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wrigley field from right bleachersWith an early season rainout of an interleague game, the Cubs and Rangers had no choice but to schedule their makeup for the best common available date at Wrigley, which is tonight. So, although the Cubs just stay at home, the Rangers have to come up from Arlington, where they played yesterday, to Chicago tonight, and then head up to Milwaukee to play tomorrow. It could be a lot worse, obviously, but it’s still probably not much fun for them.

Game Info

Texas Rangers (20-11) at Chicago Cubs (11-20), 7:05 CT on WCIU.

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. (It’s a bit old, though … )

Starting Pitchers

Nick “Vlad” Tepesch (2-2, 3.54 ERA, 1.179 WHIP)

versus

Scott Feldman (2-3, 3.34 ERA, 1.281 WHIP)

Texas Rangers Lineup

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Elvis Andrus, SS

3. Adrian Beltre, 3B

4. Nelson Cruz, RF

5. Mitch Moreland, 1B

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. David Murphy, LF

8. Leonys Martin, CF

9. Nick Tepesch, 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. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Scott Feldman, P

  • King Jeff

    So, a WGN telecast gets rained out, and the makeup game is a WCIU broadcast. Sonavab****.

    • HoustonTransplant

      Never thought I’d be excited to watch a Rangers game down here. Huzzah for Cubs baseball on TV in Houston, regardless of channel!

    • Jimmy james

      First year I get this channel so I can’t join you in complaining….I can however feel your pain

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I believe they traded a subsequent broadcast.

    • Caleb

      What the hell is wciu?

      • Cubbie Blues

        A local Chicago station that somehow gets way too many broadcasts.

        • hansman1982

          Whats the odds they get the entire WGN portion after 2014

          • Cubbie Blues

            I hope they are about the same as no beer at ball games.

  • Mike

    Sveum’s same old line up, same old results.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Altering the order is not going to change much. And it’s not like anybody on the Cubs bench or AAA roster represents a better alternative.

  • Dougy D

    Damn, Brett, you shouldn’t have linked us to the series preview again. I had forgotten about the manly she-view until now.

  • gratefulled

    Well, how about some good news?

    Went to the I-Cubs game today and Garza’s arm doesn’t seem to be tired anymore. He mainly was throwing his fastball which was constantly in the 90’s. Pitched out of a bit of trouble and was overall a nice rehab start.

    GO CUBS!!!

  • Die hard

    Wonder if Ranger scouts watching Garza?

  • cubmig

    …….ah shit. I’m gonna predict a Cubs win……..what-the-hell……..may as well spill some of my own blood going against the grain.

  • Die hard

    9 LOB already!!!!! That is mgrs fault for not making moves to get that runner in

    • Drew7

      Or 4.

      I suppose “9” could mean “4” in Die-hardian – I’m certainly not fluent in that language.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      You should tell people what they are. Managers throughout history would have loved to known these secrets.

      • Rebuilding

        You guys have surely had your sarcasm/intentionally ridiculous siren go off on DieHard by now

        • MichiganGoat

          Of course we do but it’s still necessary to reply sometimes. But I’m so sure he isn’t 100% serious.

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    We have crossed the Die Hard line. Win guaranteed.

  • Die hard

    6 is the tkt to ride

  • Die hard

    Would Garza accept a trade to cross town rivals? Gavin Floyd is history

    • Chad

      I don’t think he has a choice. I don’t believe he has a no-trade clause. However, do the sox have the prospects the cubs are after?

      • cas-castro

        No, but I’m sure all the sox prospects have TWTW that Hawk keeps talking about.

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      I would veto it.

  • Chad

    2 out rally. Where has that been all year?

    • hansman1982

      Have you not been watching nearly most of half of the 9th innings this year? They get all kinds of 2-out rallies then.

      • Chad

        Well 2 out rallies where it actually matters and they actually score runs. An no I have not watched many games due to the suckiness and my schedule, but the few I have caught haven’t been 2 out rallies, but more rallies and then 3 straight pathetic attempts at scoring (aka the game against the reds the other day).

        This was a true 2 out rally.

  • willis

    I’m loving this, and who the hell is this Feldman guy? He’s been lights out two starts in a row.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I’m so glad it’s on wciu so I don’t get to watch it. :(

  • Can’t think of a cool name

    Remember when everyone wanted to send Feldman to the bullpen. Not me, look it up. Okay, I’m lying. I wanted him in the bullpen. Looking good Mr. Feldman.

  • Rebuilding

    I’m going to be bold and say we are one of the best 12-20 teams ever. Not going to research it though. Rizzo looks really good at the plate right now

    • Beardface

      I agree.

    • Beardface

      Everything has been there with the exception of a bullpen and and a little better early game scoring.

  • Kyle

    Weren’t the pitchforks out for Feldman not two weeks ago?

    • Chad

      I believe everyone wanted him gone, and now everyone wants Jackson in the BP. Wait til he throws a no-no in his next start. Then it will be Samardzija to the closer’s role. Ha!

