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It’s back to a wet Chicago for the Cubs, and hopefully the game will be unaffected by intermittent storming.

Chris Volstad is coming off his first full, end-to-end good start. Question for you that will probably not become relevant: if Volstad strings together, let’s say, seven more consecutive good starts to end the year, do you trust him in the rotation going into 2013?

Brett Jackson gets bumped down the lineup, presumably to take some of the pressure off. Not a bad idea. Josh Vitters eats bench again. A bad idea.

Game Info

Cincinnati Reds (66-45) at Chicago Cubs (43-66), 7:05pm 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

Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51 ERA, 4.23 FIP)

versus

Chris Volstad (0-8, 7.22 ERA, 4.27 FIP)

Cincinnati Reds Lineup

1. Zack Cosart, SS

2. Drew Stubbs, CF

3. Brandon Phillips, 2B

4. Ryan Ludwick, LF

5. Jay Bruce, RF

6. Todd Frazier, 3B

7. Miguel Cairo, 1B

8. Devin Mesoraco, C

9. Mike Leake, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Luis Valbuena, 3B

7. Brett Jackson, CF

8. Steve Clevenger, C

9. Chris Volstad, P

  • Mike S

    I guess I’ll be the first to say that Jackson and DeJesus are both playing centerfield?

    • dreese

      They both have good range

    • Frank

      Maybe they’re playing right field out.

  • morgan

    no vitters, just sad either play him all the time or send him back down, nuff said

    • Fishin Phil

      Damn you Luis Valbuena!

    • rcleven

      Look for Vitters to play against LHP only. A Dale thing.

      • Flashfire

        Absolutely no way is this Sveum’s call. Whether you like it or not, this was Theo’s decision.

  • Dan

    Oh No! It’s the Red Scare!

    Oh wait… It’s just Reds @ Cubs…

  • Coolbeans

    So why would you call up a guy to eat bench. It’s almost like…..they are spoon-feeding the bigs bit by bit to him

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha…

    • MichiganGoat

      My only hope is they have him doing some homework type thing (like a QB with a clipboard) and have plans to turn 3B over to him in a couple weeks, otherwise this bench role makes no sense.

    • Flashfire

      Look at his minor league splits. He really struggles against righties.

      • Turn Two

        We didn’t select him number 1 in the draft to be the 20% end of a platoon. I agree with MG, hopefully he is just using this term to learn our shifts and see the pace of the game to improve his d.

        • Flashfire

          We didn’t select Ryan Harvey #1 in the draft to hit .250 in AA. You have to deal with what you have, not what what you want it to be.

          • Turn Two

            Your comparing Josh Vitters to Ryan Harvey already? I would like to let him have a shot before I call him a bust and play him against lefties only.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Spoon feeding the bigs” used to be a common model: young position players would ride the bench and young pitchers would go to the bullpen. However, I do not think that this model was necessarily beneficial to anybody other than the veterans: it was just “tradition.”

  • cubbie blue

    really why not let vitters play. The only way he is going to get better is to play not sit the bench.

  • spearman

    I think Dale love him some Valbuena.

  • Leroy K.

    Soriano is healthy I take it?

  • WNebCub

    The Vitters situation is very confusing. especially since a week and a half ago Sveum had said that when they come up they will play. i can’t think of any good reason not to play him, except that in sveum’s mind playing valbuena gives team best chance to win today’s game. period. that said, aren’t we long past that point of season? isn’t what’s best for the cubs trying to find out what vitters can do…wasn’t his two run double the other night off a rh pitcher?

    as for jackson…if his strikeouts stay a plague, and he can’t hit .250…could he be a legit starter on a good team with all the k’s and a sub .250 batting avg?

    just curious…

    • The Dude Abides

      Just think of Chris Davis when you think of Brett Jackson. Enough talent to keep you hoping but eventually you trade him, someone else hopes to get lucky, then they trade him and…
      And that is if Brett Jackson gets lucky.

