great american ballparkThis rain better get the hell out of here. With the new kiddo, I haven’t had a chance to get out to a game yet this year. Today is my first. I’m already in Cincinnati. Go. Away. Rain. (As of this morning, reports have the rain moving out by the early afternoon, so hopefully the game will get off with a slight delay.)

Jeff Samardzija goes against Mat Latos today, and the Cubs are actually going for a series win. Alfonso Soriano gets a rest day, with Julio Borbon making his first start for the Cubs in left field. That changes up the lineup slightly, with Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo each sliding back a spot, and Borbon batting second.

Darwin Barney also gets a day off, with Luis Valbuena sliding over to second to cover the position …

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (6-13) at Cincinnati Reds (12-9), 11:35 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 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

Jeff Samardzija (1-3, 3.38 ERA, 4.43 K/BB)


Mat Latos (0-0, 2.73 ERA, 7.25 K/BB)

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. Xavier Paul, LF

8. Devin Mesoraco, C

9. Mat Latos, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Julio Borbon, LF

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Dioner Navarro, C

7. Luis Valbuena, 2B

8. Cody Ransom, 3B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • StillCubsFan

    “One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come up”… my feeling, at times, about the Cubs lineup.

    • EQ76

      Hey that rhymed!

  • Yoga Master

    I feel bad for Samardzija.

  • Koyie Hill Sucks

    Why is barney not playi? He has been heating up at the plate….

    • Koyie Hill Sucks


    • hansman1982

      Day game after a night game that went extras (for the second day in a row) before a travel day.

      Fairly standard “rest a few of your regulars” day.

  • Bazfan1234

    I like the fact that Borbon is playing instead of Soriano as Soriano’s stats against RHP are not good (.200 avg .228 OBP with 13k’s) compared to his LHP stats (.500 avg .522 OBP with 2 K’s).

  • Randy

    Nice to hear Theo say the Cubs have no money. Interesting information. I thought they had plenty of revenue. Tight ass lying sack of crap is what the whole group is at this point to me. You have one of the biggest markets in baseball and have no money. BS

  • Rizzo44

    No Castillo, Soriano, Barney, and Rizzo has to bat 4th… Great.. Go Cubs!! Samardzija needs to be near perfect today with that lineup… Is Latos a lefty or righty?

  • JulioZuleta

    How many Samardzija splitters hit the back wall today with Navarro back there? I’ll set the over under at 7.5.

    • Spriggs

      hope Samardzija can keep runners off base most of the game. Over.

      • JulioZuleta

        Borbon adn DeJesus have solid range. When runners are on I think they should put Schierholtz behind Navarro as backup.

        • Spriggs

          if only that was an option!

    • @cubsfantroy

      Under, but just barely.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Samardzida has to be pissed with this line-up.

  • Believe in 2015

    Castro batting third today with Rizzo at the cleanup spot. Interesting

  • JulioZuleta

    Not a fan of moving your two best hitters in the lineup to accomodate Julio Borbon. I’d rather see JB batting 7th and bump everyone else up one.

    • Drew7

      Gotta make room for that Belly Fire(tm)!

  • hansman1982

    Hopefully next year the lineup is:

    1. Choo – CF
    2. Watkins – 2B
    3. Castro – SS
    4. Stanton – LF
    5. Rizzo – 1B
    6. Castillo – C
    7. Valbuena – 3B
    8. Schierholtz/Platoon-mate – RF

    (You know what, that’s a very realistic (barring me missing something major) and good lineup next year, similar SPers and MOAR BP help, thats a serious NLC contender)

    • JulioZuleta

      Gimme Ellsbury.

      • JulioZuleta

        I mean Choo would be fine too. What I’m saying is I think Ellsbury may be more likely.

    • Dynastyin2016

      If they sign Choo (doubt because of age), he’d play right and Brett Jackson will play center. Choo is a terrible CF.

      • hansman1982

        Choo has the one thing that will help him earn his next contract (and that the FO likes) – batting eye.

        You are right about CF defense (at least according to UZR/150) and he is a good LF. If you can get him and Stanton in the OF (that’d give you a fairly good defensive corner OF) you might be able to live with the offensive black hole that will be MLB Jackson.

        (Side note, I just looked at Stanton this year and I REALLY hope that Jackson-esque K rate isn’t catching up to him (47% of his PA don’t even result on him putting the ball in play so far this year (SSS ALERT) and for his career he sits at 39%) (ok, back to the drawing board on RF options)).

