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So much for that talk about benching Starlin Castro. Every manager over the past three years seems to have mentioned it at least once, but only Quade actually did it. Good? Bad? Agnostic? Shrug.

Travis Wood faces his former team – here’s hoping he shows them what they’re missing (even though they’ve got a full rotation, and a good one, at that).

Brett Jackson gets the day off in favor of Bryan LaHair, presumably after feeling some soreness from that collision with Castro yesterday.

Game Info

Cincinnati Reds (67-46) at Chicago Cubs (44-67), 3:05pm 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

Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 4.05 ERA, 4.25 FIP)

versus

Travis Wood (4-8, 4.77 ERA, 5.62 FIP)

Cincinnati Reds Lineup

1. Zack Cosart, SS

2. Drew Stubbs, CF

3. Brandon Phillips, 2B

4. Ryan Ludwick, LF

5. Todd Frazier, 1B

6. Chris Heisey, RF

7. Wilson Valdez, 3B

8. Ryan Hanigan, C

9. Bronson Arroyo, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Luis Valbuena, 3B

7. Bryan LaHair, RF

8. Steve Clevenger, C

9. Travis Wood, P

  • louis

    Castro will never learn.

  • Wilson

    Playing the tuba is difficult.

    • ColoCubFan

      I can play a tuba, but I can’t play shortstop!

      • Leroy K.

        me too!!!!

      • D.G.Lang

        I played tuba in the 5th Army band and the 74th army band. I played tuba and euphonium with the 25 time national championship Joliet American Legion Band for over eight years.

        I played sousaphone on top of pikes peak back in 1984. I was with the Joliet band when we became the FIRST and only adult band from north merica to win a gold medal in international competition. One of the judges stated that the bass section was the most powerful that he had ever heard.

        During my army days, I often overpowered a 75 to 100 piece band as the only tuba player.

        I am agraduate of the U.S Navt band at Little creek va where I graduated from a 3 year equivilent program in six months. At that time, I had scored the highest incoming audition for a tube player ever.

        So hello to all my fellow tuba players on board here.

        If someone would provide me with directions, I will post a couple of interesting pics for my fellow tuba players, Dan

        • D.G.Lang

          Sorry bout da typo, that was 35 time national champs.

    • calicubsfan007

      Best Tuba Moment![img]http://familyguycutaways.com/images/Pictures_Online/Family_Guy_Stewie_tuba.gif[/img]

  • GeorgeHermanLaHair

    I just hate him in the 5 spot

    • fortyonenorth

      I think Sori gets better pitches to hit with Castro in the 5 spot.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        There is no reason why having Castro in the #5 slot should affect what you want to throw Sori in the #4 slot. Sori’s heat zone is going to be the same. (That zone has been impressively large this season, too!) Now, Sori has seemingly “cooled off” in the last couple of weeks: but the Cubs have played several games in pitchers’ parks. Sori might be wearing down, but it also just might be expected fluctuations in performance.

        • fortyonenorth

          Agreed. But wouldn’t the tendency to pitch around Sori be greater with, say, LaHair next rather than Castro?

          • DocPeterWimsey

            “Pitching around” assumes that there are two types of pitches: hittable and non-strikes. However, every batter has some blue zones in his strike zone where he hits the ball poorly (or misses), and that’s where the pitchers are aiming. Most balls (or red zone) are pitches that the pitcher wanted to hit one of the blue spots: but he missed: when a guy tosses a batting practice fastball into the heart of the red zone, it was not bad pitch selection but bad pitch execution. But the pitcher is almost always trying to pitch around that red zone. (Maybe if you have a decent lead, there are 2 outs and nobody on base, and have the wind howling in from the lake, then maybe you just toss a meatball and see if you can get a quick deep flyball out; but who is on deck is not part of the equation.)

            Some people think that pitching to heat zones (which pitchers can do like never before thanks to smart phones and great data) is one of the biggest factors in the decline in offense over the last 5 years. That really makes a lot of sense.

