If the Cubs can hold the Brewers to single digits tonight, I suppose that’s a moral victory after last night’s 9th inning.

In a roster move, the Cubs have activated reliever Blake Parker – he of the elbow stress reaction that is currently plaguing Matt Garza – from the 60-day disabled list, and have designated reliever Alex Hinshaw – he of the three home runs given up last night – for assignment. Hinshaw didn’t get much of an audition with the Cubs, but I guess they saw what they needed to see last night.

Game Info

Milwaukee Brewers (60-67) at Chicago Cubs (49-78), 7:05 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

Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.62 ERA, 3.84 FIP)


Travis Wood (4-10, 4.76 ERA, 5.46 FIP)

Milwaukee Brewers Lineup

1. Norichika Aoki, RF

2. Rickie Weeks, 2B

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Corey Hart, 1B

6. Martin Maldonado, C

7. Carlos Gomez, CF

8. Jeff Bianchi, SS (remember when he was a Cub for about 12 seconds?)

9. Yovani Gallardo, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Luis Valbuena, 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. Travis Wood, P

  • rudymeolismullet

    I would fire Dale the next time he plays Valbuena.

    • MIkeL

      please take a moment to lookup valbuena’s stars over the past month, then look at the alternatives. After you do that, please tell me how your comments make sense.

      • MIkeL


        Stars=stats…..but you can look his stars too if u want.

    • MikeL


      Valbuena so far tonight? 1-1 with a walk and a great defensive play. You’re right…..let’s fire Dale……

  • David

    Thats why you would never be a GM

  • Cizzle

    You mean the Valbuena who has a higher OBP than Barney, is the same age as Barney, and has a .900 OPS in August? His 2012 OBP is only 10 points below Castro’s!
    I’m not a huge Valbuena fan, I just don’t understand where this hatred comes from. Sure, Vitters is a (younger) prospect, but it’s not like he’s the top prospect in the system, or is raking for that matter. If Vitters isn’t playing, I’m sure there’s a good reason for it…he’s not ready to play everyday, and can’t hardly field.

    • Bill

      Because Valbuena isn’t the future, Castro is and maybe so is Barney. Also, Barney and Castro play defensive positions where offense is a bonus. Valbuena plays a position where you want a big bat. He doesn’t have a big bat. Valbuena is probably the best option THIS year, but the Cubs brass should be playing Vitters to evaluate if he can play the position next year. If he can’t then they have to figure out a way to obtain a 3B (the FA market is weak at 3B). They’ve let Jackson play through his growing pains, so I’m not sure why they aren’t doing that with Vitters. Valbuena is a better fielder, but he’s not exactly Brooks Robinson at 3B. Again, right now Theo doesn’t care if this team loses every game the rest of the season, so even if Vitters is a butcher at 3B, who cares? He’s not going to get better sitting on the bench. Why did they bring him up to sit him on the bench. This is the stupid stuff that Hendry/Quade used to do.

      • Flashfire

        No, Hendry and Quade wouldn’t have been playing Jackson, either. Clearly they don’t have a problem playing rookies. It’s just Vitters is behind Jackson and they’re using this partly for evaluation and partly for teaching.

      • MikeL


        Maybe Vitters is going about his at-bats all wrong? Perhaps they pulled him to help him regain his focus? To discuss situational hitting and pitch recognition with him on the bench by picking his brain? To straighten out his mechanics in the cage? This is a guy that rarely strikes (he also rarely walked in AAA) but last night he struck out 4 times….he needed a night off.

      • Pat

        Judging whether a guy should be your starter in forty some games this year is as bad as making it a spring training competition. Based on the sample sizes involved, you know nothing about how the player would do the following season. It’s too small a sample to even know that he can’t play.

        You can learn what a player needs to work on, but he doesn’t have to play every day to make that determination.

        • Bill

          Fair enough, but then why did they play Jackson every game? He looked horrible up until the past few games. I don’t see how sitting him on the bench helps his development. He’s playing very little. If they didn’t think he was ready then they should have left him in AAA. Just seems ridiculous to keep a young player on the bench. Weren’t we told by Theo that guys would not get called up until they were ready to play. The reason, as Sveum has said, “they need to play everyday”. If Vitters wasn’t ready they should have left him in AAA where he could continue to work on his game and then in Sep they could have called him up. This is another botched job by Team Theo.

