The Cubs welcome the very-hot Giants to Wrigley Field, and face Madison Bumgarner, who always seems to kill the Cubs. Maybe Joe Mather leading off will be the difference – he and his .255 OBP (don’t worry, it’s .286 against lefties!).

Also, it sounds like Jeff Beliveau is coming back today, with Brooks Raley’s season over. Over the next few days, September call-ups are expected, including Adrian Cardenas, Tony Campana, Dave Sappelt, Miguel Socolovich, Chris Rusin (who will enter the rotation), Anthony Recker, and Rafael Dolis, assuming he’s fully healthy.

Game Info

San Francisco Giants (74-57) at Chicago Cubs (50-80), 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

Madison Bumgarner (14-8, 2.93 ERA, 3.34 FIP)


Chris Volstad (1-9, 6.28 ERA, 4.30 FIP)

San Francisco Giants Lineup

(This isn’t the Giants’ actual lineup. I had to schedule this post before I hit the road today, so this is a meager guess. If the lineup comes out and someone is inclined to post it in the comments, I’d be much obliged.)

1. Angel Pagan, CF

2. Marco Scutaro, 2B

3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

4. Buster Posey, C

5. Hunter Pence, RF

6. Brandon Belt, 1B

7. Gregor Blanco, LF

8. Joaquin Arias/Brandon Crawford, SS

9. Madison Bumgarner, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Joe Mather, 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. Chris Volstad, P

  • SirCub

    Arias is in at short hitting 7th, Blanco’s hitting 8th, and Theriot is starting/hitting second over Scutaro.

  • TonyP

    I wouldn’t mind Volstad sticking one in Theriot’s rib-cage today.

    • cubzfan23

      I second that… Hit whereit hurts…

      • TheoRothstein

        Just a friendly reminder that most of you, if not all, are 1st class, top of the list,
        number one ASS HOLES

    • Steve

      That made me LOL… and I don’t LOL a lot

  • Drew7

    Mather leading off…*sigh*

    • AmazGrace

      What are they thinking?

    • ssckelley

      I am scratching my head over this one. This makes no sense at all.

      • AmazGrace

        Well, he is SUPER JOE. YIKES!

  • donnie kessinger

    Sveum must have a “gut” feeling about Mather – maybe he saw an angel on his shoulder.

    • AmazGrace

      I think a lof of teams had a gut feeling about Mather. the angel said see you later.

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      That was Cotton Mather, not Joe.

  • North Side Irish

    Is notorious Cubs-prospect “hater” and friend of Bleacher Nation Kevin Goldstein heading to the Astros?

    Months after Luhnow tried to lure Keith Law from ESPN and hired Mike Fast from Baseball Prospectus, the new name being heard is Kevin Goldstein, also from Baseball Prospectus. (Luhnow called Goldstein “very well thought-of” while declining to say whether he’s joining the Astros; Goldstein, known for extensive prospect reviews and clever, sometimes sassy tweets, responded “no comment” via a direct message on Twitter.)

    • Norm

      lol @ hater

  • Cizzle

    No dejesus. Maybe he’s the only guy with any waiver value.

  • Stu

    I’m sure Wrigley patrons will get there money’s worth in watching 4 AB’s from Mather.

  • AmazGrace

    I believe you about Sori. let’s look at numbers BJ has been putting up lately! What a good sign!!!!

    • Cubbie Blues

      Jackson’s OBP since Aug 5th is .341.

      • AmazGrace

        Yes. I don’t think anybody but DeJesus has a better OBP.

  • donnie kessinger

    I wonder if there may be trade discussion involving DeJesus currently going on…

  • Njriv

    What a great inning, Rizzo, Castro and Castillo all had hits and Soriano his a homer. BJax really smoked that ball, but unfortunately it was a line drive right at the pitcher. Quietly, Castillo is making a really good case to be the starting catcher next season.

  • Eric

    I was sort of hoping Rebel Ridling and Logan Watkins get a look-see.

  • Drew7


  • Neuman

    New poster, long time reader…..
    Does anyone else think that BJax is going to be a great #2 hitter? If we can get a big time OBP lead off guy (DeVoss?) who can steal bases BJax gives that person ample chances to swipe a bag.

    • King Jeff

      If he develops some sense in situational hitting and some consistency, then sure. He’s a far way from that point now, but he has some good top-of-the-order skills.

      • Drew7

        Situational hitting sense?

    • AmazGrace

      Bjax is just starting to come around. He has great potential.

      • Flashfire

        Real honest: I’m more worried around Rizzo than BJax right now. BJax looks like he could easily put up .250/.350/.400 numbers, with plus defense, and a ton of strikeouts. That’s more that you can ask out of a CF.

