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turner fieldYesterday’s Scott Feldman debut didn’t go so well. Hopefully today’s Carlos Villanueva debut will be better.

The Cubs will be facing young (former) stud righty Julio Teheran, who has not been able to break through at the big league level. He’s reportedly re-crafted his approach this year, and I heard many people say he looked good in the Spring. Given the Cubs’ offensive woes, he might be able to extend it into the regular season.

Brent Lillibridge gets a day off to clear his head after a mighty slow start. That’s fine, but it’s not like Alberto Gonzalez is going to be a consistent upgrade.

(And people thought I was overreacting by being bummed by Darwin Barney’s injury. Face.)

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (2-2) at Atlanta Braves (3-1), 6:10 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

Carlos Villanueva (0-0, -.– ERA)

versus

Julio Teheran (0-0, -.– ERA)

Atlanta Braves Lineup

1. B.J. Upton, CF

2. Jason Heyward, RF

3. Justin Upton, LF

4. Freddie Freeman, 1B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Juan Francisco, 3B

7. Gerald Laird, C

8. Ramiro Pena, SS

9. Julio Teheran, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Luis Valbuena, 3B

8. Alberto Gonzalez, 2B

9. Carlos Villanueva, P

  • fromthemitten

    damn it of course it’s going to be on WGN the same time as the new Doctor Who

    • #1lahairfan

      You would take Doctor Who over the Cubs?

      • fromthemitten

        with that lineup? probably.

        • @cubsfantroy

          I was thinking the same thing. But, I went with the Cubs since I don’t get a chance to watch them much.

  • Daniel

    Think is the lillibridge thing continues to not work out we will see Watkins soon?

    • nkniacc13

      who goes Lillibridge or Gonzalez when Barneys ready

      • Daniel

        i would hope lillibridge…

      • OCCubFan

        I would hope both.

        • JulioZuleta

          It will be Gonzalez. Lillibridge can play more positions. Hopefully neither will be around long though.

  • Stu

    If the name of the game is OBP, then eventually 2nd base has to go to Watkins if he keeps it up. Does anyone disagree?

  • Austin

    Cubs game and then finish the night off with a little Michigan Final Four game and hopefully a win.

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder where Harang goes now after the trade to Colorado. Sounds like hes expected to be DFA then likely traded before 10 days are up

  • Kyle

    Fans seem awfully cranky for a team that few expect to be any good and is currently on a .500 road trip.

    I love that the Cubs would literally be better off with me taking Lillibridge’s PAs to this point.

    • JulioZuleta

      Yeah, I’ve been a little confused by this too. They’re .500 after 3 road games against a mediocre teams and a road game against a very good team. People need to lower the expectations or it’s going to be a brutal year.

      That being said, even I get frustrated when ABs are wasted on guys like Lilli, Gonzo, and Valbuena.

  • ShootTheGoat

    @ the game tonight in ATL… Cubs are having batting practice as I type. BTW, I know it’s just practice but the Braves were absolutely crushing the ball! We’ll see if that is a sign of the of the kind of game that we’re in for.

  • ShootTheGoat

    Does anyone know how big the Braves Jumbotron is? Just wondering in regards to the Cubs proposed 6000 sq ft Jumbotron…

    • MichiganGoat

      Grrrrr why do you want to shoot me?

      • ShootTheGoat

        Lol sorry about that, Goat! Been a while since I’ve been able to post…

      • DarthHater

        Fight back, MG!

        [img]http://humorpix.com/images/5ecf50a53fadcd80f4487afa8f72733c/Gun-Toting_Goat0-size-800×0.jpg[/img]

        • DarthHater

          Hrm.

          [img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8265/8625013141_4fa6897b9e_m.jpg[/img]

          • ShootTheGoat

            Don’t do it Goat!!! Lol. Cool pic, though.

          • MichiganGoat

            I almost posted that exact same pic…

    • #1lahairfan

      I think the Braves have the biggest jumbotron in baseball.