          • Pat

            That’s hard to say. I do know they indicated Jackson would play everyday and Vitters would spot start right from the time they were called up. My guess would be that they think Jackson has a chance to start next year and wanted to give him some time to work through the strikeout issues (or at least see enough of him against MLB pitching to see if he could).

            It’s very possible that they see Vitters as a bench player, in which case he needs to succeed in that role.

            In a perfect world all the prospects would get a full year or two of playing every day to see if they can succeed. But in reality, you have to make the most of the chances you do get. These guys aren’t owed a chance to play every day.

          • MikeL

            Here is the difference: Jackson’s stats might’ve been horrible, but his approach might’ve been good enough to keep him out there as long as he made some minor adjustments that he would’ve learned faster at regular game speed. Vitters situation might be different, but at the same time–he might be MLB ready, but might have a steeper learning curve than jackson.

            • Frank

              That would be my guess–Vitters has a steeper learning curve and they’re trying to make it easier on him. And I think Keith Moreland mentioned something to that effect as well.

  • Tim

    and luke strotman is throwing out the first pitch tonight. he the boy who tony campana and anthony rizzo went to visit. the video brett posted about some time ago

  • Picklenose

    I think Hinshaw gave us a pretty good look at why he was released before. And why we should release him as well.

  • Joepoe321

    My cubs prospect status
    1Baez *
    5Jackson ^
    7Christian Villanueva
    8Vogelbach ^
    9P. Johnson ^
    11Amaya ^
    13Lake \/
    14Kyle Hendricks ^^
    15 Geiger ^
    16 Marco Hernandez
    19starling peralta ^

  • CubsFan4Life

    Hey Brett, MLB.com has a link to a very interesting article called “Fun with WAR: How Good Is Your Team?”. The article looks at every MLB team and compares their actual record (through August 23rd) with a calculated WAR record. It offers some insight into whether each team is overachieving, playing as expected, or underachieving.

    In the case of our favorite team, the Cubs actual record was 49 – 78 and their calculated WAR record was 50 – 77. The author’s conclusion is “Theo Wanted A Challenge”. I think Bleacher Nation readers will enjoy this article, so here are the links.

    National League Teams = http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/37472918
    American League Teams = http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/37270006

  • Zogie

    Come on Rizzo! Get the bat off your shoulders. Took strike 3 right down the middle and Valbuena was caught stealing because of that. Really?

    • baldtaxguy

      Rizzo does not look comfortable against Gerardo

      • Matty

        Unfortunately, Rizzo is starting to look a lot like the 2011 version. He has not adjusted to how they are working him. Vogelbach may yet be the 1B of the future.

        • Njriv


          • Carew

            Its amazing to me that people forget how young the cubs are nowadays….growing pains bro, growing pains

        • Whiteflag


          • Njriv

            Agreed Whiteflag, he is still adjusting to everyday big league pitching, he’ll be fine, even the best have slump once in a while.

            • Whiteflag

              Exactly. I’ll hold my concern until June of next year.

        • art

          i’d hang on to Vogelbach.

  • Cubs1967

    WOW—the great bombs away Wood just got taken yard by the team theo released jeff bianchi……….now who’s my bianchi bitch travis??……….

    WTF did we trade for this bum for…………it’s Ken Frailing all over again!

    • Bill

      Oh, but don’t forget Wood wasn’t the prize in that trade, it was Torreyes, who the Theo apologists claim is the next Dustin Pedroia. Looks like we got fleeced.

      • crazyhorse

        I actually liked that pitcher the cubs signed from the pirates. as back end type of guy – on the cheap – and then we traded him to atlanta for a DL pitcher . A real good dl pitcher that will be a rookie in the year 2014

      • TWC

        Man, the delight you two show with this incessant anti-Theo trolling is embarrassing. Grow up. I’m happy that you’re both finding some pleasure out of this ugly season, but the way you’re showing it is pretty unbecoming.

        • crazyhorse

          Your right TWc -That Hendry he just messed up the cubs for years – he ruin this baseball team with all the contracts he gave out . And Theo is gonna do it the RIght Way. Cause he has such a great experience in Running a baseball team .Its all Hendry fault to why this team stinks

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I know you were trying to sound sarcastic, but almost all of that rings true.