        • @cubsfantroy

          That’s fine, it is a pipe dream that the Cubs would even get him anyway.

      • Koyie Hill Sucks

        I think it’s safe to say Brett Jackson will not be an everyday starter at the ML level, at least not anytime soon…

        • Kyle

          Yeah. He’s still K-ing 30%+ at Iowa. It’s over.

          I mean, they aren’t going to release him, but I’m not longer expecting or even really hoping for any contributions at the MLB level.

          • DarthHater

            But, hey, Jackson’s still too high a price to pay for Headley, right? 😛

    • Jp3

      Please let the Schierholtz mate not be named Hairston.

    • Rebuilding

      I like the way you’re thinking today Hansman

    • DarthHater

      How you gonna get Stanton, hans?

      • hansman1982

        That’s the tough part. Miami is going to need a big-name prospect fairly close to the big leagues, we don’t have that and right now, I’d be hard pressed to give up Soler + for Stanton.

        Ok, fine, scratch Stanton and trade for Trout or Harper. Those two teams don’t need the MLB-ready talent as much as Miami.

        • JulioZuleta

          I don’t think they’d even want Soler. Might be the only situation ever where a team would turn down a prospect because he’s too expensive.

          • hansman1982

            Ya, the only positive would be the Cuban connection.

            After further thought, I don’t think we can get Stanton, and I’m still not sure I want Stanton.

            • JulioZuleta

              I’m the same. I mean obviously I want him, but probably not at the price it will take.

              • hansman1982

                Ya, the sheer power is tantilizing but the K rate has me scared shitless.

                It’s kind of like thisthe last free agent class. Enough warts and high enough prices that, ehhhhh.

          • Rudy

            I’ve had a question about this for a while… Wasn’t Solers $$ (30+ mil or whatever it was) a signing bonus. If so isn’t aren’t the Cubs on the hook for that no matter what? Has it already been paid out is it or pro-rated throught the contact? I though his actual ‘Salary’ is that of a minor leaguer on the 40-man.

            • Kyle

              No. Most of it was guaranteed yearly salary. Without looking it up, I’m about 80% sure that $6 million of it was a signing bonus, paid in two installments.

              • hansman1982

                From Cots:

                ■9 years/$30M (2012-20)
                ■signed by Chicago Cubs as a free agent from Cuba 6/30/12
                ■$6M signing bonus (half at signing, half by 1/13/13)
                ■12:$1M, 13:$1M, 14:$2M, 15:$2M, 16:$3M, 17:$3M, 18:$4M, 19:$4M, 20:$4M
                ■ML service: 0.000

    • corey costello


      I don’t care if he hits. .050, it’s easier to save a lot of runs, then to have to score in the following frame.

      • hansman1982

        With Watkins, if the scouting reports are true, will still give you an above-average run saving ability but with a position-average bat.

        Any increase in runs given up will be more than made up for with runs scored.

        • Kyle

          Ick. I’m not willing to concede either one of those on Watkins, honestly.

          With his defense, I just don’t trust any defensive scouting reports on prospects. Everything seems to be exaggerated and many people seem to underestimate how good MLB standards are for defense. Maybe Watkins can meet those standards and even exceed them a bit, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

          The bat? I really don’t see it playing to MLB 2b average.

          • hansman1982

            Well, the scouting reports range from above-average to well-above average, projecting that to above average in MLB isn’t much of a stretch.

            He walks enough that he should be able to get close to position average (last year that would have been around a .320 wOBA which would put him in the neighborhood of being a Jose Altuve but with a better walk rate).

            • Kyle

              Yeah. he’s struggling to make consistent contact in the PCL while putting up an OPS around .800. We’ve seen how that plays in the majors, and it’s a lot closer to .280 wOBA than .320.

              • Luke

                A lot of perfectly good hitters struggle to adjust when they are first promoted to a new league. I wouldn’t read too much into Watkin’s BA at Triple A just yet.

                • Kyle

                  Well, fortunately for me, I wasn’t crazy impressed with him in his old league, either.

                  He’s a lot like Szczur, in that I just can’t project MLB OKness from a guy who is just OK at everything in the minors. Occasionally a Darwin Barney will prove that wrong, but the skeptics will be right way more often than wrong.

                • hansman1982

                  He’s got some crazy differences from his career numbers in K swinging, BB rate and BABIP. Sadly, I only have contact % from this year but his BB and K rates indicate a slightly-above average batting eye and a slightly-below average contact ability.