  • cubmig

    “Question for you that will probably not become relevant: if Volstad strings together, let’s say, seven more consecutive good starts to end the year, do you trust him in the rotation going into 2013?”

    Brett:
    That would depend on how he looks in ST. It took him a long time to get to this point of having good starts. Will it take as long again? Don’t know. But that said, I’d give him a shot at a rotation spot but monitor his performance closely to see what the evidence suggests.

    • King Jeff

      He ended last year on a very good run, so it wouldn’t be the first time. It still wouldn’t make me trust him, but it would make me want to see him get a shot.

    • rcleven

      Don’t have much of a choice right now unless Theo/Jed pick up at least two free agent pitchers over the winter. This team is really not going to be close to competing in 13. Unless Volsted is traded over the winter he will be in the starting rotation by default.

  • Mick6X

    Could the FO be working some sort of trade that might free up 3B for Vitters? Or maybe they dont see him as a long term option for 3B?

  • http://www.twitter.com/mrrobbins MrRobbins

    Rumor has is Dale is begging Theo to let him keep 16 position player, or trade Soriano for four switch hitters on the big league team so he can live his dream of a 100% platooned lineup.

    • Danny Ballgame

      That will turn things right around

  • J R

    This lineup is not cool in so many ways… Trying to stay positive with the mgr who was put in a shit position. But come on man..

  • Drew7

    Looks like we’ll get a good look at Jackson’s ceiling tonight, since he’s batting 2nd on the other team.

  • paul

    poor Dale maybe 2014 for a good team maybe wild card my be gone if not.

  • Flashfire

    Baez: 0-for-3. He really has just one hard hit ball so far. Hopefully he’s learning and not overmatched.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Batters who hit the ball hard once ever 3 AB are overmatching the pitchers!

      • Flashfire

        Once sine being called up to Daytona. So over about 15 at bats.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          It is completely normal for a player to take some time to adjust when advancing to a new level. Sometimes it takes a few games, sometimes it takes a few months (ex: Torreyes). Regardless, it is entirely normal and absolutely nothing worth worrying about.

  • BleedingCubbieBlue

    This is killing me. Why is Vitters not getting AB’s SOMEWHERE?

  • ssckelley

    Which player has a better chance at figuring into the Cubs long term plans, Vitters or Valbuena? If all Vitters was just going to be a platoon guy then they should have left him at Iowa until September.

    • Drew7

      If Valbuena is part of any long-term plan, that plan needs to be re-evaluated.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I’ll take Valbuena as a 25th man defensive minded backup infielder.

        • Drew7

          I thought about that, and I agree. If we’re talking as a starter though…yuck

  • die hard

    Can Rizzo hit Marshall’s slurve?..assuming of course that Reds will need a lead protected…which is a good bet

  • Tim

    LOL at i think the trainer giving soriano the finger hahahahahahaha

  • Atfinch

    And there’s a hit for Valbuena. Everytime he gets a hit all I think is that’s farther and farther Vitters gets from playing consistently. Damn it all.

  • Atfinch

    Hey look a Jackson strikeout! Never would have guessed.

  • Stu

    Sooo…What is the game plan? If you want to see how Vitters and Jackson can handle an extended period in the majors you play them every day. Any disagreement?

    The Cubs now seem a little desperate now. Maybe if they field a really bad team every game, the peasants won’t fork over the cash.

  • Jeff

    I agree that Vitters and Jackson should play almost everyday to finish the season, screw all this righty lefty switching. Just play the Sveum and let them learn.

    With a projected 60M payroll next year, the price of tickets sure as heck better drop or Wrigley might be empty….yeah right! Only in Cubland can we field a rebuilding team and charge NY Yankee prices.

  • Dwight Schrute

    Only 1 K for B Jax? Baby steps

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Another HR for Vogelbach. People aren’t kidding when they say light tower power

    • Drew7

      Make that 2 now…how about a 2 week trip to Peoria to finish up a very solid season?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I’d rather he stay in Boise and get some playoff experience.

