great american ballparkSeems like it would be impossible not to be hungover from a loss like the one the Cubs suffered last night. Then again, they’ve suffered heartbreaker after heartbreaker this year, and they keep putting themselves in a position to be heartbroken again. This team loses a lot, but it doesn’t really get blown out.*

That’s largely been thanks to the starting pitching, which has been great. Carlos Villanueva has been as good as anyone, and he goes again for the Cubs tonight. Fear The Stache.

For the Reds, it’s Tony Cingrani, a young lefty who is likely to dominate the Cubs’ almost-all-righty lineup. Said lineup features the first start for Cody Ransom, if you were looking for an exciting story line.

*Yes, I know that will be thrown right back at me if they get blown out tonight.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (5-13) at Cincinnati Reds (12-8), 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.

Game Tickets

If you’re looking for Chicago Cubs tickets for today’s game (or any future games), you can use that TiqIQ link there for the secondary market. There are also some available on

Starting Pitchers

Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.29 ERA, 6.4 K/9)


Tony Cingrani (1-0, 1.80 ERA, 14.4 K/9)

Cincinnati Reds Lineup

1. Shin-Soo Choo, CF

2. Zack Cozart, SS

3. Joey Votto, 1B

4. Brandon Phillips, 2B

5. Jay Bruce, RF

6. Todd Frazier, 3B

7. Chris Heisey, LF

8. Corky Miller, C

9. Tony Cingrani, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dave Sappelt, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Welington Castillo, C

6. Scott Hairston, RF

7. Cody Ransom, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Carlos Villanueva, P

  • Spriggs

    I see 4 automatic outs in a row in this lineup. Never a good thing in baseball.

    • #1lahairfan

      Yes. Not good at all!

    • willis

      Eh hem, 5 straight auto outs Spriggs. Don’t sell Sappelt’s awesome abilities to be terrible short.

      • Spriggs

        Actually, I WAS counting Little Davie. I gave Hairston the benefit of the doubt!

        • willis

          I see. From what I’ve seen this year, I’m going to not give him that benefit.

          • Spriggs

            I understand. I’m just not there yet. I predict a HR for him tonight.

            • willis

              I do hope he shows us something. He’s got the pop in his bat, just hasn’t performed to this point. But, since Uncle dale is insistent on the righty lefty lineups, he needs to show up.

              Oh, and Billingsly having TJ tomorrow, maybe Theo can reach out to the Dodgers…since they are so fond of signing recovering TJ projects. Would be perfect fit.

              • cubzfan23

                I remember as a decent clutch hitter at least

  • cubzfan

    This better be Sappelt’s last chance. They need to waive him off the 40-man and send him down to Iowa. Let Borbon, who doesn’t have much of a career L/R split, start against lefties, or just sit either DeJesus or Schierholtz, not both. My head tells me Sappy will be here until Stewart is ready, but my heart says DFA!

    I think they need to consider waiving Camp, as well. He hasn’t been effective, won’t have trade value, and won’t be part of the future. Maybe they can wait for Fujikawa’s return, but I’d rather see Gregg than Camp at this point, and that’s really saying something.

    • Johnathan

      Entirely agree, even as hard as it is to ever pick Kevin Gregg over anyon. Sappelt only made this team because of age and the lack of any ready young outfielders. Now with borbon and bjax or Sweeney to replace dejesus, sappetl will be hitting the waiver wire although I believe they’ll hope to retain him as he’s still relatively young.

    • Pat

      I think he can still be optioned outright. Why DFA?

  • FarmerTanColin

    I have faith that this is the time the RH lineup prevails! Cingrani throws like 90% fastballs and there’s a whole previous start on tape that I’m sure this lineup studied.

  • Rizzo44

    Rizzo… 3rd.. Ugh, he really needs to get it going, focus on average!

    • Featherstone

      Eh, his average will fix itself. He just needs to keep driving the ball and it will start to fall.

  • StillCubsFan

    Barney needs to stop thinking about his gold glove and start hitting the ball more! He’s been terrible at the plate….

  • Whatever

    At least Ransom has a career OPS of .690 over 11 seasons. Lots of runs scored tonight. LOL

    Ricketts can make another debt payment.

  • willis

    Basically, Villanueva needs to be perfect tonight to have a shot. A lot of pressure to put on a starter when you put this filth behind him.

    • StillCubsFan

      ….he should probably hit a hr also and pitch a complete game, just to make sure he wins…

      • Featherstone

        you can pitch a complete game and still lose, he needs to pitch a shutout and hit a HR.

        • StillCubsFan

          Hence Willis’ comment: “…Villanueva needs to be perfect tonight…”

  • Randy

    I am so sick of Dale and his left righty shit. Its been such a huge sucess so far this year. What a dumbass. Evertything by the book shall get you fired. Use your gut once in a while and maybe the Cubs can win a game

    • Featherstone

      Grrr numbers hurt head! No use stupid numbers, need belly fire!

      • Koyie Hill Sucks

        The numbers work when you don’t have Cody Ransom, Lillibridge or Sappelt backing up your starters.

        Same thing as he is doing with the starters, not letting them get out of a jam late in the game and taking them out at or before the 90 pitch mark, insane considering how bad the bullpen has been…

    • TWC

      Totally. Why bother with the “statistics” and “math” stuff that show how a well-managed platoon will gain you ~ 1.5 wins over the course of a season. Go with your gut, Sveum. Just do it.

      • Cyranojoe

        Well, keyword being “well-managed”. And key assumption being that the lefty/righty split has something to do with “all things being equal”, which is not exactly true with the Cubs’ platoon situations so far this year.

        Not that I don’t believe in the platoon. But the “hot hand” concept is getting awfully tempting, the way things are going. I suppose there could be a more dramatic difference…

        • TWC

          Yup. You’re entirely correct. It’s no guarantee of an additional win or two, just that it increases the odds of a team eking one out.

