this (which he better because 6 straight strike outs will lead to immediate scrutiny) and Vitters is better off watching a lot of pro ball and playing some. Lets be a little patient, plenty of kids to watch each night.

      • calicubsfan007

        @Turn Two: I am starting to wonder the same thing if they just want him to sit and learn.

      • Scotti

        While I don’t know that we have enough information on which could handle what, I think that you QB analogy is right on. There is PLENTY to learn in the pro game while playing some here and some there ESPECIALLY for a player who is going to need to refine more of his game.

        For Vitters that can mean sitting a couple of games while working extensively on the fundementals of playing third at the MLB level and then applying that to game experience. Practice, practice, practice, play. This is very solid neural pathway development.

        For Jackson the issue is letting him play enough so that his weaknesses are exposed in front of your best coaches and then they can help him develop a plan. They obviously don’t have a handle on what the issues are yet so he needs more PT.

        • Turn Two

          Totally agree Scotty- I think they are basing their information on who could handle what off of their minor league coaches. We (the fan)don’t have that information and honestly- no one REALLY knows until it happens, but Theo wants a streamlined minor leagues where everyone (coaches) thinks the same way and I think he is trusting his coaches here.

  • Cheryl

    This i the same old pattern with Sveum. L-R and platooing. It doesn’t help these guys develop.

    • Cheryl

      But I am surprised LaHair is playing

    • BetterNews

      Yes, Its now working. Or is that the plan?

      • BetterNews

        *not

    • Joel

      @Cheryl it depends on the player. With Jackson, no it doesnt because strikeouts are a matter of playing, but maybe Vitters watching some nights can help him learn at the major league level

      • Cheryl

        Ok. Lets see what happens. Vitters will make mistakes. It’s part of learnng.But he needs the opportunity to make those mistakes. Sitting on the sidelines can help to some degree, but being in the game helps more.

        • Joel

          @Cheryl: No doubt players learn from mistakes the best, but sometimes if they play every game they don’t take the time to reflect on the mistakes. I remember last yea when we called out Q for not benching Castro after the game on Sunday Night Baseball when he wasn’t watching the pitch so maybe they are giving Vitters the chance

    • Turn Two

      I don’t think this is a Sveum platoon thing. The front office made it perfectly clear in the off-season that coaching is a team thing. They work with Dale. This seems to be a front office decision that Sveum is implementing. If they want Vitters to play every day he would be.
      My opinion is that the speed of the game increased at the mlb level and vitters concern is his d. So let him sit for a while and watch the game and watch an above average defender in Valbuena and his time will come.

  • BetterNews

    In response to the poster that asked about strikeouts. I believe Dave Kingman holds the Cubs record for strikeout/bat. Will Brett Jackson shatter that record?

    • calicubsfan007

      @Betternews: Would take a ton of strikeouts per game to get even close to Kingman’s record. Jackson breaking that record with the relatively limited time he has this season would make me wish we never promoted him. Or do you mean career?

      • BetterNews

        I’m not sure about career wise. I am pretty sure Jakson will break Kingmans record at his current pace. That’s not good considering the homers Kingman hit vs what Jackson’s doing. Not knocking the kid, just puttiing out facts.

        • MichiganGoat

          His current pace of a couple games? That seems a little over dramatic don’t you think?

          • Scotti

            Just a tad…

          • BetterNews

            Maybe. But look at his minor levels. It has always been a concern. I could be being dramatic, but I tend to think be realistic.

            • MichiganGoat

              There is a huge difference between the minors and majors to jump to that conclusion after a few weeks is just reactionary and baits arguements (which I’m falling for… Again) vs quality discussion.

              • calicubsfan007

                @MichiganGoat: Here is a good debate topic: which one of the Tinker to Evers to Chance double play combo was the most valuable?

                • MichiganGoat

                  That’s the type of debate that is just fruitless and only leads to unnecessary arguing vs quality discussions.

                  • Turn Two

                    Agreed and its obviously Evers, he was just disliked by his peers. Oops, sorry I just said I wouldn’t feed into this.

                    • calicubsfan007

                      @Turn Two: Haha, nice! (=

                  • calicubsfan007

                    @Michigan Goat: Awwww…. I like the Tinker, Evers, Chance debate… It’s always a fun one. Okay, what is a quality discussion topic for you?

                • BetterNews

                  Cali–I have never seen, not one comment by you, that is fruitless and unnecessary or lacked quality discussion. You are a true professional when it comes to commenting.

                  • calicubsfan007

                    @Betternews: Thanks! (=

                • scorecardpaul

                  Harry Stienfeld

            • Scotti

              BN, K’s have not always been a problem for Jackson. He walks and hits for power so he will have some K’s but they were at a manageable level prior to this year (including last year at AAA).

              Prior to being drafted he had a discernable hitch that completely altered his AB (because his bat was slowed by the hitch he couldn’t keep up with good FBs so he had to “cheat” (start his swing early) on them and that meant he was fooled by even average off-speed pitches). That was fixed from day one after they drafted him and he shot up through the ranks.

