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wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs welcome the Rangers to Wrigley Field for their first interleague series of the year. Hopefully Lance Berkman, who isn’t starting, gets into the game tonight.

The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves before the game, and they’re detailed here. The short version is you might see Kevin Gregg tonight and go, “whaaa?” and not see Brent Lillibridge tonight and go, “aaaah.”

Travis Wood gets his third start of the year, and he looked mighty good in his first two. It’s obviously quite a test this time around against a stacked Rangers lineup.

On the other side of the bump is fellow lefty Derek Holland, who’ll face a considerably less intimidating, but very right-handed, Cubs lineup.

The Cubs will all be decked out in number 42 tonight to honor Jackie Robinson, and you’ll see other instances commemorating Robinson all around the park.

Game Info

Texas Rangers (8-5) at Chicago Cubs (4-8), 7:05 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.

Game Tickets

If you’re looking for Chicago Cubs tickets at the last minute today, you can use that TiqIQ link there for the secondary market. There are also some available on Cubs.com.

Starting Pitchers

Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40 ERA, 1.000 WHIP)

versus

Travis Wood (1-0, 1.46 ERA, 1.054 WHIP)

Texas Rangers Lineup

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Elvis Andrus, SS

3. Adrian Beltre, 3B

4. Nelson Cruz, RF

5. A.J. Pierzynski, C

6. Jeff Baker, LF

7. Mitch Moreland, 1B

8. Craig Gentry, CF

9. Derek Holland, 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. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Alberto Gonzalez, 3B

9. Travis Wood, P

  • Rcleven

    I’ll be watching but I’m afraid to open my eyes. Woods due for a clunker. Just been too good in his first two starts.

    • TWC

      Ha. You still don’t trust him, do you? I remember that from last season’s Gameday threads…

    • Hansman1982

      The cubs will score nine through 3 and then Wood will give up 7 in the 4th. The pen will do the rest of the sucking just fine.

  • HoustonTransplant

    To watch or to listen? I’ll get the Ranger’s feed down here on the TV, but I have the MLB Audio subscription…hmm. Perhaps both, if I can tolerate the delay.

    And it’s funny to see the discrepancy between the two lineups. Actually, it’s not funny at all. It makes me sad.

    • Tim

      I think the Cubs lineup is poor, but the Rangers lineup is way overrated. Granted in this series they do not have a DH, but A.J. hitting 5th? Jeff Baker 6th? I mean come on, that’s nothing to fear. Beltre is getting up there, Andrus doesn’t hit much, Nelson Cruz plays 100 games a year. I just don’t see it. If anything, to me there pitching is underrated, but that lineup even with a 45 year Lance Berkman as a DH just doesn’t scare me. I think it is an average lineup.

      The Cubs lineup is below average, so most lineups look good in comparison, but Rangers are not the same lineup minus Josh Hamilton, or simply when Hamilton wasn’t on one of his hot streaks

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Even without Hamilton, the Rangers will be in the upper half of the AL in runs scored. Beltre, Andrus, Kinsler, AJ, Berkman, Cruz, Murphy and Moreland all are good bets to provide league average OPS or (in a few cases) substantially better. Only CF is currently a black-hole: and if they get smart and shuffle Profar into the lineup with Kinsler going to CF (or perhaps even Profar going there), then they’ll (probably) fill that hole.

        Now, none of these guys might “scare” you as individuals: but when everyone or even nearly everyone does above average, then the offense does very well relative to the rest of the league.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Oh hey, Jeff Baker.

  • CityCub

    Finally Barney is back. Good One Dale.

  • a_mazz_ing

    Kevin Gregg… Man I hate this bullpen.

  • Rudy

    What’s the word on the wind?

    • Cubbie Blues

      Better ask Dutch_Oven45.

  • mudge

    sappelt should hit 6 and move the rest of em in front of him up one.

    • willis

      Or…shouldn’t play at all? Dejesus getting the pine tonight is ridiculous.

      • Tim

        He doesn’t hit lefties. If you are pining for David DeJeues you know your offense SUCKS

  • Rcleven

    Garza starts rehab Friday night at Kane County. Two innings.

  • ETS

    [img]http://cdn2.sbnation.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/1866817/20120921_ter_ar5_246.0_standard_352.0.jpg[/img]

    Caption the enemy: Hi, I’m Derek Holland, and I can grow the facial hair of a 14 year old.

  • Rebuilding

    Baez 1-3 with a HR tonight

    • Dynastyin2016

      Baez 1-5, HR and 3K’s.

  • Rebuilding

    Stephen Bruno and John Andreoli are both on fire at Daytona. Vogelbach with 2 hits today to get above .300 at Kane County

    • Cyranojoe

      Thank you for something positive to think about!

      • ETS

        Rizzo worked a 10 pitch single – that’s pretty positive.

        T Wood has looked great so far this year.

        It’s not always bad to be in last place. Here’s some things we can focus on: One, we tried hard. And two, we’re still dear friends!

  • Stu

    Jeff Baker? LOL Rangers.

  • Matty Ice

    This is how awesome the Cubs approach has been. As a team they have taken 28 walks. Joey Votto by himself has 21

    • ETS

      Rizzo worked a 10 pitch single – that’s pretty positive.

      T Wood has looked great so far this year.

      It’s not always bad to be in last place. Here’s some things we can focus on: One, we tried hard. And two, we’re still dear friends!

      • ETS

        I think chrome has more issues with this comment section than firefox did. I’m getting some weird posts.

        • DarthHater

          Nah, the weird posts aren’t Chrome’s fault. That’s just me. ;-)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Votto has great pitch recognition. Very few of the Cubs do. How you approach a stop light has little effect on how well you see the red if you are color-blind!

