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It’s the all-important rubber game between the Cubs and Astros. The Astros’ lineup is slightly more reminiscent of an actual, big league lineup with Jose Altuve (.341 OBP) and Jed Lowrie (.343) back at the top. The Cubs’ lineup is topped by Joe Mather (.255) and Darwin Barney (.300). So. Yeah.

Dave Sappelt’s boner last night didn’t get him benched, and Anthony Recker fills in for Anthony Rizzo at first base tonight (being named Anthony is a requisite to starting at first).

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (55-87) at Houston Astros (45-97), 7:05 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

Travis Wood (5-11, 4.42 ERA, 5.17 FIP)

versus

Fernando Abad (0-3, 5.30 ERA, 5.06 FIP)

Houston Astros Lineup

1. Jose Altuve, 2B

2. Jed Lowrie, SS

3. J.D. Martinez, LF

4. Justin Maxwell, CF

5. Matt Dominguez, 3B

6. Brandon Laird, 1B

7. Chris Snyder, C

8. Brandon Barnes, RF

9. Fernando Abad, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Joe Mather, CF

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Welington Castillo, C

6. Josh Vitters, 3B

7. Dave Sappelt, RF

8. Anthony Recker, 1B

9. Travis Wood, P

  • mudge

    Brett,
    Do you have any ideas on why Adrian Cardenas hasn’t had playing time? I just don’t get it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Played last night.

      But, to your question: no idea. He’s just 24, and was tearing it up at AAA when he was called up the first time. He should have drawn a few more starts. I suppose the only explanation I’ll accept is that his defense is only playable at second base (that is to say, in this hypothetical scenario, he’s a butcher everywhere else), and Sveum wasn’t going to bench Barney to play Cardenas more. His defense at third – in the very, very limited opportunities we’ve had to see him there – hasn’t looked atrocious, but it’s a lot easier for the coaches to see in practice, I’m sure.

      • Melrosepad

        Why not give him some chances at the corners then? He has played a little LF so give him a chance to take some time away from Mather, which would be a good thing.

        • Melrosepad

          Corners = Corner Outfield

        • DocPeterWimsey

          As Brett notes, Cardenas was hitting well in AAA; however, he was hitting well for a middle infielder (high BA and high OBP without particularly high slugging). You really need slugging from the corner outfielders unless they can provide ridiculously high OBP and you have above average slugging from some of the “skill” positions.

          • Melrosepad

            I was thinking more as a way to get him the occasional at bat and give him more versatility off the bench

    • art

      everything I’ve ever read on him says they’ve tried him at almost every position with 2B being his best, and he’s not that good there. Brett is right on.

  • João Lucas

    Not one left-handed player in the Cubs’ lineup. We haven’t seen that in a while.

  • cjdubbya

    I am sure this joke’s been made a bunch of times, but the Lastros are putting Abad pitcher out there tonight.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha…

    • Professional_High_A

      +5

  • bwitty

    Could someone explain FIP for me? And what is a good one?

  • gratefulled

    SUPER JOE!!!!!

  • Luke D

    Cardenas for leadoff man…sometime this year…

    • ssckelley

      heck no, Mather has nailed down the leadoff spot. Hopefully the Cubs will lock him down to a long term contract before another team tries to snatch him up.

      • TWC

        …with a no-trade clause!

        • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

          Reports are saying 54 years, $912M with partial NTC…says he just doesn’t want to be traded to A’s and made part of a crappy movie…

          • Brick Thompson

            that movie was excellent ya twat

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              hey Mug Runcher – dramatic effect…

  • Featherstone

    At least the cardinals just got swept by the padres. Man does that feel good right now.

  • fortyonenorth

    Wood’s looking like an ace tonight.

  • Njriv

    Soriano gets massive props for that catch but don’t over look Barney’s alertness by backing up the over throw of the cut-off man by Soriano to complete the double play.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      eh, almost any 2nd baseman would have done that, especially after it became clear that there would not be a play at 2nd base. After all, Barney was hardly going far out of his range: he was already at 2nd waiting for a possible attempt to get the batter at 2nd.

      What Barney did do well was alter his momentum to make the throw to first. That was tougher than it looked.

    • João Lucas

      Agreed. It turned out to be fortunate that Castro couldn’t reach that ball.

    • Professional_High_A

      Soriano working for that gold glove

  • art

    no way.

  • Fastball

    Um Cardenas could probably hit for as much power as our two outfielders that we played all year except for Soriano. To say any player on this team shouldn’t have played because someone else was better is a joke. Soriano is the only player to have a good offensive and defensive year. Barney great defense and probably a good year for him offensively, Castro better on defense and probably would have had a real good year offensively if it wasn’t for people trying to change him so damned much. 200 hits a year and they want to f him all up. Rizzo good defense, offense jury’s out til next years allstar break. Maybe DeJesus is having a career year for himself okay.. so what.. the rest suck and that’s about all you can say for them.

    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

      Ok, who would you start Cardenas over?

      DeJesus who was signed as a free agent and is a plus defender (similar SLG)
      Soriano – you are in agreement here
      Cardenas – FO has a weird mancrush on him but reports have Cardenas as a poor defender at third…
      LaHair/Rizzo – Not gonna happen
      CF – He is barely capable of handling 2B let alone CF
      Castro – not gonna happen ever…Castro is a plus defender and a better bat than Cardenas
      Barney – Cardenas’ minor league numbers say he is a much better offensive force than Barney but DarBar is a Gold Glove caliber fielder…

      There is not a single position on the field where Cardenas is clearly superior at. You can say he would be better at third than Valbuena but Valbuena has better numbers, offensively, at Iowa than Cardenas.

      • Bill

        Why couldn’t Cardenas have been given a shot at 3B or RF? DeJesus could have played CF. The team was awful, losing as a given based on what Theo allowed to be put on the field this year. So, why not see if Cardenas can at least be a short term answer at 3B? The man crush with Stewart is amazing since the guy hasn’t done really anything since his rookie year and he had a bad wrist coming into the season. Valbuena? They elect to not give Cardenas a shot because of Valbuena? Cardenas might be lousy but why not give him a shot instead of a couple pinch hit at bats a week. Some of the personnel decisions by Theo/Jed, especially in regards to the bullpen and the bench, have been baffling to say the least.

  • art

    Barney great defense and probably a good year for him offensively, Soriano good offensive and probably a good year for him defensively.

  • ssckelley

    I do not understand the man crush for Cardenas. He does not hit for a lot of power, only average speed, and does not field any position but second base well and no way is he better than Barney. They are using Cardenas in the role he is destined to play, a backup infielder and pinch hitter.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Why wouldn’t you want to give a 24 year old that’s never had an OBP under .350 and never had an OPS under .760 in a single professional season, a chance to prove that, instead of just assuming that?

  • Ben Peoria Cub’s Fan

    Jed and Theo will probably have Barney played as much as possible for the remainder of the season. Increasing his errorless streak and increasing his offseason trade value. They will then play Cardenas or whomever they think they can turn into another trade piece. These gentlemen think of these men as assets and have man crushes for no one. Just one fan’s opinion.

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