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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

  • Failblog.org

    where the F is vitters

  • Steve

    Starting valbuena with raley pitching is actually ok with me. Its the guys first career start so having better defense behind him will help him. Plus with his high 80’s fastball there should be a ton of ground balls to the right side. Vitters should be getting the majority of playing time however. We’ll see

    • SplitFinger

      Really? Why call up Vitters then?

      • Pat

        To replace Jeff Baker off the bench maybe? To get him a tase of the bigs and let him know that if he wants to stay at this level he needs to work on this or that? There could be any number of reasons for it. They said this was the plan when he was brought up, so I can’t see why this is a surprise to anyone.

        • socalicubsfan

          Think I’d rather see if the bat plays against Padre pitching over Reds pitching…

  • Luke D

    Theo better get ready to sign some stopgaps this offseason.

  • Flashfire

    Obvious (and possibly wrong) interpretation: Theo has no faith in Vitters, whatsoever.

  • CityCub

    Vitters not starting everyday is already getting annoying to me. Why call him up to platoon with a guy who’s below the Mendoza line. Even if it’s for defense tonight for Raley…..they were both teammates in Iowa. So it’s not like he hasn’t started a game with vitters at 3rd.

    • SplitFinger

      You’re making to much sense!

  • RY34

    soriano scratched from the lineup, something to do with his hand

  • dudeski

    calling up vitters to platoon him is extremely idiotic

  • Jeremy

    I don’t get why Vitters is sitting. He needs to play everyday. I really feel like Vitters is getting traded this off season which I really don’t want at this point. I think he has plenty of value to this team in the future. He doesn’t nessasarily have to play 3rd. He could play LF in the future as well.

    • J R

      Yeah, I feel like they may try to move Vitters for some young pitching. But why not just leave him down in AAA and have him continue to put up good #’s there? No team is going to fall for him only playing against lefties.

      • Jeremy

        I get what your saying. I certainly wouldn’t be upset if he were traded, I just think that since we also have a hole at 3rd right now, why not use him as a stop gap and see what we have.

  • J R

    This is complete b.s. about Vitters platooning. Who cares if his dfence needs work. Everything else the Cubs does points to them wanting to be absolutely terrible this year. But they’re worried about what Vitters may do against righties and his d? I would really love someone other than Sveum to explain this. Stupid..

  • JP cubed

    WTF… Y U No START VITTERS?

  • JP cubed

    Much like not signing Derek Lowe this just doesn’t make sense to bring up Vitters and sit him in favor of Nobuena. We know what Nobuena is so why keep doing this…

  • Spriggs

    B cause we R the Cubs

  • socalicubsfan

    Odd line up indeed. Aside from 3B situation, DDJ in LF is a bit odd if your thinking “D” first. I’d hope for LaHair in left to see how life might be like without Soriano. Oh well… 2 hours from SD and we’ll be blacked out again I’m sure!

  • socalicubsfan

    Musts misread… Sorry! LaHair is in LF!

  • Blitzenjohn

    Maybe the FO is showcasing Vitters and BJax to potential suitors. Can you imagine those two, along with Vogelbach and Lake, to Seattle for Hultzen, Walker, and either Capps or Pryor? Win/Win!

    • Jeremy

      Yeah there is no way that happens.

      • nkniacc13

        agreed no chance

    • art

      how do you show case vitters on the bench?

      • calicubsfan007

        @art: Maybe a modeling opportunity? (;

  • cubsin

    Jackson and Vitters are up, in part, to work with Sveum and his coaching staff. Reportedly, Vitters was taking additional fielding reps one-on-one with Sveum, and Jackson was working one-on-one with Rowson before today’s game. They’re both getting an extra three weeks in the big leagues, so they will get more playing time than we expected.

    Valbuena may be being showcased for a trade, or platooning with Vitters to see if there’s any reason to keep him around for 2013.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The Cubs should have more appropriate coaches for this in AAA or as roving instructors in their miLB system.

