wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs head back to Wrigley Field to take on a team better than the Marlins – but only slightly. The Cubs feature their “versus a lefty” lineup again today, and I think tonight’s the night that Scott Hairston actually puts a good game together. Of course I have no basis for this conclusion. Just a feeling. You know, a feeling based on a thing I want to see happen. The reliable kind of feeling.

Game Info

San Diego Padres (9-15) at Chicago Cubs (9-15), 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.

Starting Pitchers

Clayton Richard (0-2, 7.94 ERA, 0.82 K/BB)


Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.03 ERA, 3.90 K/BB)

San Diego Padres Lineup

1. Everth Cabrera, SS

2. Chris Denorfia, RF

3. Chase Headley, 3B

4. Carlos Quentin, LF

5. Yonder Alonso, 1B

6. Jedd Gyorko, 2B

7. Will Venable, CF

8. Nick Hundley, C

9. Clayton Richard, 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. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • Die hard

    Barney is never going to see good pitches batting 8th and as a result could be in this slump for a long time

    • Rich H

      Would you rather him bat in front of Hairston? Wait that wont work either.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Barney is not going to see good pitches to hit until he stops swinging at bad pitches. Pitchers will get him out on pitches a few inches outside of the strike zone wherever Barney bats.

  • Rich H

    Here is to hoping that Fantasy reports are wrong and Gyorko is not figuring it out. Here is also to hoping that Headley really scuffs it up and by the AllStar break is trade bait.

  • King Jeff

    Oh, I see a lefty with an absurdly high ERA, we should be able to take care of that, right?

  • Kenster

    I forgot Richard was a lefty… oh well, sigh, palm, face…
    Hopefully these platoons will finally click but I say that every game

  • mudge

    LaRussa would bat Barney 9th.

    • TWC

      Over the course of a full season, batting the pitcher 8th is worth ~ 1.2 wins (IIRC).

      Never understood why that wasn’t done more frequently.

      • Drew7

        That seems a bit high – I was thinking 2-3 *runs*. I could be mistaken though.

        • TWC

          I really can’t remember for sure. Anyone have that chapter of The Book handy?

  • Die hard

    Yes- with lead off hitter behind him he sees better pitches

  • Koyie Hill Sucks

    I don’t know why Valbuena sits against left handed pitcher, he actually has better numbers than against RHP…

  • TWC

    Dave fracking Sappelt is leading off. Again. With an OBP of .219.

    That’s awesome.

    • Spencer

      It’s cool dude. He mashes lefties.

      • TWC

        Dave Sappelt doesn’t mash anything other than his fingers on the screen of his iPhone when he types out his inane blather.

    • TWC

      And — trust me, I know — sample size sample size sample size. I mean, I hope he goes 4-for-4, I really do. But he won’t.

      Given this lineup, I’d probably put Soriano at the top, put Sappelt down at #7 or #8, and bump everyone else up a spot.

      Yeah, I know. But he *did* hit a lot of HRs as a leadoff guy…

      • Spencer

        I’d put DeJesus at the top.

        • TWC

          Yeah, I would, too. I was just going with the 9 that are already penciled in.

          Thing is w/ DeJesus is that his splits aren’t *insanely* different. His slugging takes a huge hit (>100 points), but his OBP is only 32 points lower against lefties.

          • TWC

            Uh, nope. Bad math. OBP is 42 points lower against lefties. I guess I’ll go back to work.

          • Spencer

            And when it comes to DDJ, I care way more about OBP and pitches per appearance than I do about his slugging.

            • willis

              Well, the hard headed leader unfortunately isn’t going to move from his platooning, let alone his ridiculous lineups.

              .219 at leadoff is just again, bad management in action.

