The Cubs will try to avoid their second straight sweep at the hands of the mighty Brewers. This one of the ugly four-game variety.

Alfonso Soriano gets a day off, and Brooks Raley will make his last start of the season. Chris Rusin will probably be replacing him in the rotation after this one.

Starlin Castro stays in the three-hole, and Anthony Rizzo bats fourth today. Hmm. Valbuena gets another start at third, which Dale Sveum says is going to happen more and more down the stretch.

Game Info

Milwaukee Brewers (62-67) at Chicago Cubs (49-80), 1:20 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

Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.19 ERA, 3.74 FIP)


Brooks Raley (1-2, 6.64 ERA, 6.25 FIP)

Milwaukee Brewers Lineup

1. Norichika Aoki, RF

2. Rickie Weeks, 2B

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Corey Hart, 1B

5. Jonathan Lucroy, C

6. Carlos Gomez, CF

7. Cody Ransom, 3B

8. Jeff Bianchi, SS

9. Shaun Marcum, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, LF

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Bryan LaHair, RF

6. Steve Clevenger, C

7. Brett Jackson, CF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Brooks Raley, P

  • Brian Mac

    Lots of left-handed hitters in today’s lineup…especially consecutively.

  • ptbnl

    Why is it Raley’s last start?

    • Brett

      Season innings limit.

      • ptbnl

        Thanks Brett.

        • Melrosepad

          Looks like he is at 151 IP between minors and majors prior to this start.

          • Cedlandrum

            Interesting that they would have Rusin replace him since he has only thrown about 5 less innings on the year.

            • Brett

              Every player has a different development plan, and a different background.

  • Drew7

    “Brooks Raley will make his last start of the season. Chris Rusin will probably be replacing him in the rotation after this one”

    • ptbnl

      Drew, was that a response to my question? If it was then I already read that part. My question is why do we know it is probably his last start? Is he on an unofficial innings limit? Has he shown enough that he is being demoted? Is he being moved to the pen?

  • Dylan

    Probably limiting his innings. The minor league season is ending this weekend. Raley is still a “minor league” guy, I guess.

  • Fastball

    Didn’t Sveum say just last week that Vitters was going to get like 75% of the starts the rest of the season. Now he is going to keep playing Valbuena. Hey I don’t care if Vitters isn’t going to be considered a 3b candidate. Play him in LF or RF if he isn’t going to be a 3b. But if they are just going to let him ride the pine this has been a terrible waste of Vitters development time. He should have stayed in Iowa and learned to play the outfield and kept hitting everyday. Also, if there was any idea of trying to trade him in a package deal over the winter they just F’d that up. His value has dropped because they haven’t really given him a chance at 3b since his call up and he has lost his timing as a hitter. He is too young to put on the shelf and ask to hit a couple times a week. He has never played in that scenario before as a minor leaguer. Now they want to see improvement in game situations in limited starts. I don’t think this was a very good decision. It’s almost Quade like. It is Quade like. I really don’t get this. I’m not buying the he learned by watching argument or he learned by taking fungo’s from Listach vs whom ever was hitting them in the minors. Every GM in baseball is going to look at Vitters in a worse light than he was probably already being looked at with regard to being a future 3B. So what are we going to get for him if he doesn’t fit into the big picture with the Cubs. Not much. Maybe they are going to make him a pitcher this off season. If Hendry was still here that would be a possibility. Sarcasm…

    • fortyonenorth

      In fairness, he’s doing more than riding the pine. I assume (and hope) that there’s some quality time being shared between Vitters and the big league coaches. At this point, that holds more value than getting a few ground balls and four PAs each day in the game. Let the situation play-out. I have faith that the guys in charge know what they’re doing.

    • rhino70

      I disagree.

      As much as I’d like to see Vitters playing regularly, he is still gaining valuable experience here in Chicago that he will never get in AAA. He’s seeing major league pitching, learning from major league coaches and hopefully understanding what it takes to be a major league baseball player.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The funny thing is that it used to be common-place to bring good players up from AAA and then let them sit on the bench as part time players for whole seasons. A lot of really good players (including some guys now in the HoF) played only sparingly in their first couple of years in the big leagues, sitting behind a proven veteran. That was just the accepted way of doing things, nothing more or less.

  • Fastball

    Valbuena found Koyie Hill’s photo album hidden in the bottom of his locker. He has to have pic’s of Svuem and Epstein.

    • Flashfire

      Vitters is completely overmatched. Really, there are no good options right now.

      • Flashfire

        Maybe bring up Lake/Watkins and see what they do at third. But that seems to have far more downside than upside.

    • Jackalope

      Not a Valbuena fanboy or saying he’s anywhere near the player Rizzo is by any means, but would you believe that Valbuena has a significantly higher walk rate, lower K rate, and almost identical isolated slugging as Rizzo?

  • Njriv

    Valbuena is looking like a decent Utility IF for the Cubs in the future.

    • donnie kessinger


  • Mike Taylor

    Valbuena has three things going for him: fielding at 3B/SS, ISO, and BB/SO ratio. He doesn’t hit well enough to hit in the #2 hole, but he is .286/.422/.543/.965 w/RISP, so I think he should bat higher than Brett Jackson, for now.

    RF DeJesus L
    SS Castro R
    1B Rizzo L
    LF Soriano R
    3B Valbuena L
    CF Jackson L
    C Castillo R
    2B Barney R

    • Drew7

      ” but he is .286/.422/.543/.965 w/RISP”

      Yeah, in 45 PA’s. His career line is even too few PA’s (241) to draw any sort of useful conclusion, but even with this year’s numbers factored in, he has a career .675 OPS w RISP

      In other words, he’s probably just like 99.9% of every major-league hitter – the same hitter with runners on base as he is with the bases empty.

      • EQ76

        does any of it matter? we’ll struggle to score runs no matter how this lineup is put together.

  • King Jeff

    Did I really see this right? Brett Jackson is hitting below .200, but is slugging over .470?

    • AB

      Obviously its probably unsustainable, but its why Jackson is such an interesting player to follow.

      • Flashfire

        His on-base is also over .300. He does so much right — to go with the huge amount wrong.

        • Drew7

          Not really a “huge amount of wrong”, he just has trouble making contact. Really it’s more like, “He does so much right, and the tool he lacks keeps those things from making him a really good player”.

          But what a game he’s having today.

          • Scotti

            I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the two things that Jackson had changed since last year. One was the Rizzo pull grip (he was using it despite never having been a pull hitter–he was missing on pitches down and away). He’s dumped that and now is making contact on those pitches and getting hits to left (he has power that way, too).

            He also was taking pitches that he used to take healthy cuts at–even for strike three. Over the past week he’s been swinging at strikes and taking balls. He will always be a strikeout guy because he takes so many pitches, but he has the stroke to hit .260-.280. Good to see him on fire because he is a quality guy. 😉

  • RY

    the always powerful threat of johnathan lucroy strikes again! looks like number 50 won’t happen today or maybe never

    • AB

      Alot of Raley’s success in the minors was due to not giving up HR, only 36 in 414 innings.

  • nkniacc13

    how may players do the cubs have on the 60 day DL?

  • Flashfire

    Well, that day off is doing wonders for Rizzo.

  • RY

    jesus christ, can this bullpen do anything right?? total shit!

  • Drew7

    Barney drives me absolutely nuts at the plate. Twice this game he’s hacked at the 1st pitch and ended an inning with runners on – after the pitcher has been struggling with his command.

  • Believe in 2015

    What a GAME!
    Go Cubs Go