            • Bill

              I’m not even sure you can blame it all on Hendry. Zell was his boss, and as a good businessman, he wanted to drive up the value of the club before he sold it. Hendry was ordered to spend big money, and unfortunately those where years where there weren’t the best FA’s on the market. Also, Cubs management (including Ricketts the first season) went cheap on the draft, so the GM was acting at a major disadvantage used by other GM’s, including Theo.

              It will be interesting to see what Ricketts in the not too distant future. The contract with WGN is due in 2015 (?), so you’d think he’d want a quality team on the field by 2014/2015 in order to maximize his TV deal. Will he tell Theo that he needs to go after a big fish or two in the FA market as we near the end of the TV deal? Ricketts worst nightmare is the team is still losing 90-100 games when this contract expires. He’ll lose a lot of money.

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                If the Cubs are still losing 90-100 games in 2014 then Theo truly is the worst executive in the game or we better have the #1 farm system by 90 miles.

                Odds are, the Cubs will most likely create their own network (I hope they name it Cubs Ultimate Broadcasting System (CUBS)) and the money will be all ours!!!!!

              • King Jeff

                I’m not saying that you don’t make a good point here, just that Hendry was around before Zell was the owner. His teams were always up and down, and the farm never consistently produced above average major league talent under his watch.

            • Crazyhorse

              Sorry big guy – I was not near a computer . You are correct and yes it was Hendry fault because it Is (very simple statement) I question his moves as well but under Hendry even though i knew it an illusion the Cubs were competitive. They had a few good years – somehow it made you a Cub fan.

              but anyway – i really did not feel the need to broaden my thoughts on the internet. I was too busy with activities and conversation with friends and strangers and one could always get into a conversation about the Cubs

              Unless your by a bar around Wrigley Field- people are not really intrested in the Cubs anymore. instead they come to sites like yours.
              (And your a damn good blogger and this is a good site)

              Now some people may me accuse me of trolling . I like reading all opinions and then i form my own opinion. but this site is pro Epstein.
              sometimes a new person may come about and he or she may disagree and the vultures attack. I love trolling those trolls.

              They always have the same methods attack the grammar attack the spelling and then attack the person.and then attack the content no matter what, but by that time those people lose interest and leave. Those intelligent people with great writing skills are usually the same people that can not hold a verbal conversation but that is debatable since i know a person can do both if they try, but for most talking is the easiest. and typing what you think can be very awkward – sometime it comes out different. but the grammar police is always ready to trounce. anyway yes i troll the the trolls. but id rather just talk about baseball.

              My opinion about the Soriano piece is you knew what you were doing. And i truly believe that if Soriano is guilty it give the Cubs reason to terminate his contract. (not an excuse, but a reason) but this is a blog and its alright to print opinion with fact..

              It just seem like most ex cubs that Theo gets rid off its open season to hurl the insults- well some people think that every dumb move that Theo does it open season.

              I dont have man crush on Theo Epstien and the young man has made some dumb mistakes and he has made some good decisions.

              Theo Eptein may be the greater fool. ( it is what it is and it is not an insult) but Ricketts was the fool to hire him and that is an insult.

              i think Theo will be okay in a couple years not because his draft picks will do well but because he will gain the experience and he will learn how to field a major league team but lets not baby him he cant alway be the greater fool and make it work. sometimes you have to pay for talent –

              I am A Cub fan, owners come and go – front office always change and players they excite and disappoint- but i am still a cub fan

        • Bill

          Honestly, the post I find embarrassing here are the ones that speak so glowingly of every move Theo makes. He could trade Castro for two players out of the top 100 and there would people here who would claim it was a brilliant move, because Theo knows what he’s doing. I’ve never understood why it’s off limits to criticize a GM/Pres (who makes millions) if the fans think he’s making bad moves. I don’t think anyone on here is rooting for the Cubs to win or doesn’t hope that every move Theo makes is gold. I have no problem giving Theo credit, like he deserved for getting Atl to give up Delgado for Dempster. However, blind faith in Theo is silly. He’s never built a team from the ground up so there’s no reason to believe he can do it here. Also, the new CBA totally changes the speed in which you can build up the farm system (ie there’s not as many comp picks). I hope he succeeds, but I don’t want to have to wait until 2015 or 2016 to see a competitive team on the field. I’ve been a Cub fan for 42 years, and I’ve seen way too many bad teams. Just once I’d like to see the team in the World Series.