    • Rebuilding

      Jackson and Feldman are so inconsistent. With Jackson you can see why he’s bounced around so much. As much as I’m a fan of advanced metrics, Jackson is just not as good as his peripherals. He always does just enough to have a good FIP and still not pitch great. With Feldman, if he has a feel for his breaking stuff he looks like a #2, if not he gets beaten around. Don’t think either guy has it between the ears enough to be more than a #4 or 5 no matter how good their stuff looks like sometimes

      • Rebuilding

        I’ll throw this out there – I realize they were ultimately signed to be a #4 and a flippable asset, respectively. So that’s fine. The rotation is the least of this team’s problems

  • Jason P

    Maddening how good some of the offensive stat lines are on this team, yet were going to be 12-20. Valbuena has an OPS in the upper .800’s right now, same with Schierholtz, Dejesus, and Rizzo. Nice to see a game like this, though.

    • Rebuilding

      To be fair – this team is probably 16-16 or 17-15 with a league average bullpen and a better manager (don’t fire away – that’s just my opinion on Sveum)

      • Jason P

        I’ve mostly defended Sveum, but someone remind me why our best reliever is in in a 7-0 game?

        • Cubbie Blues

          Because anyone else would give Feldman a no decision.

          • Jp3

            Ha!!!!! Funny, we sent Loe down so that’s one option gone, now all we have left that can blow a big lead is… Camp, Marmol…. Oh never mind too many to count.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        This seems to be a popular conception, but if Cubs games ended after 6 innings, they would be 12-17 with 3 ties. If the final outcome was “extra” innings, then they’d be 14-18. They are 12-5 in games in which they hold the lead at any point after the 6th inning.

        Now, 5 loses when you are leading after 6 innings is not good, at least not this early in the season. But having the lead in only 12 of 32 games after 6 innings is pretty awful.

        • Rebuilding

          Sounds great, if you’re a robot. With a lights out closer there are 3 games specifically we would have won. With an 8th inning guy that would be 5. I like the fact that you picked 6 since the Cubs, for whatever reason, have seemed to score runs late. I know the stats will even out over time, but are you seriously arguing the team couldn’t have won 4 more games so far with a decent bullpen? Or is that not logical

  • willis

    I think would have pulled Feldman at 102 with a great stat line. Let’s see how this 8th goes though.

    • willis

      whoops…

      • João Lucas

        What happened to him? I’m following on GameDay only.

        • cas-castro

          Feldman left the game with cramps in his hand. Or so they speculated on the broadcast.

          • João Lucas

            Oh, okay, doesn’t sound too bad. Thanks.

    • Jason P

      These are the kinds of games we should be using the Michael Bowden’s or Sean Camp’s. Why use Russell now?

      • Mike

        Agreed. Up 7-0, no reason to use one of the few of our best bullpen arms.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    The EBS will be late tonight/tomorrow morning thanks to a series of flight delays.

    • Diesel

      I hate flight delays. When I am Captain I will do everything I can to minimize flight delays. We fly to Columbus from time to time. It would be awesome to have you on one of my flights

  • Rebuilding

    I think Sveum is going to play this like Game 7 of the World Series after the run they’ve been on. And honestly I can’t blame him

  • Believe in 2015

    Bulls win + Cubs win = Me very happy

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      If only the sox lost.

  • Mike

    I’d also like to know why, up 7 to nothing, why Soriano batted a fourth time. Why not bring in Sweeney or Borbon to hit for him and play the last inning in the outfield…save those knees a little. I know Soriano just hit a home run in that last at-bat, but still doesn’t really make sense. Oh, well, I am talking about Sveum.

    • Mike

      Correction: Rizzo homer, Soriano struck out. Watch him play the outfield now in the ninth. Makes no friggin’ sense.

      • Mike

        Ok, I was wrong about Sveum this time…Sweeney in left for Soriano in the 9th.

  • Rebuilding

    Rizzo seems to have figured it out. This guy is going to be a monster. His raw power is ridiculous. And now he’s starting to fight off lefties like a pro

    • Drew7

      Before today’s game, Rizzo’s LD%, slg%, ISO, and BB-rate were all lower this month than they were in April. The difference? His BABIP was at .222 at the end of April. May? .438.

      He’s been hitting the cover off of the ball pretty consistently all year. Those balls that were finding gloves last month are finally starting to fall.

      • jt

        Over the past 10 games (excluding tonight) Rizzo walked 5 times in 39 PA’s. In his previous 90 PA’s he walked 7 times. Seems his recent BB rate (that of the current hot streak) has risen.
        In these recent 39 PA’s he has K’d 5 times; the previous 90 saw him K 26 times. Seems his K rate has dramatically declined.
        It wouldn’t have anything to do with Rizzo not taking knee high strikes or stopping swinging at shoulder high fastballs?
        It wouldn’t have anything to do with him being able to successfully take the ball to left?
        Almost 2 weeks ago JD mentioned that they adjusted his swing a bit. I don’t know the techno reasons but perhaps that has had a bit to do with it?
        *
        You are looking for reason to justify “luck”. It does not work that way. You have to look at the whole picture…all the data.