                  So either 1,800 PA were lying about his Brett Jackson-esque lack of contact ability (that survived the jump to AA) or we are dealing with a guy adjusting to AAA or a sample issue. Since I don’t have the first 100 PA of each level broken out on their own, I’ll defer to a sample issue at this point.

    • Kyle

      So all we have to do is sign the best free agent outfielder and make one of the biggest trades in MLB in the last few decades and we’ve got a halfway decent offense?

      The rotation suffers without Garza (yes, I know we’re doing fine without him right now, but it’s not sustainable), and if you re-sign Garza or a Garza-equivalent, then you’ve got to have pushed way past the budget limitations that we are apparently under. And that’s before we even get to the bullpen. Who knows if we are willing or able to fix that.

      I find it very, very hard to believe we’ll be much more than a .500 team next year.

      • Edwin

        True. And fixing bullpens through FA is tough/expensive, relative to the value you add.

        The best part of 2014 is that by then we’ll have a much clearer idea of where the farm system is truly at. Which may or may not be a good thing.

        • Kyle

          That’s very true, but I expect it to be a good thing.

          I’m really not expecting much from the farm in 2014. We’ll get Logan Watkins, maybe, who at *best* might just save us the trouble of paying Darwin Barney a first-year arbitration salary. Arodys Vizcaino could be a nice addition, but I’m putting the over/under on his MLB innings around 100. We’ll get some guys on September callups, of course, but I’m talking about true impact debuts.

          2015 should be much better. We’ll get the first true, full year from our 2014 draft pick (assuming it’s Gray or Appel) and probably one of our elite hititng prospects (I’m guessing Soler).

      • hansman1982

        It does depend on a few things going right in the revenue/spending space but total freed and or gained should boost our payroll capacity to around $140-145M next year (or at least some healthy spending abilities). That’s $30-35M in spending over this year, which should allow us to get Choo, after this deadline we should have a solid-ish farm system to deal from.

        I doubt we get both of them, sign Garza and/or someone like Johnson but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility (and I’ll be upset if we have an offseason similar to this last one again next year).

        • Kyle

          Yeah. I don’t see how you could possibly think we’ll be raising payroll by any amount next year, let alone $35-40 million. They’ve been making the media rounds for a month now talking about how tight money is and how we shouldn’t be expecting any payroll gain.

          I think an offseason similar to what we had last year is very, very likely. We’ll replace anyone we trade at the deadline (like we replaced Maholm this year with similar bargain SPs), we’ll have money to add one Edwin Jackson-level piece, and that’ll be that. Project to something like 79-80 wins.

          I’ve argued endlessly that 2011 was a unique exception that we needed to pounce on, but in general it truly is very hard to make massive gains in a single offseason without graduating impact prospects, and we don’t have that in line for 2014. Sure, a Soler might get a cup of coffee that September, but for the most part you’re looking at a 2014 Farm Class of Logan Watkins (utility guy or replaces Barney for the same price) and Arodys Vizcaino (who knows how many innings he’ll be limited to). That’s just not moving the needle, and we apparent’y don’t have the money to push from 75 wins to 85+ wins in a very weak FA class.

          • Edwin

            I’d think $115-120 would be about the highest they would consider, but it depends on the state of the farm, and the FA that are available this coming offseason.

          • hansman1982

            “They’ve been making the media rounds for a month now talking about how tight money is and how we shouldn’t be expecting any payroll gain.”

            We have the new MLB TV money coming in, a portion of the video board and other ad revenues and they might be more willing to increase payroll with the WGN portion coming up after next year. I don’t think $115-$120M is accurate, heck they were willing to do $115M this year.

            “I think an offseason similar to what we had last year is very, very likely. ”

            I’d say a step up from last year is more in order. From 2012-2013, they “stepped up” and I expect that this offseason as we get closer to their projected window. Considering Choo is a top FA that, at first glance, has a solid skill set that should age decently, I think we may be heavy with him.

            “I’ve argued endlessly that 2011 was a unique exception that we needed to pounce on,”

            Three years out, even the top FA are a crap shoot to provide more than replacement level and it’s ten times worse for the guys good enough to get 3-4-5 year contracts let alone historical trends for the first year of those FA. Spending in the 201[2] FA class would have made last year and this year less painful, that’s about it.

            • Kyle

              “We have the new MLB TV money coming in, a portion of the video board and other ad revenues and they might be more willing to increase payroll with the WGN portion coming up after next year. I don’t think $115-$120M is accurate, heck they were willing to do $115M this year.”