      My fear is that Sveum likes Valbuena’s “clutch” numbers and that Sveum is greatly exaggerating in his mind how many runs a good-fielding 3Bman saves. (Valbuena has fielded his position extremely well, but Brooks Robinson did not save as many runs as Valbuena’s bat costs a team.)

      • MichCubFan

        Could you say valbuena has just had bad luck so far? Maybe they think he could be a stopgap option if he could start to hit. He does have a really low BABIP. Maybe they just want to see more of him until they give up on him.

        And also I wonder if they want Vitters to concentrate on fixing his defense. He takes a bench roll with a few starts a week, but works hard on his defense with the major league coaches for the rest of the season?

      • JP cubed

        What value could Nobuena have to a contending team? I’m not buying we are showcasing him because a playoff team wouldn’t let him be the bat boy.

  • Cizzle

    I’m not that upset with the “platooning” of Vitters so far. He didn’t start Sunday night, and admitted himself that he was tired and going through the call up processs took a lot out of him, but they did get him a late AB. I think that was smart by management. He started yesterday, didn’t look great, so they sit him tonight after a bunch of extra coaching during the day. He’ll get another late AB tonight, and I’d expect his presence to be more regular as his day work becomes less and less.

  • Dylan

    4 lefties in row? FUN!

  • Dan

    Dear Sveum,
    Start Vitters!!!

    Sincerely,
    Every Cubs Fan

    • Pat

      I really think that should be addressed to Jed and Theo. Before calling either Jackson or Vitters up there was a meeting with Jed, Theo, and Sveum to discuss how they would be used. We know this because they made a point of telling the media about the meeting. Then, at the time of the call ups, they told the media what the plan was (Vitters to face lefties). So far they have stuck to that plan.

      I’d say there’s about a .02 percent chance that Vitter’s playing time is not what Theo and Jed decided was best. Now if that is the right decision or not is another issue.

  • Jeff1969

    Two things:

    Look at that SD lineup. Wow. Crap.

    Junior Lake is hitting pretty well, but wtf, he can’t play SS, 3B, or 2B and he has never played a day in the OF. Is t a value thing? He’s worth more in trade as an IF?

    • nkniacc13

      Without a doubt as a SS he has more value than he would have as a OF in this offseason. Because of his potential and because he really doesn’t project to have a spot for the cubs I think you will see him traded this winter.

  • Flashfire

    One Cub note already tonight: Javy Baez finally got his first A+ hit. A double that scored two runs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Hopefully he relaxes and starts raking again.

      • Flashfire

        Infield hit in his second AB (just finished) — Torreyes actually got him the hit by beating a FC at second.

        • Flashfire

          Excuse me, 4th AB. 1st since the double.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    Jose lopez just dfa from the indians.. Just saying a little better bat and defense until we figured out the 3rd base situation,..Ramirez leaving has really left a big hole at 3rd base

  • calicubsfan007

    Just personal thought here, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to platoon Jackson because of his strikeout numbers and the Cubs need to sell LaHair to the other teams? Otherwise, I am guessing that the Cubs are trying to sell Jackson and Valbuena, with Vitters getting more time as the season progresses.

    • TonyP

      I see your point but I would start them both the majority of the remaining games. Bringing them up to ride the pine has little benefit in my eyes.

      • calicubsfan007

        @TonyP: I agree 100 percent with you. I think it is completely pointless to have Vitters up here and not playing. It’s not like his value is increasing for every time he sits on the bench. It was just me thinking that the platoon idea would make sense the other way around. Maybe Theo doesn’t have that much confidence in Vitters’ abilities right now. If that was the case though, I would think that Theo wouldn’t want him anywhere near the MLB team, not bench him.

        • Pat

          It depends what they think his long term status with the team will be. Maybe they only see him as a guy who could sub in at third, first (rarely) and maybe left against left handers. If that’s the case then it makes sense to limit him to primarily lefties and see how he does.

          It is really not all that rare for a players to be called up from the minors into a reserve role. Sometimes starters have to put in time in the bullpen first. That’s not the case with a Harper or Rizzo or Castro level prospect, but Vitters really isn’t in that category.