              • Koyie Hill Sucks

                Valbuena should also be in there, his numbers are actually better against LHP…

                • Die hard

                  Looks like Sveum considers platooning as resting regulars but if Castro Soriano Rizzo Barney play every inning then that’s not rest

    • Billy boycott

      Must be another one of svuems man crushes.. Ala Joe Mather, I thought B-Lill and Fail Svuem had an intense bromance going on too, but they must’ve had a pretty bad lovers quarrell since he got demoted… And I know the original plan was to platoon in RF but Nate S. hasn’t been bad in his career vs. lefties and he’s been one of the Cubs best hitters overall so far this year so I don’t see why the tame flame frail svuem can’t adjust the plan with the offense struggling so bad and try him in the lineup against terrible lefties at least.. I mean hell, bat him eighth even, and try leading off Castro and batting Barney second so he can see some fastballs and maybe get him going a little bit.. For Miserable Cubs fans sakes try something different, shake it up!!

      • Drew7

        Castro-Barney wouldn’t be the worst 1-2 possibility, but it’d be pretty darn close.

  • Werner

    You have successfully roped me back in again, Cubs. How shall you break my heart tonight? Cody Ransom flail? Sappelt suckitude? Oh no, it’s a Kevin Gregg/Marmol one-two kidney punch. That’s going to be it, isn’t it?

  • college_of_coaches

    FWIW, the I-Cubs are facing Randy Wells tonight.

  • Mr. Immediate Over-reaction

    Sveum is a genius!

  • fortyonenorth

    I’ve got the Bulls on CSN tonight – anyone know where the Cubs are?

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      They’re on the alternate CSN channel. On direct TV CSN is 665, Cubs are on 666.

    • fortyonenorth

      OK – found them on CLTV.

  • Jp3

    Great to see Haiston get just over the halfway point to the Mendoza line, that’s encouraging.

    • another JP

      And then he GIDP on a 3-1 count, 1st & 2nd, none out by pulling it to Headley at third. Not exactly winning baseball.

    • Jp3

      Yeah I was def being sarcastic. If Dale won’t demote Hairston, nobody deserves to get demoted… Except for Lillibridge of course.

      • Drew7

        So we’re just gonna ignore an .812 OPS against lefties in nearly 1,000 PA’s?

        This is the exact reason platoons rarely work: managers decide to dump the strategy after a small amount of PA’s in favor of the “hot-hand”.

        • Jp3

          I hear what you’re saying drew7 but by that same rational hank Aaron hit a lot of HRs against everyone but that doesn’t mean he can still do it now… Last year he did hit 20 HRs but his OBP was just under .300. Not too impressive in my book, maybe ok for us but not for an average major league RF

          • Drew7

            “I hear what you’re saying drew7 but by that same rational hank Aaron hit a lot of HRs against everyone but that doesn’t mean he can still do it now…”

            Hairston posted an .867 OPS against LHP *last year*. I’m sure you see the flaw in that analogy.

            And you’re correct: a sub .300 OPS certainly isn’t ideal, but once you pair it with a .550 SLG%, it becomes more than tolerable for a guy platooning and hitting towards the bottom of the order.

            • Jp3

              “Scott Hairston (4%) is better used against lefties or in fantasy leagues that award points for chin size. In almost 800 plate appearances against lefties, Hairston’s slash line is .282/.334/.510”-per fangraphs. Love he gets additional points for chin size, I know I’m living in a dream world but why are we settling for mediocrity. You’re right about its a small sample size but he’s 33yr old, at what point do you say this isn’t working?

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Drew7 has the right of it: at this point in the season, past-performance is a better predictor of future performance than is performance this year. Remember, at these tiny sample sizes and given so many players, nobody’s performance is yet beyond expectations given 2012 performance.

        • Jp3

          Not saying we have any better options though Drew, just pathetic it came down to pick 2 average RFs that you can platoon

  • willis

    Another solid performance by Sappelt I see.

    Lord have mercy.

    • Anonnifan

      If your looking for Mercy, you’ll have to pick a different team to root for.

    • Jason

      He should be gone for Bogusevic or Sweeney. I don’t really see Sappelt turning it around since he hit like .260 in AAA last year.

  • Mr.Boring

    Just noticed something…. Not sure if true, but worth looking at. When Soriano swings and misses his left knee folds to the 3rd base. When he keeps that knee straight, he hit the ball. Not always a hit, not always fair…. but contact. Let’s watch to see if this is a pattern or something I just have been seeing in the past few games.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      You probably are putting the cart before the horse. That is, the knee buckling probably is caused by the missed swings, not the other way around.