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wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs have won four in a row, and after today’s win, it’ll be five. AMIRITE?

Matt Garza makes his third start for the Cubs, after mixed results in his first two outings. He’s got great stuff so far, though. You can’t argue with that.

David DeJesus draws the rare (but increasingly less rare) start against a lefty.

Game Info

Arizona Diamondbacks (30-23) at Chicago Cubs (22-30), 1:20 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

Wade Miley (3-4, 4.53 ERA, 6.55 K/9)

versus

Matt Garza (0-0, 4.00 ERA, 12.00 K/9)

Arizona Diamondbacks Lineup

1. Gerardo Parra, CF

2. Didi Gregorius, SS

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Miguel Montero, C

5. Martin Prado, 3B

6. Jason Kubel, LF

7. Cody Ross, RF

8. Cliff Pennington, 2B

9. Wade Miley, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Scott Hairston, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Cody Ransom, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Matt Garza, P

  • MikeW

    Their cleanup hitter with a sub 600 OPS. Awesome.

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

      His GRIT is well over .900

  • kgd

    Isn’t Garza’s ERA 4.00 right now, not 4.50?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah. Thanks. Miley’s 4.53 got stuck in my head.

  • KidCubbie

    Why not keep Valbuena in against the lefty? I thought he had good splits against them.

    • TWC

      Over 90% of Valbuena’s PAs this season have come against RH pitchers; ~85% of his career PAs have come against RHPs.

  • Schrodinger’s Cat

    Breakout game for Hairston today?

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Good call.

      • Danny Ballgame

        Yes it is

    • Mark S

      Wow. You called it! Grand slam by Hairston!

      • Cyranojoe

        Holy cow! Lookit them balls flying out of Wrigley! Go Cubs!!!!

    • mudge

      Bingo

    • Schrodinger’s Cat

      Sweet! Grand slams are sexy.

  • mudge

    They have a real center fielder, no fair. Man, the White Sox played some terrible baseball. Reminded me of… never mind. Hey, let’s not run into outs today.

  • CeeDeeVee5811

    Lets give it up for Joe West for not calling the Cards game last night, despite having to call an early game at Wrigley today! As a result, 1( they lost. 2) It may affect them tonight. 3) Lets hope they go on a 5 game losing streak :)

    • Rich H

      If they would have called it last night I am pretty sure that there would have been an immediate grievance with MLB. They would have wiped the 2 run lead off the board for KC and gave the Cards the win because the score was 2 to 1 Cards at the end of the last full inning. So the Umps actually did the only fair option by bringing them back for the bottom of the 9th.

  • @cubsfantroy

    This is going to kill my fantasy team. To many Cubs and Dbacks. I couldn’t even bench a few of them. Hard to figure out who to root for.

  • turn two

    With the wind blowing out and guaranteeing runs scored, we can out pitch people. Theo and jed might be stick with a fake contender here i think we can reach respectable.

  • Tim

    Garza is getting hit hard today

  • Dynastyin2017

    WOW. Garza 30 pitches thru 3. He has single innings higher than that.

  • DarthHater

    On mlb.com Gameday, they give each pitch a “nasty factor.” Anybody know what the “nasty factor” is supposed to measure? ;-)

    • hansman1982

      It’s a complex formula that factors in such things as break, velocity, and boredom of the person entering it.

      Typically, high scores mean that the operator is asleep.

      • DarthHater

        I thought maybe it measured how close the pitch was to the batter’s head.

        • hansman1982

          That may be a part of it, scholars maintain that the rules behind it were lost generations ago…

    • Kyle

      Something about how hard similar pitches have been to hit in the past.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    Grand Salami!!! Couldn’t get men home with a rope and cheese trail, now we are pumping runs on the board like 39 Yankees…ok, carried that too far.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    Boom boom boom!

  • DocPeterWimsey

    OK, DBack pitchers: save some of these pitches for the rest of the weekend! (Of course, Miley has been pitching poorly lately, both in results and peripherals.)

  • Schrodinger’s Cat

    See a sub .500 team that isn’t expected to win anything, but hits a bunch of home runs and has a good pitcher going everyday for $10 on stub hub? Yes, please.

  • Alex

    Has garza always wiggled his fingers in his glove before he throws? Anyone else notice that?

  • BubblesHargrave

    This may sound crazy to you, but I wager we would only be 2 games out of first if it weren’t for terrible managing. I feel like there were at least 6 games Sveum lost by poor bullpen management, using Marmol to close, etc…and at least 4 or 5 games lost to poor lineup management and in game decision making. That I’m saying is I think this is an above .500 team without Sveum at the helm. Was it that obvious to anyone else?

    • TWC

      No.