      • Tommy

        I thought the Royals had the biggest Jumbotron in MLB?

        • hansman1982

          I thought the Mariners had the biggest Jumbotron.

          • MichiganGoat

            I think that is only a proposal or to be built but not currently in place, but I’m drunk and not sure.

  • Indy57

    79×71 or 5609 sq.ft.

    • ShootTheGoat

      So…..If the Cubs go through with the 6000 sq ft Tron, I guess they will the biggest then. Man, ATL’s Tron is HUGE when you actually see it up close. Can’t even imagine what the proposed 6000 sq ft one will look like. Sheesh!!!

      • MightyBear

        Seattle Ms are supposedly putting up the biggest jumbotron in sports. Bigger than Dallas’ monstrosity over the football field.

      • DarthHater

        Hopefully, the back side of the Cubs’ jumbotron will include a giant middle finger facing the rooftops. :-P

        • HubbaBubba

          Like

  • ShootTheGoat

    Man, oh man…. I know it’s just batting practice, but Rizzo has POWER!!! Put one close to the Budweiser deck in right center, and he is consistently putting them off the “Aaron’s” sign in right…Castro put a few out to left center as well.

  • Kyle

    “(And people thought I was overreacting by being bummed by Darwin Barney’s injury. Face.)

    Funny, people thought I was overreacting when I said Lillibridge was a terrible pickup and we needed to put some real effort into the infield bench. Double face.

  • Rizzo44

    Havent been on this site since september… Ready for Villanueva’s debut.. We really need Castro/Rizzo/Soriano to get this offense going, all below .150…

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

    Barney was having a horrible Spring before his injury… .239/.289/.380/.670 in 71 AB, 7 SO, 4 BB, 6 XBH.

  • R.E.S

    Does anyone know what happened to Greg Rohan? I can’t find him on any roster.

    • #1lahairfan

      He was never on the roster.

  • jt

    If the step down was from Cano to Barney to Lillibridge then I would be bothered.
    Barney would be a useful short term Cano replacement but the step is rather large.
    The step from Barney to Lillibridge is a step down but ….meh!

    • DarthHater

      That first step is a doozy:
      [img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_8GKbVrFkjkg/SXocV8f6dII/AAAAAAAAABM/BSW8CRpwWXE/s320/237480413_2f6321eb3f.jpg[/img]

    • jt

      Yeah, you scaled that ’bout right

  • cubzforlife

    Can’t wait for regular saturday night games at Wrigley. Hope it’s part of the deal.

  • Die hard

    Looking at these lineups and know why stands are 15-25% full so far —in 50s and early 60s before expansion you could count on half dozen potential hall of famers on each team…. didn’t need any Jumbotron to draw them in…. Now maybe one per team …. Need contraction or international expansion south of the border

    • DarthHater

      [img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8d/MLB_Attendance.png[/img]

      • DarthHater

        Image cut off in 2000, here’s the rest of the chart:
        [img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8263/8626379668_636b2ca0bf.jpg[/img]

        • Drew7

          Facts? Pfft…

          • DarthHater

            [img]http://t.qkme.me/3tqw66.jpg[/img]

  • JulioZuleta

    Dammit, only one inning but this ump has really squeezed Villanueva. And make it worse he’s giving Teheran strikes on the curve that is clearly breaking around the plate.

    • Kyle

      Pet peeve alert: It was a terrible call on that one curve you are talking about, but there’s no such thing as a curveball that breaks around the plate and ends up in the catcher’s glove behind the plate. In order for that to happen, the ball would have to come in at such an extreme angle that it’d have to go halfway to the third-base line before breaking back toward the plate. You couldn’t do it with a boomerang, let alone a baseball.

      Brett: is the minute-long video ad replacing the content intentional or a browser error?