          • MikeL


            You haven’t been as bad as others, but you seem to be trying to criticize Theo every chance you get and that is almost as “embarrassing” as those who have unquestioning praise for him and are blind followers. There needs to be some objectivity in this whole process and my whole issue with your approach is that you seem to be misunderstanding the rebuilding process and that is that you seem to think it is 100% farm systems and there will be no spending on free agents.


            I have been trying to explain to you that since the start of free agency, the most successful teams have had a balanced approach—develop a strong farm system while making smart free agency signings. Your model team–The Yankees–have never been successful when they have ignored player development and their farm system and relied only on free agency and I can prove that to you. The Orioles in the late 90s were another team that did that and it really wrecked their organization

            The Cubs will eventually sign big name free agents, but it won’t be this year, and it probably won’t be next year. Why? There is really no one worth spending the money on!!!! I would rather save the money rather than paying top dollar for a mediocre free agent that will put us in the same financial state with big and bloated contracts that we have been for the last couple of years!!

            • Bill

              Good response. I agree with you about the balance approach. On another site I visit the consensus is the Cubs shouldn’t spend money on FA’s until they are a player or two away. I don’t understand this. Totally agree they shouldn’t spend dumb money, like they did with Soriano, but if you can add a piece now then they should do it.

              For example, if Hamels were still on the market the Cubs should have been in hot pursuit of him. No, I wouldn’t have given him a 7+ year contract, but I would have been willing to pay him a little higher APY and sign him to a 5-6 year deal. A number 1 starter is hard to come by and the Cubs don’t have any TOR starters in the farm higher than A- ball.

              Agree with you the FA market is thin, so I wouldn’t overpay to get a guy like Greinke (he would be a bad fit for Chi). However, I see no reason why the Cubs can’t spend some money to get several mid level FA’s. I’d like to see them go after guys like Brandon McCarthey, A. Sanchez, etc. These guys have potential yet they won’t break the bank. The Cubs will have tons of money coming off the books after this season. Sign 2-3 starting pitchers and give them a max 3-4 year contract. The system has no arms at AA or AAA, so you aren’t blocking anyone.

              Add one big bat, a corner outfielder, and a couple relievers. Is this a team that will win a WS? No. It should be a team that can win 75-80 games and an outside shot of at least competing for a Wildcard spot if EVERYTHING goes right (ie Jackson and Vitters blossom, etc). Let’s take some steps, even if they are small, in getting this team back to winning. Surrounding Castro and Rizzo with terrible players, and a losing attitude, doesn’t help in their development.

              • Whiteflag

                I’m hoping for a few mid-range free agents as well, and I think its likely to happen. The cubs have a lot of holes to fill and money to spend. The only thing I’m not on board with is the 3-4 year contract. I hope they sign a lot of 1-2 yr deals.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        …is a sentence that would make sense if anyone anywhere had actually said those things and if Torreyes wasn’t playing well as one of the youngest players in the Florida State League?

        • Bill

          More than one person on this site said Torreyes could be the next Pedroia. The comparison was probably made because of the numbers he put up in A ball and his height. A+ ball is still a long ways away from the majors. The problem with a guy like Torreyes is that 2B is the only position he can play. The Cubs have several 2B prospects higher than Torreyes and even if you trade him it limits the trade potential. Maybe he can play SS, but I’ve read nowhere that he has the range, arm, glove, to play SS. He doesn’t have the pop to play 3B.

          Is his .270 BA the result of someone who needed a while to figure it out or is it a true representation of his abilities? None of us knows the answer to that question at this time.

          • Drew7

            I’ve never seen that comparison made by anyone here. The reason you read so much about him is because 90% of posts that include him are in response to comments like:

            “MOAR……….Good trade wonderboy theo……the best reliever in baseball for a batting practice pitcher……….oh dont forget about the kid hitting .240 in A ball!!!!!……….”

            • Bill

              I would swear on a stack of bibles those comments were made days after the trade was made and people were making assessments. I’m not saying people made that comparison once the season started.


              You are correct, Wood was the centerpiece of the trade, and a lot of people on here were very excited about his potential. I wasn’t excited about Wood because I feared that he was like Randy Wells. A guy who fooled the league the first year but then teams figured him out. I also don’t like trading a player within the division unless you are clearly getting the better deal. It also kind of goes against what Theo/Jed say the type of pitchers they want. Power pitchers. Wood is not a power pitcher.