              This appears to be a different issue that is specific to this season. He has guessed that he is putting pressure on himself. My guess is that he has been too selective (thinking that walks are the way to impress Theo and Co.). I looked at the numbers a while back and his K’s when first was occupied and no other runners were on base were higher (they should be lower because a pitcher wants to throw strikes there.)

              • BetterNews

                Don’t get me wrong. I am not giving up on Jax. But the strikeouts are a concern. Not career ending by any means, just troublesome.

      • Pat

        For single season the record belongs to Sosa with 174. There is literally zero chance he breaks that record this year. Given a full season could he do it, absolutely.

  • mpope30

    So Vitters is going to sit and learn how to play MLB level 3rd base from Valbuena????? Hopefully this is just a mistake, not a pattern….

    • Turn Two

      Valbuena isn’t a bad guy to learn from

      • calicubsfan007

        @Turn Two: Exactly.

  • thejackal

    prediction cubs starter goes 6ip 2 er

  • Njriv

    I’m sorry I haven’t been on BN as much recently, ive been in Puerto Rico for the last week and a half, but when did BetterNews rise back from the dead?

    • BetterNews

      Was never dead. Just don’t agree with a lot of opinions.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Njriv: Welcome back! Hope PR was awesome!

    • Pat

      I think just today. I like the “back from the dead” comment. I think he needs to change his screen name to “Zombie BetterNews”. (Not a shot at him at all, as I always like to see dissenting opinions (if they are presented civilly), just think it would be a cool screen name.

      • calicubsfan007

        @Pat: Maybe ZBN for short?

    • MichiganGoat

      He’s on a fourth or fifth chance (Brett’s a saint) hopefully he’s learn for them actions that resulted in the previous bans.

      • BetterNews

        Never should have been a first.

        • Drew7

          How about some BetterMath for old times’ sake? Its been a while…

          • MichiganGoat

            ah law of averages, and yes there should have been a first and after the Noys of Spring episode and he’s lucky to still be here

          • BetterNews

            Yea. All I did was average averages to get close.(Close is acceptable in most cases)

            • Cubbie Blues

              No, you kept defending it after being called out on it. (that’s not what got kicked you off)

              • BetterNews

                Maybe I had one to many drinks that day? Maybe my sugar was to low. Maybe bloodpresure was to high. Don’t know.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Maybe you were in the kitchen.

            • MichiganGoat

              But you were not even close and then you would accept that you were wrong, but it is nice to see you actually admit to your BadMath

              • BetterNews

                Its not bad math brother. In electronics when you are are close to milivolts(25 vs 35) you are dead nuts on!

                • Drew7

                  You tried saying it was perfectly acceptable to take Sandberg’s batting averages in his first 3 seasons (6, 687, 699 PA’s, respectively), add them up, and divide by 3.

                  It wasn’t “close” then, and it isn’t “close” now.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    It was actually just the first two seasons, even more ridiculous.

                    • BetterNews

                      If I didn’t, you have it here in black and white.

                    • BetterNews

                      Subtract the hi and low!

                  • BetterNews

                    I think I said throw the high and low out.

                    • Drew7

                      Oh no. I’m sure someone can find a link, since we brought this up to you when you were hiding behind one of your aliases.

    • Drew7

      You mean, when did make his latest comeback from being banned? A few days ago. He’s at least mustered up the courage to admit it’s him, instead of acting like it’s a different person surfacing every 6 weeks with more racist and inappropriate comments.

  • steve

    What was the point of bringing up vitters to sit behind valbuena. How are we supposed to know what we may have with vitters if he is sitting, how does this help his development the. Point being valbuena isn’t good enough to keep anyone on the bench. Vitters is a better hitter & his upside is vastly greater than valbuena

  • Fastball

    Play him or send him back to Iowa. He needs to play everyday. Hlis bat will hurt for this sitting. He is an everyday player. Is he supposed ro be making mental notes watching our currenyt third baseman. I sure hope not. He can take 100’s of ground balls and get coached up and still play a 9 inning game.

    • Scotti

      Obviously, you’ve never taken 100s of ground balls at game speed and then played 9 innings. Personally I wouldn’t start a guy in that scenario because of the increased risk of injury.

      Regardless, there are very few AB that he would miss as Iowa’s season is winding down. With September games included he’ll actually wind up with a net plus in games played.

      • Turn Two

        Not to mention that the Cubs have fairly advanced shifts that take place throughout the course of games- I wouldn’t underestimate the fact that it plays into wanting him to sit and watch for a while.

  • Oswego chris

    Well, watching Brooks Raley pitch was not as fun as I thought it would be….

  • Fastball

    Brett Special K Jackson. They guy has a hole in his bat. Guiness Book nezds to follow rhis dude around thzy might get a record. A guy who K’s at his rate should bat anywhere but the top 8 in the line up. Castillo was hitting so thwy put Clevenger in. Cant have anyone doing well. Som

    • AB

      your spelling, punctuation, and overall grammer isn’t doing IU any favors here.