      • JulioZuleta

        Ok, the curve that is caught in the strike zone, but does not cross the plate in the zone. There have been 2 real bad ones, and another questionable one so far.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Definitely an error.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        If I recall, someone once did an evaluation of when people watching baseball on TV thought that the ball crosses home plate and found that it was well in front of the plate. It makes sense: an 80 MPH curveball is going about 120′ second, which means that it’s getting to homeplate in about half a second. People usually think it’s at homeplate about a tenth of a second before the catcher snags it, but it’s really about 0.025 seconds before. As Kyle notes, very few things can move that far vertically or laterally in that little time.

        • JulioZuleta

          I’m sure it appears more exaggerrated than it is, but it still is a problem with many umpires. Teheran had a few that were CAUGHT in the edge, but were a couple inches off the edge at the plate. If you think about it, a curve ball doesn’t start t break until well after it leaves the pitchers hand. From the front of the plate to the catcher’s glove is roughly 4 feet…that’s a significant portion of a pitch’s “break zone” if you will.

          • Sircub

            Pitches definitely can, and do, break “around” the plate. Especially when you’re talking about a pitcher throwing a back door breaking ball to the corner of the plate on his arm side. However, over that last couple of feet, the pitch breaks a couple inches at most, I would think.

          • Bric

            It’s tough to really gauge any of the pitches on TV because the camera doesn’t give a good judgment of the plate and is located off to the side and over 400 feet away. That’s why I always just trust the eyes of the broadcasters. If they say he’s getting squeezed then he probably is. Watching pitchers warm up in the bullpen (especially at Wrigley) is the best way to see how the ball breaks. Usually within 5 to 8 feet of the plate and in about .1 to .5 seconds.

          • Kyle

            The math just doesn’t work. If order for the pitch to move “a few inches” between the back of the plate and the catcher’s glove, it’d have to be breaking like a frisbee on its edge. It’d be breaking 30 feet over the course of its whole flight path.

            You can really see this effect on the overhead camera. The pitch is barely moving horizontally in that very small distance between the plate and the glove.

            In general, people vastly overestimate how much a breaking ball actually breaks. Most of the effect is the optical illusion of your brain expecting it to go in one direction when it instead goes in another. The actually deviation from a straight line is usually less than a foot.

            • Sircub

              I haven’t crunched the numbers (though I’d be interested to do so), but if the most extreme breaking balls break about 12″ over the course of the time it takes to reach the plate (about 63′), then that would be 1″ of lateral movement for every ~5′ that the ball travels, assuming the ball’s trajectory is linear, which it isn’t.

              As JZ points out, the pitch has more break to it as it gets closer to the plate ( since it’s slowing down). So it probably starts off breaking about 1″/10′ and by the time it reaches the plate it’s more like 1″/2′. Just ball parking it. Another factor is simply the trajectory of the pitch. If a pitcher with a 3/4 delivery is throwing to his arm side of the plate, there’s probably another 1″/3′ just from the trajectory, not even counting the break.

  • JulioZuleta

    Villanueva has more hits than Lillibridge and Valbuena combined.

  • jt

    Valbeuna is now having a much better season than BJ

  • HubbaBubba

    Riiiizzzzzzooooo. Now lets have Soriano get a couple HR’s and pad his trade value!

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    RIZZOMG.

    That is all.

  • Jason

    Not gonna lie. More disappointed about giving up B.J.’s first hit than I was about Justin’s 4th HR.

  • DarthHater

    Every starting player for the Cubs has at least one hit today.

    • MichiganGoat

      Great Santo’s Ghost

  • DarthHater

    ack.

  • DarthHater

    Okay, time for a double play.

    • DarthHater

      There it is, one batter too late. :-P

      • DarthHater

        Good thing we have such a reliable closer for the ninth. :-D

  • cub123

    What the hell is gonzales swinging it?

  • RY34

    will marmol record an out???

  • cub123

    Here we go…

  • cub123

    not before he blows it he wont !!!!!!!!!!!!

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