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                I may have made a few Pedroia comparisons…sure, I’m guilty of trying to be optimistic when I root for the Cubs…do I honestly believe that he is a sure fire AS-Caliber 2B? Hells-to-the-noes

              • baldtaxguy

                However you reasoned it, you did not view Wood as principle return on Marshall. That does not mean the facts change and the next in line, whether Seppelt or Torreyes, becomes principle as a result.

                • Bill

                  Yes, I viewed Wood as the principle player in the Marshall trade. A lot of people liked the trade because of Torreyes, but it was obvious Wood was the key player (how could he not when he’s pitched in the big leagues?).

                  To be fair none of can say whether any of Theo’s trades have been good, bad, or ugly. We just don’t know right now. It could be years before we can evaluate because Torreyes is several years away, even if he makes the bigs. We can give an opinion based upon the short term results but it often takes years before we can truly evaluate a trade.

                  The example I can think of is the Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz. Short term this looked like a steal for the Tigers. Long term, Smoltz did more. Overall, this trade probably helped both teams achieve their goals.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Setting aside whatever disagreements we’d have there, no one honestly believed Torreyes was the centerpiece of that deal. It was always Wood. Still is.

            • Flashfire

              I think Wood was the centerpiece, but I also believe Torreyes that convinced Theo to pull the trigger.

          • baldtaxguy

            Exciting add-on, but Wood was the guy, should be obvious. Don’t mistake optimism for Torreyes as anything else.

    • Njriv

      Hey Cubs 1967, can you talk about something different for once, I gets annoying that you keep bringing up the Marshall trade every 5th day. Wood pitched a quality start, and he has driven in the only run, blame this on no run support.

      • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        He is just a troll like a few others on the site…please just ignore him.

        • Njriv

          Uh-oh, you said the magic word, hes going to call you coward because you typed it and not said it to him personally.

      • baldtaxguy

        Incredible rants seeking credibility simply by repetition. It’s only done now for the attention.

  • crazyhorse

    it was gonna be an ugly season to begin with, might as well have some fun. the good news soon Theo wont have a major league person to trade.or give away while Ricketts still pay them .

  • Carew

    This entire seasons kinda needs the phrase FISH

  • WNebCub

    Soler just 6 k’s in 61 plate appearances heading into tonight for Peoria. those are the silver linings that we should be excited about these days. At least i am.

    • Bill

      True. I probably get more excited looking at the minor league box scores than the major league team. I’m especially excited about guys we have in low A and rookie ball. The frustration comes in knowing those guys are years away from helping the big club.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    3 Words Junior Lake! Bring him up in September and lets see what he has… I am not sold on Vitters! He looks like a deer in head lights at the plate! Vitters isnt ready for the show!

    • Bill

      Junior Lake is not ready to play in Chi. Can’t remember the guy who provides AA commentary for this site but I think he’s doubtful Lake will ever see the big show. Sounds like a kid who has tools but those tools need to be refined.

      I can’t get a read on Vitters. He plays one game, then sits the next 2-3 games. How many young players have success playing so little?

      • Njriv

        Sounds like Cardenas but instead of sitting 2-3 days its more like 2-3 weeks.

    • fortyonenorth

      “3 Words”

      Did I miss a word?

      • baldtaxguy

        “Deer in Headlights?”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I can tell you exactly what Junior Lake has: an awful lot of learning to do before he can be expected to do much of anything in the majors.

      The Cubs could bring Lake up in September. Since he is on the 40 man roster the cost of doing so would be fairly minimal. If they did that, though, the goal would for Lake to see how much work he has to do in the hopes he’ll focus on doing it rather than to see if Lake is ready for the majors.

  • RY34

    Congrats to Barney on his 113 game errorless streak, one of the few bright spots on this godforsaken joke of a team! we truly are milwaukees bitch! another great offensive performance tonight as well!

    • Flashfire

      AAA lifers on the Sounds (Maysonette, Bianchi) just can’t wait to get their shot against the Cubs.

      • RY34

        so true!

  • http://Yes Dude

    Darwin! Will he get the GG that he deserves or will Philips defend his title?

    • RY34

      phillips will get it.

  • TonyS

    Reading some of these comments before the box score i assumed Wood had given up 8+ runs. 3 runs in 7 digs is a quality start isnt it?! Wtf. Id take that every game!