          Frankly, with this season that’s ahead of us, I’m not sure it matters too much.

          • Pat

            It doesn’t matter that much, but you still go with the highest expected value.

  • mudge

    Sappelt is playing tight. Move him down to bat 7th.

  • hardtop

    we’re facing a 14.4 K/9 pitcher and we are the playing the guys who back-up the guys who wouldn’t even be back-ups on most teams. Its basically a thrown game, and I have to believe Dale knows it.

    • Featherstone

      He’s pitched a total of 5 innings this year.
      Against Miami.
      If small sample size applies to anything it’s, this.

    • TWC

      I was about to splutter a response that this kid’s only made one start this season, so his numbers could be totally jacked, but then I looked at his MiLB K/9 rate and …


      • Spencer

        Cingrani is the real deal, yo.

        • hardtop

          yeah. im often guilty of not knowing my sh!t or doing my research when busting on the cubs manager/management/personnel… but in this case, i’ve been kinda following tony.
          hes a local kid (went to high school in new lennox). 23 yo, 6′-4″, 215 lbs. pretty good young pitcher for the reds.

    • demz

      the great thing about baseball is that any team can win on any given day.

      but i’m sure you know this.

  • RY

    I smell a potential no hitter for Cingrani tonight.

    • TWC

      I cannot abide the thought that Dusty would be the one managing against the Cubs when the no-hit streak is broken.


  • cooter

    can we just try a who’s hot and who’s not line up

  • ruby2626

    I have no problem with DeJesus sitting against lefties, he was terrible before he came to the Cubs and worse last year. Not a single extra base hit last year against lefties kind of says it all. Sappelt made the team based on what I call fool’s gold. These guys that come up in Sept. and look good, it means nothing. A couple years ago Justin Berg and Ceridad both were lights out in Sept and stunk the following April. I’m in favor of a right handed OF specialist, just don’t see a good one on our roster.

  • Tyler

    A very captionable picture I snapped yesterday of Luis Valbuena looking disgusted at something Carlos Marmol is telling him.


    • Tyler

      Wow, that didn’t work. At all. Let’s try this again:

      A very captionable picture I snapped yesterday of Luis Valbuena looking disgusted at something Carlos Marmol is telling him.[img][/img]

  • jim

    ok LETS GO REDS!
    that they CANNOT RECOVER!
    THIS TEAM is going NOWHERE!
    GET used to IT. UNTIL the CUBS
    i am sure this will upset some of the “FAITHFUL”,

    • mudge

      thank YOU for “ENLIGHTENING” US, o “JIM””

    • TWC

      Didn’t you say “GOODBYE” this morning?

      Have second thoughts?

      • Cubbie Blues

        We are a delightful group.

      • DarthHater

        THIS TROLL is going NOWHERE!
        GET used to IT.

        • Whiteflag


  • Die hard

    This lineup could not beat AA Tennessee — and you asked earlier about Sveums job?.. This lineup shows why not qualified to play the hand he’s dealt the best he can… Rizzo to 7th if not benched and Castillo 3rd… Barney lead off and Hairston 2nd… Soriano and Castro flipped and Ransom should be 9th

    • Cubbie Blues

      You never fail to astound.

    • DarthHater


    • DarthHater

      Why not really shake things up and have everybody on the team start switch hitting? Hell, they couldn’t do that much worse than they’re doing now… 😛

  • sossa

    Well looks like a loss for tonight then.

  • mudge

    nah. 4 for 4 from Sappelt, Rizzo 2 homers, Hairston single double and three walks go Cubs they really aren’t this bad. Are they?

    • sossa

      no they are really that bad…

  • Rebuilding

    Soriano showing off his wheels. Those knees must be feeling ok

  • Rebuilding

    Cody Ransom opposite field HR? LOL

  • Tobias

    Can’t believe that Theo and Jed would dare pick up that washed up Cody Ransom….oh, nevermind.

    • Rebuilding

      The ultimate small sample size. If Ransom his hitting over 200 on the day his cut I’ll buy you a beer

      • Bric

        You’re absolutely right. New guy sees the first pitch and hits a homer means nothing in the long run for the team, fans, and opposing pitcher. Let’s send him back. I’d rather see Lillibridge over at 3rd tonight.

        • Bric

          Ransom just added a double but I still agree with Rebuilding. It probably won’t mean sh*t in the long run and we should’ve tried Lillibridge at 3rd. Or better yet just forfeit a couple of games until Stewart comes back. Now That’s Rebuilding.

    • Kyle

      Nope, it was still pretty pointless.

    • Tobias

      I guess I need to work on my sarcasm.

  • Beardface


  • Beardface

    Flip Ransom now!

  • Saving grace

    Ransom is out of options and will be a free agent correct?
    So this is seeing if he has any value to keep around.Helping them make a decision for next year?

  • DarthHater

    Good lord.

  • JOE

    Wow… I believe that half inning pretty well summed up the Cubs season so far. Leadoff runner on 2nd then runner on third with 1 out and because of two boneheaded plays, nothing but a goose egg is hung on the scoreboard.

    • DarthHater


  • Matty

    I think Rizzo is in need of his yearly AAA swing checkup.

  • DarthHater

    Awful lot of spam here recently, Bert. 😛

  • Jacob

    Brett, I’m getting a notification of a “harmful to your computer” download when I try to open your articles. I’m using Google Chrome. It’s never done this before, so I don’t know what’s going on.

    • Jacob

      Well, it seems to have stopped. I don’t know what was going on.

  • Rebuilding

    No hitting, no fielding, no bullpen, but damn our starters have been feeling. If Villanueva keeps throwing like this he might actually fetch us a nice prospect