Brooks Raley tries to make a better first impression this time around, but I’m a bit nervous about him following a similar pitcher in Travis Wood.

Brett Jackson is back in the lineup, and, even against a tough strikeout pitcher, I feel like he’s gonna have a good day. I just do.

Game Info

Cincinnati Reds (68-46) at Chicago Cubs (44-68), 1:20pm CT on WGN.

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

Johnny Cueto (14-6, 2.58 ERA, 3.03 FIP)


Brooks Raley (0-1, 15.75 ERA, 6.59 FIP)

Cincinnati Reds Lineup

1. Zack Cosart, SS

2. Drew Stubbs, CF

3. Brandon Phillips, 2B

4. Ryan Ludwick, LF

5. Todd Frazier, 3B

6. Jay Bruce, RF

7. Miguel Cairo, 1B

8. Ryan Hanigan, C

9. Johnny Cueto, 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. Brooks Raley, P

  • Dan

    Sveum, why u no play Vitters?!

    • nkniacc13

      I can handle not plying vitters vs Cueto but hes sitting him way to much since the call up

    • Nick Nesler

      I saw a tweet that said Sveum was gonna start playing Vitters more starting with the Astros series, said he would start at least 2 and maybe all 3 games.

      • nkniacc13

        makes sense vs houston but after that I hope they don’t go back to this playing 1 out of 3 games

    • fortyonenorth

      The Cubs have a plan and they are merely executing. Vitters’s playing time is part of the big picture. Maybe he’s going to be trade bait and the Cubs want to carefully manage how he is presented. I don’t know, but I’m willing to wait and see how things play out.

      • art

        in most cases you showcase players so people can decide. sitting on the bench is not showing his skills or lack of skills. IMO they are showing Vitters, Jackson, and fans what they, Cubs think of them. before (Jackson/Vitters) they came up dale said kids must play everyday or most of the time. what happened? is Vitters that bad on defense?

    • Jimmy james

      And why you bat valbuena sixth lol…

  • clark addison

    Raley vs. Cueto. On paper, a huge mismatch. Thankfully, games are played on the field.

  • socalicubsfan

    Just don’t like to see Raley following Wood. Not sure there’s much that can be done about it, but it doesn’t seem to set up Raley for success.

  • art

    agree Raley has the edge. jk

  • Fastball

    Play Vitters. I am wondering about Sveum. Valbuena is the new Neifi Perez. Guess every manager has to have his bitch that gets to play. Is Valbuena playing fir free? There is a conspiracy here. Koyie Hill passed the pics to Valbuena. Got to be the Steez on his getting to play gotta be.

  • Fastball

    According to The Bleacher Report Sori is a pair of cinder blocks on Theo’s rebuild financially. This guy is a moron. We have 1 big contract player on the roster. If Theo and Ricketts wanted to spend money they ha e plenty of it. The Cubs take in way plenty $$$ and its not a problem

  • Fastball

    If Ricketts was smart he would force a renegotiation of his tv contracts and tell CSN and WGN to get him a deal like they have in NY and LA. Tell them they wont be invited to bid when the contract is up if they dont work with him now. Call Fox Sports and tee them up.

    • TonyP


  • Fastball

    Im not trading for a guy who doesnt get to play aftwr being called up. Only faces lefties. I am skeptical of this plan. IMO the plan sucks right now cincerning Vitters.

  • Jackalope

    Get your raley caps on!

    • Dan


  • Cheryl

    OK. I’ll ask the question that’s beneath the surface, Does Sveum play favorites? I don’t know the answer. But what do you think? I would hope he doesn’t. But I’m trying to figure out what he’s doing. I’m puzzled.

    • Picklenose

      Cheryl – of course Sveum plays favorites. We all do. It is part of human nature to like and trust some people more than others. The better question is, does Sveum play favorites to the detriment of the team? My answer is probably not. It may look that way in the Valbuena Vitters choice, but Sveum has access to information and plans that we as fans don’t.

      • J R

        I think the better question is how much power does Sveum have? Is there anyway in hell that Thed would allow Sveum to play a prospect like Vitters only 30% of the time? Thed must have a reason for Sveum to platoon him. Sveum seems to be a good guy, but I have hard time believing that he is worried about 2015.

