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Chris Volstad will keep trying to make the Cubs’ offseason decision on him difficult.

Game Info

Pittsburgh Pirates (73-71) at Chicago Cubs (57-88), 1:20 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

Jeff Locke (0-1, 4.11 ERA, 4.14 FIP)

versus

Chris Volstad (3-10, 5.99 ERA, 4.73 FIP)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Neil Walker, 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Garrett Jones, RF

5. Gaby Sanchez, 1

6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

7.  Clint Barmes, SS

8. Rod Barajas, C

9. Jeff Locke, 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. Dave Sappelt, RF

8. Luis Valbuena, 3B

9. Chris Volstad, P

  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

    Odds that Soriano hits a solo shot today to give him 30/100? Very good.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      About 60% of PAs are with the bases empty, and just a slightly smaller proportion of HRs are solo shots. (Pitchers prone to giving up long balls often are prone to letting men on base.)

      So, the odds are ever in your favor here!

  • Danny B

    How many games is Barney at? He’s barely getting any coverage (aside from here- thanks Brett) for what’s definitely the brightest spot of the 2012 season.

    • Chris S

      130 games.. last error was April 17th in Miami. I agree, his defense has been a bright spot.

    • Mysterious4th

      I wish there was a ton more media about it. They had major coverage of ethier’s 20 plus game hitting streak and he was only half way to the record. I say we all start blowing up ESPN and MLB network using every social media outlet possible!

      Barney deserves a gold glove. His defense is topping everybody even Phillips (who has won gold gloves st 2B) so if he is topping him it should be a no brainer!

      Oh I wonder if he has a clause in his contract about getting a bonus for winning or placing in the top 3, I’ve seen similar clauses with other players for MVP, Cy Young, ect….

      • Chris S

        Barney doesn’t really have a “contract” in the sense that you are thinking off. He hasn’t been in the league long enough to have anything more than a here’s-your-worth type contract.

        I agree though.. It sickens me how, especially ESPN, has turned into the Red Sox/Yankees channel. I don’t watch MLB Network enough to really know.. But ESPN has lost my baseball news loyalty a long time ago… About the only time I watch ESPN is if the Cubs are on it. At least Joe Morgan is gone…

  • RY34

    oh thank god joe mather is in the lineup, everything is right with the world now! good god.

  • mudge

    100 rbi for Soriano!

    • gutshot5820

      I think there is a good chance that Soriano will get traded this summer with 30+ homers and 100+ RBI’s. During the season, it would have been difficult for scouts on teams to risk their reputation and recommend to a GM, we have to get this guy he can help our team. I’m sure they didn’t want to be the guy that recommends Soriano and have him get injured or bust. Now the conversation may turn to, how come you did not recommend him, he could have helped our team.

  • Danny B

    Is it sad that I still worry Phillips will get the Gold Glove? I mean I don’t assign as much value to the awards as I wan to, but if Barney doesn’t get it I will write it off altogether and just name my own GG’s every year.

    Sidenote, I think Josh Reddick should win it in RF AL this year. Anyone out there better than him?

    • JR

      Phillips will win the gold glove. It is absolutely an offensive/popularity award. Why else has Jeter won it several times? He sucks defensively..

      • Carew

        Jeter sucks defensively? Are we thinkin of the same guy?

        • bbmoney

          Derek Jeter? Yes, he’s not very good defensively, especially now when he has next to no range. He’s the prime example of the gold glove being a popularity contest and not about who’s really the best defender.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Put another way, Derek Jeter’s statues will retain both his likeness and his range.

            • MoneyBoy

              ^ Oh Doc, you plain outdone yo’self son!! This is funny!!

        • JR

          I am thinking of the dude that plays shortstop for the Yankees and acts a porn star with most of the Hollywood women in the offseason. He is the most overrated Defensive dude ever. Sure, he’s got that cool jump throw in the hole, but his range is garbage..

          • Drew7

            Right. Most of those jump throws he makes are on balls most AS are camped behind.

    • Patrick G

      Jeter is still defensively very good. I live in NY and watch the Yankees all the time and he is no way overrated

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Ah, well, you should watch some other shortstops. They actually move more than 3′ to either side to field balls.

        Seriously, Jeter’s range is (based on any metric or observation) always among the worst for MLB SS’s. He has converts approximately 90% of the plays than a league-average SS converts and only about 80% of the plays that guys like Castro convert. However, Jeter more than makes up for it with his bat, so it’s a net gain for the Yanks.

      • http://Casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        He has an immense amount of talent but, generally, anyone who makes that many “spectacular” plays does so because they have terrible range and have to make up for it by diving, jumping, sumersaulting their way to the ball, I.e. Sam Fuld

        • The Dude Abides

          Comparing Fuld’s and Jeter’s athletic ability is just wrong on so many levels.

          “generally, anyone who makes that many “spectacular” plays does so because they have terrible range and have to make up for it by diving, jumping, sumersaulting their way to the ball” is also a ridicules statement, how about among a few SS’s with a history of gold gloves whose range can’t be challenged IE Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, Tony Fernández? I hope when Castro is 37 he is still producing at Jeter’s level (assuming he gets there someday).

          Out of curiosity how would you rate Darwin Barney’s range?

          • hansman1982

            Let’s just say that out of 100 plays at SS that Jeter has to do that god-awful jump throw on, Barney would be able to plant and throw on 98 of them.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              And on the other two, Barney (or Castro, for that matter) could set up a deck chair, drink a beer and get through a third of Anna Karenina while waiting for the ball.

              However, I think that Fuld (like Ozzie Smith) is one of the exceptions to your “spectacular but not good” rule. Fuld does have crazy range: he might even top Brett Gardner. In his case, I think that you get a lot of spectacular plays simply because you get so many plays.

              Unfortunately, Fuld is such a weak hitter that he still generates a negative WAR on most metrics: other LFers are boppers, after all, and it’s almost impossible to make up 20 HR with your glove.

        • Mat B

          Wow. I never thought I’d see anyone taking shots at Fuld’s defense. He’s got a good arm and catches everything within a 10 acre radius.

  • mudge

    Barney uses a Fridigaire gas range, and, while it’s not the best on the market, it’s good durable option.

    • Drew7

      Nice

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