        • Drew7

          I’m no statistician, but I’ll play this game:

          1) In his last 27 PA’s, Rizzo has walked twice and K’d 4 times.

          2) But if we stick to your sample of 10-game BB and K- rates, though it certainly show a marked improvement, it includes 7 games against the Marlins and Padres – 2 teams with pretty bad pitching. It also conveniently omits the 1st Marlins game, where Rizzo turned in a hearty 0-4, 3K game.

          2) He could be laying off those pitches you speak of, but I dont know of a way to look at individual-game heat-maps and PitchFX data. I have my doubts, but if you know of a way to find out I’d genuinely be happy to see it.

          As for him going to left: I’m not sure how to break that down game-by-game, but Fan graphs has him tallying 5 opposite-field hits all year, so I doubt it.

          You’re looking for a way to support the idea that he’s suddenly “turned it on” by using tiny sample sizes and convenient endpoints – it doesn’t work that way.
          Could there have been a mechanical change? Sure.
          Could he simply be feasting on lesser pitching? Certainly.
          Could his BABIP be beginning to regress (progress?) towards the mean? Probably.

          • Anonnifan

            I have a way to check if Rizzo is laying off those pitches. Watch the fucking games. Good call JT, Rizzo has definately made an adjustment at the plate, and he looks like a new player. Top ten in the league in Homers and RBIs, and I really don’t feel like we are getting Dubois’d this time.

          • jt

            if you are looking at the game logs then look at the column for OPS. Look for a low point. That is a point of inflection. Data is not calender dependent. Data changes when it changes. Look how much it changes day to day. That is the gradient of the curve. The steeper the gradient, the more dramatic the change. The longer the length along the x-axis the more the tendency toward determinism. Indeed, that is the way it does work. The time line for Rizzo’s change is now 11 games. Does that in and of itself define a new Rizzo? No! It does, however, indicate a trend to watch.
            *
            You are correct to consider such factors as quality of pitching, park factors etc.
            But empirical observation should also be considered. You mentioned the LD rate but failed to consider the K rate. You mentioned the BABIP but failed to consider the % of PA’s in the ball was in fact put in play. Was there an increase to pitch count per PA. Was there an increase in foul balls which could indicate he was spoiling pitches he was formally taking as strikes.
            You say FanGraphs has him with 5 hits to left field all year. Does that include the 2 he had last night. He now has had 32 hits all year. 9 of the hits were HR or balls not in play. When were those hits? During the rough stretch he had 3 weeks ago Rizzo was quoted as saying that coaches are getting him to hit more to left center and left and that he liked that approach.
            Where were his outs with ball in play in his first 90 PA’s? Were many weak ground balls to second base as a result of his wrist rolling over on pulled outside pitches.
            *
            On April 21 Rizzo had an OPS of 0.842. It was SLG dependent. He had just hit 3 HR’s in 4 games before going through a period of 1 hit in 19 PA’s.
            Going into last nights game his OPS was 0.848 and was more balanced with OBP.
            This is not regression toward a medium. This is a medium reached through change. The guy is young and relatively new to the league. He is still learning his craft. Pitchers are still learning about him. I mean, that is what the game is about.

  • cas-castro

    Sweeney is in the game in left in the 9th.

  • Can’t think of a cool name

    Christian and single or a Viet Nam bride, I can’t decide. Where’s that date an older woman ad?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I get that one all the time. I keep hoping that my wife doesn’t see it….

  • willis

    Boom, winner.

  • Mike

    In other news, Ian Stewart, officially optioned to Iowa following his rehab stint there, has yet to report back to the Iowa Cubs since the Friday demotion. He has/had until tonight to report.

    • willis

      And Rogers just put something out regarding it.

      http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/16712/stewart-takes-surprise-break-from-i-cubs

      He takes him on a little, about as much as he probably can. Like he said, and like many said last night, this is repeat behavior and this guy’s commitment to the team is comical. His attitude sucks and he’s a shit influence on the young kids who are actually attempting to become ballplayers. I just wish they would kick him. Fuck the money, just kick him.

      • Mike

        Yeah, I’m not thrilled with him, either. But, if they are stuck playing him, I say, bounce him around every minor league team we have, and play him all over the friggin field….re-pay him for his b.s. behavior, and, hopefully, he will just forfeit his contract and not play at all. Unless Stewart has a legitimate personal concern outside of baseball, I think he should just retire until he can get his s&%$ together.

  • gratefulled

    Cubs are a half game up on both the Angels and the Blue Jays, and only 2 games behind the Dodgers. Kinda puts things in perspective.

    • jt

      Yeah, they too have some good players.
      And they too suck!

  • Dustin S

    Great game all-around, Feldman was lights-out again, Rizzo has been on fire, and it was nice to see some hits with runners on. I’ll also give Dolis a pass on tonight because they probably told him to just throw strikes since they were up 9. It was nice to have a lopsided win for a change.

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