            • OCCubFan

              Doc, I have the greatest respect for your opinions and enjoy your comments. I’d like your opinion on the following. I submit there are 4 types of pitches: (1) Red Zone — pitchers do not aim for this; (2) Blue Zone – generally this is a pitcher’s aimpoint; (3) Just out of the strike zone, but close enough to frequently induce a swing (and miss or weak contact) — for many, high fast balls; for Soriano, sliders off the low outside corner; and (4) Out of strike zone and unlikely to induce swings.
              Pitchers never aim for Types 1 and 4. Type 3 pitches come with a penalty of being called a Ball if they do not induce a swing. On the other hand, Type 2 pitches have the benefit of being call a Strike if the batter does not swing. Type 2 pitches are more aggressive than Type 3 pitches. But he margin for error is generally less. A Type 2 pitch that misses its aimpoint by 6 inches can result in a home run. If the man in the on-deck circle is not feared as much as the batter, then the penalty for a walk is not so great as otherwise. Therefore the pitcher might use only Type 3 pitches because the chance of making a disastrous mistake is much less than if he uses Type 2 pitches.

  • calicubsfan007

    TWoo power again? It seems like he has had weird luck ever since the screwed up “C” on his batting helmet. Sometimes, amazing luck and other times, horrible luck.

  • KidCubbie

    No Jackson or Vitters? WTF?

    • Melrosepad

      Heck, why not even give Cardenas one start at third every now and then over Valbuena.

      • Jackalope

        Or over Barney at 2nd. Barney’s has a career wRC+ vs. righties. Surely subbing Cardenas occasionally vs. a tough righty would more then offset the difference in defense, right? Not to mention give Barney much needed rest at a physically rigorous position like 2B.

        • Melrosepad

          Exactly. Cardenas is 2 years younger than Valbuena and should be able to hit better than Valbuena has shown he can do in the majors.

          Valbuena has almost 1000 ABs in the majors and only produced the following:
          .223 / .285 / .344

        • DocPeterWimsey

          That being stated, Barney had been doing awful against LHP until recently. His OPS was in the mid-0.500s until a couple of big games recently pulled it up to the mid-0.600s. (And, yes, that’s how small the sample sizes still are this late in the season!)

  • J R

    Lets keep batting Castro 5th, and not playing Vitters or Jackson because that makes a lot of sense. I blame the starting lineup on Sveum’s lame ass arm tats.. Looks like he got him in a drunk sailors basement…

    • baldtaxguy

      Have to admit – don’t understand starting Valbuena over Cardenas or Vitters.

  • Diesel

    Look our offense is so bad that Travis Wood could pitch a perfect game and we would still lose by one.

  • cubzforlife

    Scored 8 runs yesterday.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      True, but the Reds fielding was pretty lame yesterday. No, they didn’t make errors: but they did not turn a lot of balls into outs that they normally would have done. Obviously, the elements played a huge role, but you cannot count on that again. (That was one of the more wind-affected games I’ve witnessed in a very long time.)

  • Cheryl

    Sometimes its not too difficult to predict what Sveum will do. I assume Vitters will be out of the lineup tomorrow and Jackson back in.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    Seems to me Cardenes should get an audition.

    • Carew

      HI!

      I agree with ya, the guy rakes in AAA but gets no PT in the bigs…

  • Flashfire

    I wonder if there’s a statistically significant improvement when players face their old teams. It does seem to be remarkably consistent, anecdotally.

  • Dan

    3-2 Reds

    Called it….

    • anotherjp

      Russell the love muscle with a truly inspiring performance.

      • Carew

        He’s bad

  • die hard

    wheres Vitters and Jackson..didnt Theo get my memo? what-are the Cubs thinking playoffs?…these two kids need to be in every inning for rest of season so Cubs know what have/dont have for next year

  • die hard

    50 games left after today’s loss…Cubs could end up with 100-110 losses….wouldnt you think they’d sit Soriano half of each game he plays so kids can play?….doesnt matter does it?

    • Carew

      Does not matter. Outside of Jackson and perhaps Sappelt, who else would they play? You gotta be somewhat competitive…and i use that term loosely

      • die hard

        It matters for future…let all kids on 25 play now…basically Vitters and Jackson and back up catcher I guess…or dont wait for call-ups and move DeJesus Lahair and Valbuena and replace with kids…and sit Soriano and use only as PH…

        • Carew

          Theyre not gonna sit Soriano. He is the most productive player on the team, an they would like to boost his value as high as possible for the offseason

          • nkniacc13

            Exactly if they want any chance to get anything of value this offseasonfor Sori unless they eat all his contact which then they should keep him they got to play him most everyday. I figure lahair is gone after the year but im going to be intereste in seeing what happens with Dejesus.

            • Carew

              Ithink DeJesus stays next year. He is the FO’s kinda player

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