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turner fieldThe Cubs head down to Atlanta to take on the Braves, and we’ll get our first regular season look at Scott Feldman. He had an exceedingly rough Spring, though he was always the first to caution that the results really weren’t reflective of how he felt he was throwing. We’ll see tonight. I still like Feldman’s upside.

We’ll get to see the massive platoon lineup again tonight, as the Cubs face lefty Mike Minor. It didn’t work last time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good long-term idea, given the roster.

For those of you who don’t have CSN+ or MLB.tv, you can catch tonight’s game on MLB Network.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (2-1) at Atlanta Braves (2-1), 6:30 CT on CSN+, MLBN.

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

Scott Feldman (0-0, -.– ERA)

versus

Mike Minor (0-0, -.– ERA)

Atlanta Braves Lineup

1. Andrelton Simmons, SS

2. Jason Heyward, RF

3. Justin Upton, LF

4. Freddie Freeman, 1B

5. B.J. Upton, CF

6. Dan Uggla, 2B

7. Juan Francisco, 3B

8. Evan Gattis, C

9. Mike Minor, 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. Scott Feldman, P

  • Ben (BG2383)

    I will be at the game Sunday, cannot wait! The Braves look tough this year. Maybe Minor will be inconsistent tonight and Cubbies can steal one. I have 0 confidence in the lineup other than our 2,3,4, and 6 hitters :(

  • Jason

    Hopefully the warmer weather in Atlanta should get us some production out of Soriano.

  • Kenster

    I hate the Hairston and Schierholtz platoon. It might look better on paper but I’m just not a fan of Hairston. Other than an average year where he showed some good pop last year he hasn’t been much of a player in his career and he hasn’t proven me wrong since the start of spring training. I hope he does one day but I would rather see Schierholtz everyday. He’s far underrated and I think he brings more to the table every game. Sorry just a ramble needed to get off the chest

    • Mike

      I’m with you on Schierholtz. I think he should be starting everyday in right field…or at least 140 games or so. I think he should only sit against lefties he has had zero luck against over the years. Other than that, just a day off, as needed for rest. Plus, he’s got that great throwing arm: strong and dead on accurate…he can save some runs with that arm, if he’d play more often.

      • Kenster

        Definitely agree! He’s never got much of a chance to prove himself so I believe he’s kind of got a chip on his shoulder since he’s got more of a chance to play.

        • Mike

          I think he wants to prove himself, too. Interestingly, he’s actually batted well against lefties earlier in his career, and, for the past 3 years, he’s hit well with runners in scoring position .277/.372/.367 and, with runners in scoring position with 2 outs: .265/.353/.382. At the start of the off-season, I was hoping they’d sign this guy. Hope he plays with the Cubs for the next couple years…I’d rather not see him get “flipped for prospects”. It’s nice to have that arm in right field. When was the last time we had an arm like that in right field, 1992/Dawson? I think so.

          • Mike

            For those that haven’t checked it out, you can see highlights of Schierholtz’s arm/throws/accuracy on youtube, and it’s called: Sooner or later Nate’s gonna gun you down.

      • MightyBear

        I agree.

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      I agree, let Schierholtz’s start the majority of games at RF…

      • John (the other one)

        Even in a strict platoon, he will.

  • cubmig

    If—as said somewhere—the Cubs need to get off to a fast start, then they need to win this one to set a series-win pace. More important, Feldman needs to put his signature on this one to show his ST is nothing to worry about…… A win cures all doubts.

  • Early-Byrd

    Hey Brett, love the blog… Long time reader first time contributor. Any thought on not posting the final score in your headlines? That way those that are recording the game but love to read your other articles, before they get a chance to watch at home, won’t have the score spoiled for them. Thanks! Keep up the good work!

  • waittilthisyear

    feldman. yikes. brett, you theory earlier re: the rotation set up the way it is to give feldman a better chance to succeed is sound. however, i think my theory about the conditions in which feldman will succeed is more sound, and it involves a “21 jump street” style infiltration onto a high school baseball team. preferably one in a weak conference

  • Kubphan82

    Maybe Wood was moved to 3rd in the rotation as opposed to behind Feldman, is because, Wood is the better pitcher… Just a thought. It might have something to do with the weather, but Wood was (inconsistently) good last year… A couple horrible starts but quality for the most part… I’m all for some success from Feldman tonight but I think this is where he simply falls in the rotation.