              Those portions of the renovations don’t look likely to be done next year. If anything, we’re going to see even more of a squeeze on payroll due to the renovations.

              The new MLB TV money will be more than outweighed by the loss in attendance revenue. The average fan through the gates at Wrigley spends about $110, and we’re losing hundreds of thousands of them this year.

              • hansman1982

                The video boards and ads are supposed to be done for next year. I’m hoping the Ricketts take the hotel on as a Ricketts Family enterprise, I’m hoping that the full weight of the Arizona and DR projects is what ate up the “missing money” from this and last season.

                I do think we will be heavy on Choo and active in the trade market.

                • Kyle

                  The video board money is going to be paying for the renovations itself for the first few years.

                  The Dominican money cleared off last year and it didn’t show up in this year’s payroll, and Epstein just said today he didn’t leave anything off the table.

                  I’ve never seen any confirmation that the Cubs have spent a dime in Arizona.

                  • hansman1982

                    This from (and something I have seen elsewhere as well)

                    “The entire facility including a city park, stadium, clubhouse and practice diamonds, carries a price tag of $99 million. The City of Mesa pitched in $84 million as part of the agreement to keep the Cubs in Arizona instead of allowing a threatened move to Florida.”

                    • Kyle

                      My understanding is that the city agreed to pay $84 million for the construction and $15 million for the infrastructure upgrades around them. Until the costs overrun $99m, I don’t believe the Cubs are paying anything.

        • Edwin

          I don’t really see the Cubs farm system getting that much better during the trade deadline. Who do the Cubs have to trade of any real value? I think the value of the farm system really depends on how the draft goes for the Cubs, and how much the current players progress.

          • hansman1982

            By then, we will add someone to the Baez/Soler/Almora group and another 2-3 to the Johnson/Vizcaino/Vogelbach/other typical 4-10 ranked guys (this would assume typical drop-offs, add-ons and trade pick ups).

            I’m probably being a tad optimistic.

            • Rudy

              Could be in for a surprise breakout type too. I could see/hope Alacantra catapults up the rankings!

            • Edwin

              Fair enough. I’m usually pessamistic when it comes to prospects and farm systems.

              • hansman1982

                Ya, in looking at it more objectively, I’d say Baez joins the second group, our draft pick joins the first. Vizcaino gets injured again, Johnson get’s injured, our trade returns are crap and we suck forever!

    • YourResidentJag

      Hate to say this but I have this sinking feeling Stanton will be a Met next year. Nice to dream though.

  • Koyie Hill Sucks

    Anyone know how long the delay will be?

  • Rizzo44

    Scheduled to start at 1:15ET, 12:15CT.

  • MightyBear

    I like Castro batting 3rd and Rizzo batting 4th. I think Dale should do this more often. I think Schierholtz would be better at 2 and get on base more than Castro. Castro, Rizzo and Sori could drive them in.

    • JulioZuleta

      I like them as 2-3, but that’s a whole different argument. I don’t think you should move them to fit Borbon in. If Dale prefers them at 3-4, I could buy that. I just don’t like shuffling guys for a one day thing like this.

      • JOE

        I agree, especially in Starlin’s case, that moving your top hitters to accommodate a bench bat is not ideal. I would, however, be in support of moving Rizzo around to hit either 4th or 5th while he’s struggling, just to see if a small change like that could be enough to snap him out of his slump. The obvious problem with that, however, is that he’s the only guy in the lineup that has the mold of a number 3 hitter.

      • baseballet

        rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic

  • Jp3

    King Jeff!!! I told you about Uverse the other and while its an awesome service I found out today that while I get CSN Chicago because I live 5miles from Atlanta Braves park they black out the Cubs games😪. Maybe living in Florida you’d have better luck than me as far as which games get blacked out but who knows. Anyways sorry for getting your hopes up before you switch.

  • Kyle

    Epstein in a WSCR670 interviewed, paraphrased by blogger on Twitter:

    “Born on 3rd CubsBlog ‏@BornOnThirdCubs 58m
    Theo “Its not a choice to look only towards the future, we have spent all the $$ available this year and last” #cubs”

    Release the hounds!

    • JulioZuleta

      Paraphrased, what’s the exact quote? I’m sure you saw the way Sullivan “paraphrased” Dale earlier this week.

      • Kyle

        I didn’t hear the interview, so I just added that caveat to head off any debate over if he actually said it.