      • Cheryl

        Thanks. Like I said, I’m puzzled by some of the things he does. Your’s is probably the most on target answer.

  • Rich

    Wow all these new coaches
    New regime
    New players

    And same old results
    Can’t even look at runner on 2nd

    Sveum blows
    This team is an udder joke
    Vitters sitting on bench I guess that full season of 162 games at
    AAA was only meant for Rizzo so the real purpose was an extra year of team
    Control and not development
    So Jackson and Vitters are not in the teams plans

    How many days left

  • mudge

    This team is an udder joke. Let’s milk them for all they’re worth. I was going to tell an udder joke, but this one was better.

  • Rich

    Ha good one
    This team is so bad WGN has to do stuff like
    stats Sunday
    Awesome I guess it’s ok to let Rizzo go hitless and learn
    just not Vitters
    I’m ready to bring back Hendry and Dusty
    Not really just help understand the Vitters situation
    Brooks looked better today

    • Turn Two

      Wow- this sounds a little pouty, its called rebuilding, not always fun but necessary. Stats Sunday is a cool way to add some new school baseball knowledge into the public lingo. Rizzo and Vitters are not a fair comparison Rizzo took his lumps last year and looks very polished. Vitters is a different guy- not everyone excels with the same approach.

  • Joel

    Why do people expect anything from this team? They suck and we’ve known since Opening Day. Theo and company said that this whole process would take time and a lot of patience, not one freaking year. Relax. Why Vitters is not playing, I don’t know, but Dale and Theo and company have some reason for it. Whether it is a good one or not, who knows, but complaining on a blog comment page will not get Vitters more playing time. Just please stop saying its time to blow up this team, fire dale and theo and spend money, because thats not how you win long term

    • J R

      I am not sure what you’re talking about. Most Cubs fans I know realize the Cubs are terrible, and knew they would be train wreck bad from spring training. I think most people get it. With that said, the whole Vitters thing is very weird. And I would love someone other than Sveum to explain what is going on..

      • Joel

        Well some nights I come on hear I see some post by Brett that has like 120 comments and I read them and half of them are people complaining that this team sucks and should be better and that Theo and company aren’t working, Dale should be fired and that Theo has no clue what he’s doing. It’s just when I see those comments I question those people and what they expected from this year

        • J R

          Well those people are idiots and don’t have a clue, so I wouldn’t worry about what they say. Theo and Jed are obviously very smart, but I think they could do a better job of being more open about what exactly is going on. Most people who have a clue know the Cubs aren’t trying to win this year and next, but for the others a little honesty from the FO wouldn’t hurt.

          • Joel

            Yeah, but thats not how they work. I listen to a lot of 670 the score and when they talk about the cubs, they talk about how theo and jed and company dont talk a lot, but when they do, if people actually listen to what they say, you can get a lot out of it and len kasper totally agreed during his interview this past week

            • J R

              Yeah they are very secretive, and I am sure they won’t change that. So, there are going to be fans out there that don’t get the longterm thing, and are going to want to see results asap. I am sure the FO knows this, and don’t give a shit.

              • Joel

                Of course, I’ve always heard the quote and I dont know who said it, but they said that if a front office runs a team by what the fans want to see then that front office won’t be there very long. I myself understand the long term approach so I’m giving Theo and Jed every benefit of the doubt and know that patience will be needed to get through the next couple years

            • Brett

              That’s why I parse everything they say down to the last word. They communicate a great deal in their rare media appearances.

  • Rich

    Takes time I get that
    Explain to me why u can’t rebuild and spend
    There is no promises that the drafts or trades will produce anything
    This is not the Royals or the Indians
    Second largest road draw and 37k and Walt Disney of Wrigley

    • J R

      Well, if you’re going to be bad you might as well be really bad. When you’re really bad you draft higher, and get more money for International signings. Whats the point of spending a bunch of money to be 75 and 87 when you can save it and spend the money when it matters. The Astros seem to have a strong understanding of this approach, and I think it will payoff for them bigtime.