    • BetterNews

      Cali–When yuo say platoon Jackson, with whom did you have in mind?

      • calicubsfan007

        @Betternews: I would think with LaHair, since we have somewhat lost a safety net (although I hated Baker) once we traded Baker. i think we all know that lefty pitching is LaHair’s kryptonite, as of now (still hoping for him breaking out of that weakness). I am glad you got that all cleared up BetterNews, here’s to new beginnings! (=

        • BetterNews

          Cali-TY for all the support! I could not stand Baker either. I don’t see LaHair bouncing back, as much as I would like to see it.

          • calicubsfan007

            @BN: No problem, hombre. Just watch the temper, okay? (= I would love LaHair to bounce back, but he would be the most likely candidate to be platooned. Although Sori is one wrong move away from a serious injury, the Cubs need to continue playing him in order for teams to want him and in order for Sori to reject nearly every offer! Sorry, I am frustrated about that. I know, he has earned that right, but it is just way too close to the whole “D” fiasco.

  • BetterNews

    *you

  • Sean

    I think Sveum is overdoing it with Lefty’s. L-L-R-L-L-L-L-R-L. Sveum is really starting to piss me off a little bit. I mean come on a left handed specialist would cut throw this lineup.

    • J R

      Yeah Sveum seems like a good ole boy, and a good guy to have a beer with but when it comes to lineups WTF?

    • Joel

      so would you rather Mather start over Lahair? I dont

  • calicubsfan007

    Hey, on the big screen in the Petco Park pic, is that Manny’s pic on there?

  • calicubsfan007

    I am not sure who’s fault it is that Vitters is still riding the pine.

    • Joel

      It’s been 3 games, relax. While yes I believe Vitters should start almost every game, to say still riding the pine after 3 games is too much at this point

      • calicubsfan007

        @Joel: It really isn’t panic as much as it is curiousity. I would love to know the entire story behind this situation, although I doubt we ever will.

        • Joel

          yeah, just saying, i mean jackson has started all 3 games and rizzo has started every game since their call ups, which does make you think about vitters, but maybe its a case where they believe vitters can learn some stuff by sitting next to and talking with dale or rowson all game

          • calicubsfan007

            @joel: Maybe (if Stewart is on the bench with the Cubs, I don’t know if he is back yet) he is on the bench so he can learn from Stewart?

            • Joel

              Possible, but A) I don’t know if I want stewart teaching vitters and B) Stewart hits lefty while Vitters is a righty, but maybe stewart being older and also struggling in his first years, he can give vitters some pointers and help him through the criticism

              • calicubsfan007

                @Joel: See, I am thinking the NFL method, where the young QB learns from the old vet. More times than not, it actually helps the young player mature and might help them become a better player. Might be true with MLB players too, plus, no rush for Vitters.

        • JMick

          I agree… I am not really that concerned at this point, since it’s only been a couple days. As usual with the Epstein regime, I am just curious why the fans are being kept in the dark about the reasoning behind the Vitters platoon scenario. I am beginning to wonder if Theo just likes everyone to think he’s up to something even when he’s not ha.

          • BetterNews

            Make the boss look important thing? Could be. I’m not ready to go there and I am one of the first to yell.

  • Brian

    This has probably already been posted here but let’s give it up for Rock Shoulders!!!

    http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120807&content_id=36271262&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb

  • JP cubed

    I know coaching up vitters before the game helps him but there is no substitute for game situations. This was really dumb to bring him up to pinch hit in the 9th every other game… No way Theo doesn’t have something up his sleeve with this because it just doesn’t make any sense at all.

  • Mush

    I heard Bruce Levine say yay that Vitters was immature in spring training and it must have pissed off Sveum. He has not been in his camp all year. Maybe Vitters needs to kiss some ass first before regular pt.

    • BetterNews

      I have to say all kids are immature at his age. Not justifiying. Just saying.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Mush: Levine can be quite inaccurate with some things Cubs related. I wouldn’t put too much stock in it.

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