pnc parkThe Cubs face lefty Wandy Rodriguez this evening in Pittsburgh for game number two on the season, and the lineup is dramatically changed, as you can see below.

There is so much I love about this lineup, though little of it is tied to the actual players in it. I’m very glad to see that Sveum is over his reticence to treat David DeJesus as a platoon player. DeJesus is great, but he’s had a terrible split against lefties for a very long time, and it’s not like his glove in center is going to save any runs. There’s no reason not to platoon him with Sappelt – something we’ve tentatively expected to happen – and I’m glad Sveum is going to follow through with it.

I’m also glad that it looks like we can count on platoons in CF, RF, and 3B. With a weak crop of starters, there’s no sense not to platoon to try and give yourself a teeny-tiny edge. The A’s have been doing it successfully for years, and it’s one of the ways – at the margins – that a team can surprise.

I’m also glad that it looks like Darwin Barney, when he returns, will remain at the bottom of the order, even against lefties. Barney is a great defender, and I’m eager for him to return, but he’s not much of a threat with the stick. No sense in moving him around when you’ve got platooners and righties up top who are a much better fit to see more at bats.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (1-0) at Pittsburgh Pirates (0-1), 6:05 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

Edwin Jackson (0-0, -.– ERA)


Wandy Rodriguez (0-0, -.– ERA)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Garrett Jones, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B

6. Neil Walker, 2B

7. Russell Martin, C

8. Clint Barmes, SS

9. Wandy Rodriguez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dave Sappelt, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Scott Hairston, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Brent Lillibridge, 3B

8. Alberto Gonzalez, 2B

9. Edwin Jackson, P

  • Rebuilding

    Svuem is giving me hope even though its still early. Yanking Marmol and playing a full platoon lineup

    • Werner

      I very much agree. The yanking of Marmol in the first game was wonderful to see.

      Also, where is the optimism coming from on this Pirates lineup? Yeah, McCutchen is great but who else? I’m not paying as much attention I used to but it sure seems like a blah group of players.

      • BABIP (MichCubFan)

        Yanking Marmol shows that we are trying to win games this year. That way we can see where we are in the standings at the all-star break and go from there.

        Last year was more about letting players play, make mistakes and either have them learn from it, or use it to evaluate which ones are staying, going, or not going to hack it. Who knows if that is going to start up again in a few months or not. If we are not looking good at the all-star break it will probably be that way again.

  • waittilthisyear

    2-0 boys and girls, whaddya say?

  • Kyle

    First test of our offseason strategy. Edwin Jackson, our big FA pitcher on the mound. Our Platoons! lineup gets to try to tee off on a very mediocre left.

    When you look at the splits, it’s a pretty solid lineup. Even Gonzalez has a .700+ OPS against lefties.

    • Cub Fan Dan

      Hairston with a 1.271 OPS vs Rodriguez in 19 AB. I like that!

  • Rob

    Agree this is good to see. There are only so many things you can realistically judge Svuem on with the rosters he has been given the past two seasons, and the willingness to be flexible is one of them. Also loved him yanking Marmol yesterday – I feel it would have been more damaging if he blew the lead and wasted Shark’s gem the very first day of a new season, than it would have been beneficial to let him *try* and save face by finishing the game for the save to preserve trade value.

  • mysterious4th

    I am happy he is going with a line up that gives us more hope against lefties!

  • another JP

    EJax 4-0 with a 3.03 ERA career mark against the Pirates. Along with the platoon, me likey.

    • TC

      Pirates were also a bottom-4 team against sliders last season, and Edwin Jackson has one of the best sliders in baseball. Should be a really fun game for him

  • MightyBear

    Don’t want to be a buzz killington but the Cubs always struggle against Rodriguez. He killed us in Houston. I think the Cubs have generally had a harder time with “junk” pitchers than flame throwers. I don’t know why.

    • wv23

      7-7, with a 3.74 ERA. For his career, he’s 85-88 with a 4.03 ERA.

      Just a touch better (and the Cubs, generally speaking, are just a touch worse than your average team).

  • Jp3

    This lineup… Ugggg. Wake me in 2014

  • W_Francisco

    I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Barney’s bat

    • mudge

      I miss his balls.

  • DONNIE621

    Rodriguez… he is usually tough on the Cub’s. I hated when they played the Astros and had to face him. But this is a new year.

  • Cub Fan Dan

    This is also 1/2 of Jim Deshaies’ Barbara Walters pitching matchup – Wahndy Wodwiguez vs Wandy Wolf.

    • Leroy


    • Danny Ballgame

      Just spit beer on the computer, damn you Bawbwa wahlthaz!!!

    • Wilbur

      Good one …

  • Jason

    I love this lineup. Hairston gives you some pop out of the 5 spot, and Dave Sappelt kills lefties. I’m also glad to see Castillo still in there.

  • http://ODU Greenroom

    Rodriguez was always a “good to decent” “home” park pitcher vs. the road. Especially in Houston and now, Pitt. Should be interesting.

  • Cheryl

    Good lineup. Glad to Castro second followed by Rizzo and Sori. And he’s putting Gonzales in rather than sitting him.

  • ISU Birds

    I’m looking forward to seeing Sappelt I have unreasonable optimism for him.

    • Rebuilding

      I agree. Used properly (mainly against lefties) I think Sappelt can be a good 4th outfielder on the next good Cubs team

  • Die hard

    Barney is the heart and soul if this team unappreciated til he’s gone

  • Dave

    Cubs haven’t started 2-0 since 1995??? Wow…

    (Side note,accidentally switched to the MLB Extra Innings standard-def channel instead of HD, wow standard-def sucks)

  • EB

    The all right handed lineup just isn’t the same without Super Joe manning CF and batting lead off! lol

  • djaws

    this lineup is pretty sad.

  • gutshot5820

    My observation, the Cubs are not good.

  • someday…2015?

    Not a bad debut by Rondon.

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    Did Soriano just claw back from a 0-2 count in a clutch 9 pitch at bat? I’m impressed.

  • Mike

    Hairston looking not-so-good against Wandy.

  • Die hard

    Paul Maholm looks good and Alex White needs Tommy John …. There is a 3 way trade there for the Cubs involving Marmol

  • Mike

    Way to go, Hairston & Lillibridge….nice lack of clutch hitting.Both of really need to get called out on strikes? Yikes.

    • Danny Ballgame

      Same old shit. Long season ahead of us

  • John (the other one)

    Wish Jackson could have had a few of those calls. Hairston, especially, got screwed.

  • Mike

    Very side bottom of line-up. Maybe 99 losses this year, vs. 101

    • Mike

      Sad, not side.

  • morgan

    makes me sick to think how many bums the cubs have in the starting lineup, that lillibridge at bat was terrible, the dude had 5 good pitches to put in play and couldn’t do it

    • David

      That Lillibridge at bat is an odd thing to criticize. It’s one of the few good things that have been done this game and one of the few good things he’ll do all year.

      • Kyle

        Failing to capitalize on a bunch of hittable pitches isn’t a good at-bat, even though it makes it look like you are battling.

  • Westbound Willie

    Another perfect play by soriano. His incredible d stays intact.

  • Westbound Willie

    Yea taking strike three right down broadway was totally awesome.