        Rizzo is not having good at bats at all against lefties. His one AB against a righty: home run. Against the lefties: he isn’t barrelling the ball up and has no power. Not sure what the problem is there — hopefully hitting coach can fix it.

        • AmazGrace

          I see BJax @ .275/.350/.435. I only see him improving. I will take a .350 OBP by him anyday. I wouldn’t get too worked up about Riz. I think he is going to surprise a lot fans.

          • Flashfire

            Given that the expectations for Rizzo essentially have him surpassing Lou Gehrig as the greatest first baseman in the history of the game, “surprising” people would be difficult.

            I’d take an above average major league starting first baseman. Guys that cannot hit lefties can’t be that.

          • Ted

            Checked stats bc I’m curious how he stacks up…a .750 OPS is top-10 for a CF. So he may not be Andrew McCutchen, but top-10 offense with plus defense is certainly a player we can build around, even if he’s striking out a ton.

            • Flashfire

              And, with all due respect to Mr. Jackson, the Cubs don’t expect him to be McCutchen. (We have a shortstop and, soon, a third baseman for that.) Jackson just needs to sit in the 7 hole and provide some thunder from the bottom of the lineup. He provides a ton of value there. If/when Almora develops the Cubs will have an interesting choice to make.

            • AmazGrace

              Absolutely Ted! I really believe in this kid for many reasons. BJax is the real deal. he is gonna work out the strike issues, and like Brett says. BAM!

        • Njriv

          I believe 4/11 careers home runs for Rizzo have been off left handers.

          • Flashfire

            This year, it’s 3 of 10, and a double is his only other XBH against lefties. Good at bats are more likely to show up in doubles and triples than home runs, because those HAVE to he hard hit balls. A home run can be a pop-up muscled out of the park.

            Going into today, he was slugging .328 against lefties and .487 against righties. (Today increased the gap.) That simply isn’t acceptable for a three hitter.

            This isn’t: let’s bash Anthony Rizzo and ride him out of town on a rail. This is just saying his performance has, in my mind, exposed very real weaknesses that he has to work on to be a legitimate major league first baseman.

            • AmazGrace

              Of course he has stuff to work on. I’m not putting him up there with Pujols. He is the best we have and I DO see him .300+(avg) for his career. Some might say I am to optimistic.

              • Flashfire

                Your comparison suggests you’re missing my point. I’m not saying that hard work and improvement is the difference between him having a Mark Grace career or a Matt Stairs career. I’m saying, if he doesn’t learn to hit lefties, the *best* he can hope for is to be one half of a platoon.

                • AmazGrace

                  Really? You can’t be serious.

                  • Flashfire

                    A starter cannot slug .300 against lefties. He looks overmatched. Watch the at-bats. When he doesn’t strike out (18% of the time), he’s hitting soft line drives like the first inning today. Significantly, his line drive percentage is 30% against righties and 15% against lefties.

                    Fangraphs breaks this down nicely. One of their stats is wRAA — how many extra runs a player produces over the replacement. Against a right handed pitcher, Rizzo produces 8.2 more runs than an average first baseman. Against a lefty, he produces 4.7 LESS than a replacement first baseman. That is WORSE than Jeff Baker (-1.8).

                    That must improve. He just can’t be a starting first baseman with his numbers against lefties. I hope he can. The concern is that the knock on him has always been that he struggles with lefties and — supposedly — the changes this season were to help address that.

                    • Drew7

                      Perhaps we should re-hash this argument once he gets a few more than 65 PA’s?

                    • Flashfire

                      Fair enough. However — just based on his approach — I’ll bet we’ll be having the same argument. This doesn’t appear to be a luck thing.

                    • AmazGrace

                      Fangraph stats can be very misleading.

            • fortyonenorth

              Cubs have faced a whole lot of righties and few lefties in the last six week, so you’re probably looking at a very small sample size.

  • hansman1982

    Volstad with back-to-back good outings? 1 excellent and 1 solid…is this allowed?

  • ry34

    stick a fork in camp

  • Zogie

    Brett Jackson has a higher OPS than Anthony Rizzo. .792 OPS to .791. Love Stats

  • Stinky Pete

    Len talked about my tweet on air today regarding Paleo. It’s the little things that make me happy!!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      What did you tell him regarding paleontology?

      • Stinky Pete

        That I dig it, maaaaaan.
        He mentioned Hunter Pence being on the Paleo or Caveman diet and I sent a tweet saying how well it has worked for me. And it was read on the air. Sweet!