  • another JP

    Hope I’m wrong but I can totally see a scenario where Feldman doesn’t make it out of the third inning. Maybe that shutout against Philly put Atlanta into a funk and they don’t snap out of it until the sixth inning tonight.

    • EB

      Agreed. I have a feeling Feldman is going to get shelled tonight. Hope he proves me wrong!

  • Die hard

    This type of Cubs lineup is so predictable and beatable —- think outside the box and put Feldman 7th and Soriano 9th …. Lets see Atlanta game plan that lineup …. like a Football offense and defense scheme you need to move guys around and would preserve Sorianos knees with one less at bat

    • Patrick W.

      This is a fantastic idea… I mean with only 22 plate appearances in his MLB history, it’s just too small a sample size to know if Feldman wouldn’t produce more than Soriano.

      • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

        I’ve always thought my troll detector to be pretty good, but with Die hard I have, just, no idea!

        • DarthHater

          Bah. You are confusing being a troll with thinking outside the box. :-P

          • Patrick W.

            Personally, when I find myself “thinking outside the box” I realize I probably need a bigger box.

            … that’s what she said

    • DarthHater

      The Cubs need to draw more BBs. I suggest an all-midget lineup!

      • Mike

        Good idea…we can start with an infielder midget…Logan Watkins.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Watkins is somewhere in the 6′, 6’1″ range.

  • North Side Irish

    Baez with a two run homer…

  • ETS
  • ETS

    well that’s not the best start you could hope for.

  • Ivy Walls

    HOLY COW, game on MLBN first televised game I am able to watch out here at the foot of Pikes Peak.

  • unccubsfan

    I’m having to watch the game on Fox Sports South here in North Carolina. It’s maddening having to listen to homers like Chip Caray and FSS’s “color analyst.” These guys are an embarrassment to sports announcers worldwide. I think many Cubs fans would appreciate Len Kasper more if they had to listen to these guys everyday.

    • Mike

      As a Cubs fan, I wish I could side with you, but I think Len Kasper is a dud. He’s unbelievably safe and boring.

      • unccubsfan

        I agree that Len is a bit safe. But I enjoy his input on stats, especially sabermetrics. But what I appreciate the most is that he and Deshaies (and Brenly before he departed for AZ) do their homework before a game. For example, Chip Caray just erroneously said that Cubs bullpen pitchers were roughed up in their series against the Pirates because they have up 4 ER in 7 IP. If he would have taken a quick look at the 3 box scores, he would have noticed that all 4 runs were given up by Carlos Marmol. These are the kinds of mistakes that Len Kasper doesn’t make.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    So far, 37 pitches in 2 IP, 3 Hits, 1 Run. Looks like we’ll see the bullpen work tonight!

  • Mike

    That line-up vs. lefties is working out well, eh Sveum?

    • Mike

      At least journeyman Gonzalez can do something.

      • Mike

        Way to get that runner over, Feldman. Welcome to the National League, where we like it when you can do that. Not that any of our other guys can do that. But, just sayin’.

        • Mike

          Woohoo….Sappelt, Hairston and Lillibridge are hitting the lefties really well so far.

          • Mike

            Maybe Gonzalez should stay with the big club after Barney comes back, if he continues to actually hit, instead of Lillibridge, who, ahem, is not.

        • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

          When you have a runner already in scoring position with 1 out, there’s no reason to bunt him over, because a hit/deep fly is a run.

          • Mike

            In this scenario, though, we had a pitcher, who, until this year, had always been in the American League, and, we had a guy on second. I suppose Feldman could have gotten a hit, but, I’d rather see him bunt, even with one out. At least that at-bat would have accomplished at least getting a runner over. I see your point, though….it he gets a hit, we probably score a run.

  • Blank

    Left-handed pitching just drops dick on us.

    Learn to grind out an at bat, Cubs. Y’all have warning track power this early in the season, think line drives.

  • Mike

    “And now, batting .400 for the Chicago Cubs, 2nd Baseman Alberto Gonzalez!”

  • Mike

    Hairston makes contact! Lemme guess, he will be kinda like Steve Balboni….he will either strike out or hit a homer every time he is up this year. Just a guess. But, yes, I am glad we are finally on the board.

