If the Cubs beat the Pirates again today, I’m thinking their goose is cooked – it would also drop the Pirates to .500 on the year, which is kind of sad for them and their fans. Shrug.

We finally get our first look at waiver pick-up/Jeff Samardzija fill-in Jason Berken today. He’ll get a few starts to end the year before likely being lumped in with a huge mass of 4th/5th starter candidates going into 2013 (assuming he survives the Winter on the roster).

Game Info

Pittsburgh Pirates (72-71) at Chicago Cubs (57-87), 12:05 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

Wandy Rodriguez (10-13, 3.72 ERA, 3.91 FIP)


Jason Berken (First big league start this year; he had one relief appearance with the Orioles)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

(The Pirates are slow with their official lineup, so, for now, this is their lineup from yesterday.)

1. Brock Holt, 2B

2. Starling Marte, LF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Garrett Jones, RF

5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B

6. Michael McKenry, C

7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

8. Clint Barmes, SS

9. Wandy Rodriguez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Joe Mather, CF

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Josh Vitters, 3B

8. Dave Sappelt, RF

9. Jason Berken, P

  • Rcleven

    Come on Pirates you can’t be that bad can you?

  • cubchymyst

    I wonder if Mather got the start because Jackson is sore from the game yesterday.

    • Rcleven

      The Wandy factor.

  • Kevin

    How long will it take for the Cubs to have a top 5 overall farm system? I know Cubs fans are not used to “Rebuilding” and are not really patient waiting to field a competitive major league team. Realistically, are we talking another 2-3 years or 4-5 years?

    • Assman22

      Cubs are a fringe top 10 farm system as of today. They’re on the right track but have a ways to go still and it’s really a shame they botched this whole Garza situation thus far, otherwise they may have been Top 7 by today. Regardless, the timetable is so hard to tell because of the unknown…

      It’ll depend where they end up in the draft and how well the draft is stocked.

      It’ll depend on if/when they move Garza, Soriano, LaHair, Marmol, and perhaps DeJesus this offseason or the next deadline and what they’re able to get in return.

      It’ll depend on the FA’s they sign this offseason and if they can get someone to produce like Maholm and get a Maholm-like return.

      If most of these were to work out in our favor at least somewhat, I’d say 2 years until they’re top 5 and 3 years max at this rate, barring any setbacks. I say two years because I think by then Baez, Soler, Sczcur, Almora, Villanueva, and perhaps a few others including the upcoming top 3 draft pick in 2013 will all be MLB-ready, again barring any setbacks.

      • JR

        Yeah they really f’d the Garza situation badly. For me the way that was handled was the most frustrating part for this season. And thats saying a lot with the Dempster saga and the terrible on field play..

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The Dempster saga contributed to the Garza situation. Market place rules say that if you have two commodities with the same high demand and limited supply, then you get the most net return by selling the 2nd best one first and the best one second.

          (Why this is, exactly, I don’t know. However, I’ve heard it many times.)

          Hoyer & Epstein were simply following this rule: after all, what were the odds that Garza would get hurt?

          • JR

            That makes sense. I guess its just really bad luck. I thought they should have traded him in the offseason though.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              There simply might not have been any good offers for Garza over the winter. These things have a way of getting out (old adages about every truth being a rumor but only 1 in 10 rumors being a truth probably apply here), and we never even read any “If the Cubs had taken X’s offer over the winter, then Garza’s injury would not have mattered” reports.

              • Kyle

                It’s almost impossible to believe that a pitcher of Garza’s age, ability and contract situation would not have garnered any serious offers.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  It does seem improbable, but we also never read about the team(s) that dodged the bullet. Sure, the discussion might have been kept completely silent: but in other cases of “non-sellers remorse,” it seems like we wind up hearing about the deal(s) that might have been.

                • Drew7

                  Agreed, Kyle.

                  Sure, there was no way of knowing Garza would get hurt, but it was certainly always a possibility. That, coupled with him having come off the best season of his career, in his prime, with 2 yrs of control, makes it very hard to believe that there werent some pretty good returns to be had this past offseason.

                  I just think it would have taken an outstanding season from him this year for his value to have increased over what it was this past winter.

          • Assman22

            Correct, but what I meant is more based on the thought that Dempster was going to be traded by the deadline regardless. Garza was on the block since the Winter Meetings in December and they balked at all offers from then until the end of July. Garza still has a nice trade value, no doubt, but it has taken a hit since the Winter Meetings. With that being said, there will be plenty of suitors with nice trade chips available for Garza…Texas, Boston, KC, Yanks, Cincy, etc.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Garza was on the block since the Winter Meetings in December and they balked at all offers from then until the end of July.

              But that strikes me as a contradictory statement! If a guy is on the block, then a team might reject an initial offer, but they negotiate. We did read a couple of times that the Cubs price on Garza was considered to be really high, so obviously some teams kicked the tire. However, it read as if people were asking “what would it take to get him?” and walking away after hearing a basic price.

              • Assman22

                Nothing contradictory there. They balked at every offer from the Winter Meetings up until the July deadline thinking they could get a better offer but never did. Now he’s lost a year of team control, had a worse season in 2012 than in 2011, has only one year of team control left, and even got injured.

                I don’t mean to sound argumentative, I just think the FO could have handled this better, that’s all. Outside of this and a few minor squabbles, I love everything the FO has done thus far.

                • scorardpaul

                  OK Assman22….
                  what would you be saying right now if the earlier offers had been shit, and they made a trade??
                  What if Garza was having the best year of his life, with no injuries, and they traded him at the deadline for the best set of prospects ever???
                  There is no way to see the future until it becomes the past. They were only doing the best they could do with the information that they had at the time. It is always easier to sit in front of your computer and make fun of stuff that other people do than it is to sctualy do something.

                  • Bill

                    This is one of the few things I think Theo made the right move. His price tag for Garza should have been high considering what we gave up for him and how he’s pitched.

                    They never had a chance to get into good trade discussions before the deadline because of the Dempster fiasco (not Theo’s fault) and the injury to Garza.

                    No teams going to give them much for Garza until he pitches. If they can’t trade him during the offseason his value goes down because of the comp pick they can get for Garza (if Garza signs a FA deal w/another team).

                    I’d rather see Theo do a fullcourt press to try and get Garza signed to an extension. The injury should help make it more cost friendly for the Cubs. The Cubs need frontline caliber starters and they don’t have any in the system who are above low A ball (Vizcaino might be one but he’s coming off surgery and may not have the durability to become a starter).

  • Featherstone

    Whats Barney’s errorless streak at right now? and how many more does he need for the ML record?

    • RoughRiider

      I think he’s at 129. Record is144.