        • YourResidentJag

          He said they are cash strapped until additional revenue streams come into play. Nothing new. He’s committed to signing big FAs depending on whether they fit the mold. I got the sense he seemed a tad bit frustrated. Oh yeah, he’s a Led Zepplin fan.

          • DarthHater

            And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune,
            Then the piper will lead us to reason.
            And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
            And the forests will echo with laughter.

    • DarthHater


    • Bric

      Did he really say “# Cubs?”
      If so, I just lost all respect for the man and will start driving the wagon (which you’re all welcome to jump on) to run over his dead carcass and drag it out of town. Just sayin…

  • cubchymyst

    Nothing at all to due with the game, but since it is delayed found this during my lunch. Interesting article that shows how long it takes for different offensive statistics to stabilize.

  • Kramden

    So sad that Cub starting pitchers have to throw shutouts in order together a win. Has to be very discouraging for then.

  • RY

    game over, homer by frazier

  • willis

    Game over. Needed to find a way to score there in the 7th. 6,7,8 coming up in the 8th inning, then Chapman after that. Another series lost. Ho hum.

  • Jason

    Gotta score here… no chance in the 9th against Chapman

  • Chuckles

    Gah Soriano is awful.

  • willis

    Saw that coming a mile away. Soriano against Broxton-no chance. This dude is always lights out against the Cubs.

    I kind of don’t like giving up an out to advance in that situation…especially with a cold PH coming in next. I would have rather Ransom swing away I think. Just hate giving outs as bad as this team is in the clutch.

  • Rebuilding

    I get all of the Soriano is a good teammate, he’s been mistreated by the fans, etc… But when you see things like that it just frustrates the hell out of you. Has he one time ever shortened up his swing in that position? It’s like he’s completely oblivious to the situation

    • willis

      Terrible Sveum-esque decision to bring him in. Not a good person to have up in that situation.

  • willis

    Everyone with a 1/10 a brain knew Soriano would strike out there. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He can’t catch up to that heat when in a game, let along coming in off the pine. Dumb decision to bat him there.

  • Rebuilding

    Just unbelievable. Choo earlier and now Cozart make the best plays they are going to make all year. Ugh

    • AB

      Why don’t you clutter up the comments and make another 9-10 posts about it to really drive home your point.

      • Rebuilding

        Huh? I commented on two great plays. What was the problem with that?

        • Edwin

          I’m assuming he meant to reply to Willis, and willis’s obsession with Soriano.

  • Chuckles

    I agree, bringing in Fonzy in that situation is basically just pissing the game away. This is clearly a throw away year though so I’m not going to ride the organization too hard for continuing to employ an idiot manager.

  • http://bleachernation allen

    Soriano is almost guaranteed to strike out in that situation. He is absolutely terrible in late game at bats in close games against the other teams bullpen. Can’t stand watching that shit

    • TWC

      That’s just factually untrue.

      Soriano’s career line is .273/.323/.504 w/ a 21% K rate. His line in “late & close” situations (per is .266/.332/.458 w/ a 27% K rate. His K rate for PAs w/in 1 run is 21%.

      • willis

        He can’t catch up to heat like Broxton’s with his approach, especially coming in cold. We’ve seen it as fans for years now. Sure he’s had some late game moments in his time here, but coming in like that against someone with heat…no chance. It was easy to predict.

        • TWC

          “It was easy to predict.”

          … in hindsight.

          • willis

            Think what you want, but when Soriano was announced, I think many of us knew a K was coming.

            I know the options are limited, but you need contact there. Almost any kind of contact, he was the wrong batter for that situation and now the Cubs will lose.

            • TWC

              “Think what you want, but when Soriano was announced, I think many of us knew a K was coming.”

              That’s because we’re Cubs fans. We’re fatalists.

              • hansman1982

                Ya, even if the clone of 1946 Ted Williams and 1927 Babe Ruth was coming to the plate, we’d all be wondering how bad he was going to screw it up.

          • hansman1982

            No, he just is too lazy of a bum of a ballplayer to be clutchitude. I mean, he has no Belly Fire, his sCRAP+ is -156. Soriano just needs to be cut.

            Oh, and he smelt of elderberries.

            • DarthHater


  • Chuckles

    I mean hindsight is 20/20 of course, but even the casual Cubs fan knows Soriano is anti-clutch.

  • Rebuilding

    I’ll say it again – out of all of our “flippable” pieces, Russell might well bring the biggest return. He’s looking as good as Marshall