  • Mysterious4th

    Who thought volstad would be on a winning streak?!

    • FFP


      • AmazGrace

        Could be on to something. Yes, FO has held fast in the “BIG V”

  • JulioZuleta

    Man, the Astros are really going all out to get the #1 overall pick for the next decade. Not sure how else they can explain hiring Kevin Goldstein for an actual baseball job. If I steal someone’s phone, get some scout’s numbers, and tweet half accurate scouting reports 1% of the time, can I get a job in major league baseball. Used to be decent, but he’s just awful now, at least Law gives 4-5 relevant tweets a day, Goldstein gives 1 a week, amidst a few thousand tweets about ice cream and mattresses. And going back a ways, he has been VERY very off on a lot of predictions he’s made about prospects. Hilarious hiring.

    • Assman22

      Heard Keith Law was in the running too, not joking….sadly….

      • JulioZuleta

        Law would have been infinitely better. He can be an ass sometimes, but he’s much more intelligent, and able to form his own opinions. Any time KG isn’t just regurgitating some scouts opinion he’s clueless. I’ve read his articles and listened to him podcast, they’re really realllly bad. 80% of the commenters on this site could provide more insight than he does. I really can’t believe the Astros hired him.

        • Flashfire

          I agree with this. However — at the risk of being called a Luhnow lover — I think he’s done a pretty good job of turning the team around so far. I’m willing to see how the move plays out. But — based solely on what I can see as a fan — it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

          • JulioZuleta

            I’m a big Luhnow fan myself. I think he’s going at it the right way by just tanking and really building from scratch. However, it’s too early to say any of the actual moves he’s made have been great. They have all been great in theory, but we’ll see what happens. I just can’t fathom having this buffoon in an actual front office.

            • Ben (BG2383)

              I take it you did not enjoy hearing about the #weirdneighbors. I think Kevin Goldstein was quite insightful and made himself very accessible to his followers and subscribers. I have no idea whether he will succeed with the Astros, but I enjoyed reading his material.

              • JulioZuleta

                I enjoyed that stuff when it was accompanied by useful info. He used to pass on scouts’ takes on guys (never really gives his own thoughts). After a while, it was literally 100-150 tweets a day about ice cream or mattresses, and ZERO substance.

                There was a day when I interrupted him in the middle of one of his useless rants, and asked him if I should buy tix to Peoria/KC for this weekend and if there was any chance all 3 of the Baez/Soler/Almora trio. His response? “No way Baez moves up this year, too many holes. Soler can MAYBE make it at Boise, and Almora should stay at rookie ball all year.” (paraphrased of course, twitter language made it a little different) anyways, the NEXT day BAez got promoted, a week later Soler (to Peoria of course, not Boise), and then Almora to Boise shortly thereafter. He basically called me an idiot for thinking that it would be Baez to Daytona by now, and Soler and Almora in Peoria. He’s not good enough to pull off the arrogant shit he does.

                • Ben (BG2383)

                  I must admit I got sucked in pretty hard on the mattress thing. I am still baffled by the mystery. Different strokes for different folks I suppose. I renewed BP for another year like a week ago and now he leaves. I will be interested to see if it gets better or worse.

    • TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

      Speaking of Mr. Law, have people seen his new post on Juan Carlos Paniagua? Always good to hear “experts” talking up Cubs’ s prospects; we need a little light in this time of darkness.

  • Jackalope

    BJax going an entire game without a K has to make the Enhanced Box Score, right?

  • Ramy16

    Nice win for the cubs and volstad.. Just found out that Jeff Baker was DFA..possible reunite?

    • hcs

      Probably going to reduce the value of the PTBNL’s in the trade, however.

      • cas-castro

        He probably is the ptbnl.

  • Assman22

    Kevin Goldstein just hired by the Astros as their Pro Scouting Coordinator….I should have applied as well….

  • Brett

    Due to extreme traffic, the EBS had been delayed indefinitely. But yay win.

    • Diesel

      I just told someone I know who is a giants fan that no matter what happens the rest of the series he gets no bragging rights because they lost to Volstad. If he brags about a win I am going to make sure to remind him they lost to Volstad.

  • Njriv

    So Jeff Baker got traded to the Braves.

    • cas-castro

      Well, now the braves will lose for sure …too many ex cubs ..nice

      • Luke

        Pretty sure the ex-Cubs thing died when Arizona won the World Series.

    • Eric

      tigers traded baker to the braves after just getting him? weird. but w/e.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    jeff baker the error maker got traded again because he does now and always will suck.

    • AmazGrace

      Yes, he does stink to high heaven. I never understood all the playing time he got.