        • Drew7

          Well, YOU arent the one with Chiefs tickets late in the season:)

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            You might get Vogelbach, Candelario, Shoulders, Soler, and Almora next season, at least for a time.

            If that does happen, be careful where you park.

  • Drew7

    Atta boy Sori! Stare at that one all night long!

  • Zogie

    Advance Box Score
    I must apologize for my absence with the ABS. I have watched the cubs terrible losing streak and I really could not continue writing about all of the poor at bats I saw. The cubs end the losing streak tonight, so hopefully good baseball will continue. DeJesus 1-4 2B has been consistent even during the losing streak. He has played great defense all over the outfield and again keeps getting on base. Barney 1-4 K really is not a 2 spot hitter. He is a 8 spot hitter, so you cannot blame him for not producing. His glove will keep him an everyday starter. He produces enough with the bat to keep playing every day. Rizzo had a great game tonight. 2-2 2B, RBI, 2 BB. He was patient and hit pitches hard all night. He had one lucky RBI single, but sometimes you will have those. Soriano 1-4 HR 2RBI 2K came through with a go ahead 2-run HR in the 8th. WOW! Castro 1-4 2B 2RBI had a clutch 2-run double as well tonight. It is great seeing the middle of the order produce tonight. Valbuena 1-3 1BB 1K had a good night, but the guys behind him could not move him. Jackson 0-3 K still can’t stop swinging at balls below the knees. Good patience but bad discipline. Clevenger and Castillo 0-3 3Ks. No production tonight from the catchers. Rough night. LaHair 0-1 K continues to slump. I have always been a fan of LaHair, but he still is slow on the fastball and in front of the off-speed. On a good note, the bullpen was great tonight and Volstad avoided the big inning which plagued him all year. Too bad Volstad is still winless. He has pitched well his last 2 starts. My shout out goes to Alfonso Soriano. Clutch 2-run HR! Rizzo was also RizzOMG tonight. Feel Free to follow me on twitter @Zogie.

    • chirogerg

      two hole and 8 hole have the goal; a hitter who hits 8 should be able to hit 2 hole

      • Drew7

        What goal would that be?

        Your top 2 guys in the order should be great on-base guys. What good does it do a team to have a guy like that hitting 8th? Wouldnt it actually make more sense to have a high slugging, low OBP guy in the 8 spot, since on-base skills are mostly wasted with the pitcher up next?

        • Flashfire

          The idea is, if the 8 hitter comes up with 2 outs, you want him to get up to “clear” the pitcher so the next inning starts with the top of the order, instead of an easy out with the pitcher.

          • Drew7

            Well sure, that would be good, but I dont think it’s *the idea*. Im still confused as to how #2 and #8 have the same goal.

  • college_of_coaches

    Thanks Zogie! Hey, why did Clevenger get tossed from the game?

    • art

      he didn’t like the ball/strikes the ump called on him.

  • mikaylaaa

    “Maturity and responsibility are other areas in which Vitters had to show improvement. In February he got off on the wrong foot with Sveum and his staff, showing up late for the manager’s first meeting with the entire team on the first day of spring training. ”

    From ESPN..
    Sveum wouldn’t possibly be sitting him only for this would he? I really am having a hard time understanding why you call up a guy to have him sit the bench.

    • Bender

      I love MLB on the field, but baseball players and managers seem to be amoungst the most petty, small minded and vindictive people in the world. It wouldnt suprise me.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    If Vitters & Cardenas do not have the majority of starts the rest of the season at 3B & 2B why aren’t they still at Iowa ? I’m having serious difficulty understanding why we want to give time to a 28 year old journeyman utility IF AKA Valbuena & then let 2 promising kids rot on the bench. Barney is probably as good as he is going to get, but he cannot hit as well as Cardenas if given a chance. If Cardenas has defensive liabilities at 2B then let us see it & I’ll sit down & shut up.

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