  • Mike

    Lillibridge! 11 ABs, 4 strike outs and no hits. Ya think he’s pressing a little? At this point, until Barney is back, play Valbuena at 3rd against all lefties and righties and Gonzalez at 2nd. Lillibridge can pinch hit in extra innings only.

    • Mike

      That, or just friggin’ sign Chone Figgins. I know most have not been for signing Chone, but, hey, what have we got to lose with Lillibridge not exactly tearing the cover off the ball….?

  • Die hard

    Meanwhile the Royals have 10 runs and counting

  • Die hard

    13 run pool winner if have Royals …. Our sluggers should be embarrassed

  • Carew

    Im gonna say that was a failed hit-and-run…Valbuena sucks

  • Mike

    I’d like to start a discussion, if Brett doesn’t mind. I’d like suggestions from everyone regarding the Cubs’ present and future. Any suggestions are welcome, whether it be trades, draft suggestions, call-ups from the minors, etc. Everyone wants the Cubs to win. i think a roundtable, of sorts, would be a good idea.

  • Mike

    Well, Rondon and Gonazlez looked good, and Feldman wasn’t horrible.

  • Mike

    One of the things I love about being a Cub fan is this: for me, every Cub that put on a Cub uniform is always Cub. From Andre Dawson, to Ryne Sandberg, to Mark Grace, to Dave Clark, to Jon Lieber, to Moises Alou, to Rod Beck (RIP), to Geovany Soto, to Starlin Castro, to Alfonso Soriano, to Brent Lillibridge, to Nate Schierholtz to Steve Christmas…they are, or were, Cubs. Cubs fans are the best, because we always believe in our team. That’s why we are so passionate about our Cubs. We want them to achieve, and we want them to win, no matter what the odds. We believe in whatever team they put on the field, because we have faith. Our team resides on the North Side, in a residential neighborhood, full of people, politics and possibility. Possibility is what it is to be a Cubs fan. I am a die hard Cubs fan, since 1985. Not because of a division championship Ofrom 1984, but because of Harry Caray an Stone, because of Jody Davis’ stance at the plate, because of a grab of a line-drive grab by Ryne Sandberg, because Davey Lopes played the infield and outfield, because Shawon Dunston thru so hard and Mark Grace would reach for his wide throw and barely make the catch….he would do the splits to make the catch, because Andre Dawson would throw out a player at 1st after the player hit a single to right and Andre would still try and throw him out, because Moises Alou was upset over the Bartman grab, because Rod Beck had heart, because Luis Salazar would stretch his arms out before, and between, an at-bat, because, Jim Edmonds wanted to keep playing, because Gary Gaetti wanted to keep playing, because Starlin Castro shined in spite of playing only at AA ball before being called up, because Lou Pinella wanted to bring a championship to Wrigley Field, because Mark Grace rallied the fans at Wrigley in 1989 to enjoy the moment, because there’s nothing like living far away from Chicago and, getting off of the “L”, and getting on a bus in Wrigleyville, full of houses, and walking along and suddenly seeing Wrigley Field smack in the middle of the North Side, seemingly out of place, but belonging there at the same time, established there some 100-odd years ago, a field that is meant to stand the test of time, full of history and memory…a field that has seen many-a-fan experience their first Cubs game, seeing our heroes wanting a championship almost as much as the fans want it. I experienced my first Cubs game in 1987, thanks to my Dad, in 1987, who let me see two Cubs games, thanks to a rain-out, and I got to see Andre Dawson smash a home run vs. the Braves in August vs. the Braves. Cubs fans are the best. The reason Cubs fans are the best is because, to me, they have heart and soul. Where else, in a big city, or, the so-called Second City, can you root for a team that has lost so much, but wants to gain so much, that you embrace a complete stranger in a hug over a home run by your favorite team? It’s not New York, it’s not Los Angeles, it’s Chicago. Home of the best hot dogs and cheesy fries on the planet. Home of the biggest heart and the most loyal of people. Cubs fans.

    • W_Francisco

      ….and one day soon all of these memories will come rushing back in one instant in ecstatic glee as our minds begin to realize that finally, FINALLY, the Cubs are world series champions. Makes that moment all the better. No other team can share this feeling, we are truly one of a kind.

      • Kyle

        Or like millions of Cubs fans before us, we’ll die without ever having seen it.

      • Mike

        We are one of a kind.

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