  • Joel

    @Rich I’m not against spending money on free agents, but that hasn’t worked for the cubs lately and then they get stuck with contracts like soriano and even marmols. The point is in free agency you always have to over spend for anyone that will make a difference on the club. Look at Pujols’ contract. And theres not promise to free agents either, take soriano for instance. They thought he’d be a 40-40 guy for a couple more years when they signed him. Yeah that didnt work

  • nkniacc13

    I think this is the 2nd year of the Stats sunday for WGN. Also they have said they will spend money in FA but you can’t build a team that way.

  • Hawkeye

    A team can’t be successful without the use of free agency. Just because it didn’t work with Soriano you can’t stop utilizing it.

    • Joel

      Fair point, but Dave Otto just mentioned on the broadcast that free agency should be used to fill in the gaps, not create a winning team.

  • RS

    I went to hs with Dave Otto
    Is he doing any broadcasting in Chicago
    I don’t live in Chicago anymore

  • RS

    I am all good to build a system
    But is that what the Yankees do
    Or are the orioles and royals developing
    A young successful system ?
    We have a great fan base and in a large market
    We can do both

    • Joel

      I think we can do both too, but we need to build our system up and have a solid foundation before we spend millions filling in any holes

  • nkniacc13

    I agree the Cubs can do both. The main issue for the Cubs is that they have a bunch of talented young postition players and very few pitching prospects. It cost more to go out in the FA pool and get pitchers and more and more teams are signing them before they get to FA.

  • Nick

    We’re going through yet another wasted August and September. Sveum please play Vitters, Jackson, and LaHair every game so we see what we have I do not care who is pitching, at some point if we want to be good they are going to have to face good pitchers. Yes I know LaHair was struggling, but he did enough to be an All-Star so let’s see if there is something there to use next year. Please get Castro out of the 5th spot, why in the heck you think he is a 5 hitter makes me question all the positive things I liked about you. He belongs in the 2 or 3 hole, leave the guy in one spot and let him play. I suggest you try:

    Jackson- CF
    Barney- 2nd
    Castro- SS
    Rizzo- 1st
    Soriano- LF
    LaHair- RF
    Vitters- 3rd
    Castillo/Cleavanger- C

    Give it a try and see what you have here

    • hansman1982

      So the first four months of the season wasn’t enough to tell you everything you need to know about lahair?

      • Nick

        No because of the mix results, All-Star for a month, medicore for a month, and a bench player for the rest. Let him have the year, he’s got a better chance of being a part of the future than DD.

        • Drew7

          Mediocre? Abysmal, in May and June

  • Hawkeye

    I’m not suggesting the cubs sign a whole new team but they need to add some quality players via free agency this offseason. Running out guys like Casey Coleman is ridiculous. This is a major market team. Also remember the 80’s when the cubs were regarded as cheap, I guess what I’m saying is I’d rather make mistakes like paying marmol too much to stay than not paying Maddox enough to stay.

    • Joel

      But why sign quality players for money when you know your gonna suck anyway. Might as well let the younger players develop with playing time. Yeah I know than the comeback is ‘well they’re not even playing vitters so whats the point in that’, but like I said dale, theo and jed have a plan, no of us know what it is so lets just wait and see

  • Cheryl

    If Theo and Company have a plan, right now it seems bsically to clean house. They will play those that they acquire and get rid of those that they didn’t. Yet how they go about it is bothersome. Bring a player up and sitting him, despite what was said earler, makes one feel that there is no plan. Promise a payer that he’ll play eery day then platoon him and give him an occasional at bat on an irregular basis is a good way to get that player out of sinc.Vitters may or may ot get to play. If he plays against the Astros, don’t expect much. He’s already not sure about his standing with the way he’s being used and it could have a negative effect in the future.

    • TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

      Actually, wasn’t he (vitters) just on record saying that the front office has talked to him and he knows exactly where he stands? That’s redundant, the answer is yes. Theo, Jed and dale want to put him in positions to succeed so they were looking at the match-ups. However, it was just revealed that he’ll be getting a substantial bump in paying time starting in Houston and that the fo+dale see his defense as much improved.

      • Cheryl

        Boy, I hope you’re right!

    • Drew7