      • Matty Ice

        The Red light is the bottom light. color blind people drive fine. Your analogy is wrong.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          My analogies are never wrong. Your interpretation of it, however, was wildly wrong. I never wrote that a color-blind person couldn’t tell what the traffic light was telling them. (It’s the top light, by the way.) My point was and is, that his/her approach is irrelevant: you can see red or you cannot. It’s the same thing with baseball: you can recognize what a pitch will do when it’s 10′ from the pitchers hand or you cannot. Until someone develops some really accurate graphic simulations, there will not even be a way for guys to learn some analog of “stop if the top light is on.”

      • DarthHater

        “How you approach a stop light has little effect on how well you see the red if you are color-blind!”

        Not necessarily. If the color blind person approaches the stop light at a sufficiently high velocity, the wavelength of the “red” light will be shifted toward the blue end of the spectrum and the color blind person might then be able to see it.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Plus you wouldn’t be ageing as fast as everyone else.

          • DarthHater

            What does rate of ageing have to do with how well you see a red light? :-P

            • Cubbie Blues

              Just an added benefit of going really fast.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          lol…. I doff my cap to you. However, I think that the analogy now makes more sense: trying to teach guys pitch recognition is probably about as easy as going close to the speed of light!

          Actually, how fast do you have to go to shift red to the “discernible” spectrum for the color blind? My guess is that it’s fast enough that atmospheric friction would sizzle any vehicle that did! Of course, the whole traffic light stuff is pretty irrelevant at that point: even if that car doesn’t burn, then it’s running the light. (And the next one. And the next one. For about 5 counties.)

          And, of course: http://what-if.xkcd.com/1/

          • Cubbie Blues

            Ha, I was thinking about that exact comic when reading your post. I just wasn’t going to look it up. Thanks for the link.

  • Rebuilding

    Why in the world did we not pitch around Baker there? He murders lefties (which we know) and Moreland is a lefty and terrible. Little things like that are costing us games

  • willis

    Walking American league pitchers is always a good idea.

  • Believe in 2015

    What a joke. The Daytona pitchers gave up 27 hits and 15 runs today. Was it batting practice?

  • another JP

    Getting bad vibe about the ability of S. Camp to put up another strong season for us. Watch Texas drill this guy-

    • another JP

      Ball. Game. Feel bad for Wood, another fine offensive performance and the bullpen bites it again.

  • Rebuilding

    Sveum is killing me. As bad as our bullpen has been why would you pull Wood after only 92 pitches? On the last batter he walked he was right around the zone

    • Dynastyin2016

      And then to make matters worse, he wastes Russell in a 4-0 game. He could have at least double switched since the pitchers spot is up 4th in the 8th. Then again, it seems the Cubs aren’t allowed to bat more than three an inning.

  • willis

    Um, because he’s a fucking idiot? He makes terrible pitching decisions every gosh damn day. It happens every game.

  • Rebuilding

    Time to ship Camp off to the glue factory. Or maybe we can flip him lol

  • MikeL

    Forget about finding a closer. Now it is getting to a point where the bullpen isn’t able to get ANYONE out. I think Shawn Camp is done, that is just as good as another injury to an awful bullpen.

  • http://bleachernation allen

    Why the hell was Wood taken out? Just plain dumb

    • another JP

      Better yet, why bring in Scamp- who has sucked- instead of Russell in a one-run game? Good job Sveum.

  • R Younggren

    worst fucking bullpen in baseball, this team is such a disgrace

    • DocPeterWimsey

      heh, actually the Nats and Astros pens are actually pitching worse. Come to it, the Cardinals bullpen is not pitching any better. Just looking at the overall stats, there are about 8 or 9 bullpens that are really weighing down their teams right now.

      Looking at the more specific stats, it looks like the Cubs actually have been a bit unlucky with the bullpen. Remarkably, 16 bullpens are walking guys at higher rates. 20 bullpens are K’ing guys at lower rates. 13 bullpens are giving up HR at higher rates. Now, the sample sizes are ridiculously low, but the Cubs relievers as a group are actually pretty average in the “true” stats.

      Where the Cubs have done poorly is HBP (6, leading MLB) and wild pitches (4, leading MLB). And the other problem is the Cubs offense is so bad and the Cubs starting has been sufficiently good that the relievers are pitching in a lot of close games. So, whereas (say) the Cards can absorb worse relief pitching, every mistake hurts the Cubs.

  • http://bleachernation allen

    Sveum really does make a ton of questionable bullpen decisions

  • Bill

    Camp got overworked last year. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s really bad this year. He lives and dies with the slider and we’ll likely see a lot of hanging sliders this year.

    Doesn’t Theo have to take credit/blame for this awful bullpen and terrible bench? Two freakin’ years in a row where Theo has dropped the ball in both those areas.

  • http://bleachernation allen

    Yeah he does. Theo gets a free pass too often

  • Cubbie Blues

    #42 is killing us. Can’t we just IBB him?

  • Beardface

    Needing a big rally here!

  • Rebuilding

    Camp wasn’t even that good last year. He caught lightening in a bottle for 2 months and was also very lucky. He has only had an ERA under 3.50 ONCE since 2004. Did anyone really expect him to be decent this year at 38? But out Jedi front office did?

  • MikeL

    I know this is difficult guys, but this team reminds of the Seattle Mariners teams that I watched when I was living in Portland, Oregon. They had that awful 61-101 season in 2010, followed by a 67 win season and a 75 win season. They had an awful, awful, AWFUL lineup. Take a look at the runs scored during those years:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SEA/

    HOWEVER,

    They have a lot of young talent in their farm system and they are going to be a really good young team in a year or so.

    • Rebuilding

      Yeah, I wish we had Zunino, Walker, Hultzen, Brad Miller, Stefan Romero and others at AA and above. The Mariners are going to be tough very soon

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