      • BetterNews

        Yours isnt either!

        • Cubbie Blues

          Were you not warned not warned not make posts just like this?

          • BetterNews

            Like what? fastball is o.k..

            • Cubbie Blues

              Post retracted to leave nothing but Better Judgment.

              • BetterNews

                Always love Better Judgment.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Better Start using some then. I really don’t see where you get your enjoyment from all of this. You have proven many times that you only want to cause problems.

                  • BetterNews

                    O.K. I gonna use BetterJudgment! Goodbye. Don’t ever talk to me again.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      OK.

  • Fastball

    I played 4 years at IU and got drafted. I played more and practiced more than most

    • Drew7

      Um…you didn’t know we got drafted?

    • Scotti

      Then you should know how silly your comment is. Hundreds of full speed grounders is WAY more effort than, say, working a quadruple header. If you want to reinforce, properly, correct habits then you don’t play someone when they are fatigued.

  • Flashfire

    You know, while we’re discussing the great Starlin slump of 2012 and Brett Jackson’s chasing the August strikeout record: Anthony Rizzo just dropped below .300 after a lousy (for him) fortnight. Just solid play all around in the Cubs race for the second draft pick. Hopefully we will one day look back at this and laugh about it.

    • BetterNews

      Yes. I am with you on the “concerns” going into next year.

  • hudog

    really hope the popular proposed plan of 3-5years before the cubs are competitive is extrmely exagerrated. this is one of the wealthiest teams in sports, forget this nonsense of patience. hell even the white sox are rebuilding but staying competitive. i’m OUT if they think i have the time or patience to devote to shit, excuse my french, for the next half decade.

  • daveyrosello

    The Brooks Raley Experience certainly went as well as expected. If you can make Casey Coleman look good, chances are your time in the big leagues is measured in days rather than years. Cubbery!

  • Sean

    Great AB by Vitters, He looks like such a more polished hitter than Jackson. That swing to is pretty.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Brett Jackson is a joke…. He was brought up way to early… To many holes in his swing… He couldn’t even hit a Hanging Slinder!

    • BetterNews

      o.k.. Send him back down?

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    After seeing the overhaul slowly take form…it’s going to take a whole hellava a lot patience because it’s going to be awhile guys before we see a winning team… I do like how Alberto Cabrera has been pitching as well Lendy Castillo! We diffinately have some bull pieces! I still say we need to pick up Jose Lopez to help a 3rd base… What we have isnt getting it done! Starting rotation is horrible! Lets hope Shark gets us a win tomorrow!

  • Carmelo

    Brett Jackson=Brandon Wood (Angels). Didn’t work out well for Wood.

  • Brad

    Do you think all this losing and the associated mentality will “poison” these callups? Seems that this losing culture is becoming the norm, and that can’t be good for developing players’ mindsets…

    • Leroy

      I don’t know—the Pirates are having a winning season…

      • Brad

        That will end soon…. Haha always does.

        • Brad

          Unless you’re the cubs :( sigh

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    It’s getting started. Many of you are worrying about the wrong thing. Jackson will take time, maybe a year. While so many consistently defend calling Castro a SS HOF with making wild comparisons. unlike Jackson making his initial adjustments, Castor is batting 35 points from where he was just a couple of months again. And he’s really not showing a lot of signs of coming out of this. They’ve done great things for Soriano, so we should be hoping it starts to sink in with Castro who is in his 3rd year in the bigs and he starts to adjust, unlike Jackson who is feeling his way through and may the rest of the season. The more interesting story is to see if Castor turns it around or continues to struggle and why.

    But that gets to a more interesting point. You all bought into this rebuild and you’re just going through round 1, let’s be clear their may be a round 3 next TD probably Garza, potentially Barney and even Castro. Somewhere in this equation depending on how he pitches and how well he develops along with some of the ML talent, could be a round 3 for people like Smarj who is a year younger than Garza.

    Deciding the core, committing to start getting better on filed talent mixed in all are going to have a lot to do with timing. I am afraid I was overly optimistic saying 2014. Right now a strong argument can be made that you could see this team finally appear .500 and competitive 2015 and contend in 2016. But as holes pop up, as trades get missed. As talent fails, Theo has proven in Boston too he has feet of clay. The most important thing to watch in the next 18 months is the minors teaching. Are the youngsters more fundamentally sound, especially the system products and what do these core people do— do they produce like core people. In that regard Rizzo gets the lone passing and great grade.

    It’s early to lose patience when this is what people wanted and it should be expected to her worse as they clear out the old and adjust to the new. They are going to lose a hell of a lot of games the next 2 months and next year unless they trade and use free agency a little more aggressively, so as I say, next year is going to be another 90-100 win loss season. That’s a rough start for the regime, and I think they’ll find the winter a little colder.

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