It’s Shark Week, and the Shark is starting tonight for the Cubs. Against the Astros. There’s no way this doesn’t go well.

Josh Vitters indeed gets a start against a righty, as Dale Sveum suggested he would – and he bats second. Interesting. I think it’s fair to wonder whether Sveum hopes that will get Vitters more fastballs, as Sveum believes Vitters to be an excellent fastball hitter. Damning with faint praise? We’ll see.

On the other side at third, we’ll get a look at former Cubs farmhand Marwin Gonzalez, whom the Astros plucked from the Cubs – by way of the Red Sox – in the Rule 5 Draft.

Game Info

Houston Astros (38-78) at Chicago Cubs (44-69), 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

Armando Galarraga (0-2, 4.70 ERA, 6.94 FIP)


Jeff Samardzija (7-10, 4.21 ERA, 3.56 FIP)

Houston Astros Lineup

1. Tyler Greene, SS

2. Jose Altuve, 2B

3. Brett Wallace, 1B

4. Steve Pearce, RF

5. Justin Maxwell, CF

6. Jason Castro, C

7. Marwin Gonzalez, 3B

8. Fernando Martinez, LF

9. Armando Galarraga, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Josh Vitters, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Brett Jackson, CF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • JB88

    I would be fairly shocked if this game gets played today. It has been raining pretty steadily for the last 18 hours or so.

    • Brett

      I heard it was supposed to taper off in time for the game.

  • Mush

    Does anyone know how many players can be on 60 day dl on a 40 man roster?

  • calicubsfan007

    I have a good feeling about this game. Shark should have a field day with those losers.

    • Dan

      Don’t get to say that very often.

  • Mike S

    So why is Vitters batting 2nd and Castro still batting 5th?

    • Wester

      Its gotta be to make a point about his OBP.

      • Wester

        Not to say that VItters has proven that he is a good OBP guy, more to say that Castro has proven he’s not. I think until he won’t be hitting second any time soon. personally.

  • Wester

    My biggest question is why does barney slide out of the number 2, and take over valbuenas normal spot, just because vitters is in the lineup?

    • Brett

      Could simply be that Sveum wants to see how Castillo does higher in the order.

    • Drew7

      Whatever the answer is, I’m glad it happened. Barney is not a #2 hitter.

  • Eric

    These games are extremely important. We have to battle hard to gain ground on the Astros. Sweep plz.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Gain ground? Unless you’re talking about the race for the #1 draft pick, in which case I say “bring on the extra international and draft money by bombing the rest of the year!”

    • Sandberg

      It would be glorious if the Astros swept us.

  • Dan

    What’s the story on Soriano lately? Is he likely to be traded by the waiver deadline?

    • Chris S

      Unfortunately, Soriano isn’t helping his cause much right now.. hitting .169 with 1 HR in August. And only 5 HRs since July 1.. but I’d guess they waived him already..

      My opinion.. he’ll be on the roster the rest of the year.

      • Drew7

        Make that 2 HRs in August

      • Drew7

        And I’d hope any interested GM would be able to see past a rough 10 games

        • DocPeterWimsey

          If you cherry-picked 10 game stretches, then you could find some of those for all of the best players. After all, his 0.189 BA is less than 3 hits short of his 2012 BA and 4 hits short of the 11 he’d need for a 0.300 BA in August.

  • Flashfire

    Anyone else think the A-ball All-Stars could take 5 of 7 from this Astros team?

  • IrishCubColt

    Dempster gets plastered by yankees

    • Flashfire

      Depends on your definition of plastered. If by plastered you mean giving up 8 runs in 6+ innings then, yes, he was plastered.

      Think he’s wishing he was pitching in Turner Field right about now?

      • fortyonenorth


  • Drew7

    Glad you mentioned Shark’s FIP, Brett – 26th best in all of baseball. Yet, after his next bad start, you know we’ll see several comments like, “looks like the Shark rotation experiment is over” or “Its obvious Shark isnt a starter, stick his a$$ back in the ‘pen”.

    • Rebuilding

      I know the Astros are bad, but I really like what we are seeing from Smardzija right now this deep in the season. He seemed to go through a little dead arm period, but he’s got #2 stuff…hell, maybe even #1 stuff

      • Drew7

        Yes, the Stro’s are awful, but other teams play them too. Shark has been a great addition to the rotation so far.

  • IAcubbyfan

    Cubs win!!