      • DarthHater

        No? You mean it doesn’t sound crazy to you? :-P

        • TWC

          Of, definitely crazy. But no, it’s not obvious.

          Thing about all the “Sveum sucks at bullpens/lineups/decisions” complaints is that Sveum *not* making the decision that he did at the time doesn’t, like, magically change the outcome of the game. It just *potentially* changes the outcome of the situation at the time. Putting Camp in rather than Bowden doesn’t mean that Bowden doesn’t blow the game. Having Schierholtz be pulled for Hairston in the 7th doesn’t somehow mean that Sveum caused Scheirholtz to *not* hit a game winning HR.

          • JOE

            ^ Yeah that was the point I was trying to make, too… you put it in better terms. Thank you lol

            • MichiganGoat

              This is just revisionist fandom… fans do this after every loss. If only XYZ happened then we would have won, then the fandom needs a goat to put the blame on (sometimes quite literally QUIT BLAMING US GOAT) and often it’s a manager or coach and sometimes a player. Losses (and Wins) happen for a variety reasons and people but someone always has to be the goat (sigh).

              • DarthHater
                • MichiganGoat

                  Is that a new one? I saw a list like that last year. They are just so expensive at the ballpark.

              • Rebuilding

                Not trying to be flippant, but given this line of thinking how do you ever judge a manager? If the standard is oh well, Sveum made a bad decision but we may have lost anyway then why would he ever get fired? I understand that there is no good way to objectively judge a manager. For me, Sveum struggles with tactical part of the game, while having some positives as well

                • DarthHater

                  I think if you’re talking about judging a manager for the purpose of possibly replacing him, then your judgment should take into account all the relevant factors – including what he is good at – and should factor in whether you can replace him with somebody who is going to be better overall than the guy you are replacing.

                  If you think there are specific areas of managing where a particular manager is struggling, then I suppose the team’s FO could try to give some other coach greater responsibility over that area, but unless the manager is very humble, that might be tricky in terms of clubhouse politics.

                  • Rebuilding

                    True. Sveum strikes me as a player’s coach. The kind of guy that hits fungoes and takes ground balls with the guys and seems to get them to play hard. It doesn’t seem like there have really been any clubhouse issues to speak of. I think since he is fairly young and this is his first gig he might not have enough sway/ego to reject a guy that’s maybe a little more “cerebral” on the bench

              • hansman1982

                And even after a few wins…

                • Rebuilding

                  I couldn’t be happier about the way we are playing and have really enjoyed the last few days. Now that we have clawed our way to 7 games under are we not allowed to discuss whether Sveum is the best guy to lead this team when we are where we want to be?

          • BT

            I’ve been trying to make this point for more than 10 years. As long as there is sports talk radio and internet message boards, it won’t take.

            • MichiganGoat

              Everyone wants to blame somebody

    • JOE

      Perhaps you are right in saying that there were games this year in which Sveum’s decisions contributed to the Cubs losing; however, if you are going to argue from that standpoint, then you have to also consider there are potentially games that have been won this year due in large part to his decisions, as well. Therefore, those 6 or so games that you say Sveum lost would have to be balanced in part by the games he has won. This is a team that, from the get-go, did not project to compete. I do believe we can play well and surprise some people, but I would be astonished if we sniffed first place at any point this season, no matter who is at the helm.

      • DarthHater

        Sorry, Joe, but you don’t seem to understand the rule of elementary logic that the only factors that count are the ones that support the conclusion you are trying to reach. ;-)

        • JOE

          Ah, shucks… You’re right I didn’t factor that in ha

    • hansman1982

      Mmm, considering every manager we have had for the entire time I have been a Cubs fan has been the single dumbest manager in history and the sole reason they haven’t contended, I’m guessing you’re crazy.

  • Rebuilding

    Do I think we would be a “couple” of games better with a pre-dementia Tony LaRussa at the helm – yes. I think Sveum has been pretty shaky with some bullpen and situational decisions. With that said I do like his use of platoon advantage and defensive shifts and the fact that we do seem to generally play hard. It would have been easy to lose this team after the losing streak and we have responded. I think overall he might be well served to have a tactician bench coach to handle that part of the game

  • http://deleted bubbleshargrave

    agree. i just find it unforgivable using marmol in all those close situations and not holding him accountable.

    • Rebuilding

      In Sveum’s defense, Marmol was really forced on him as the closer early to build trade value

      • MichiganGoat

        Exactly that might have been the FO giving him the order. “Use him again we need to get him on a streak so we can get a minor prospect in return.”

    • TWC

      Not holding him accountable? Like, say, taking away his role as the team’s closer?

      • DarthHater

        When did the word “accountable” become synonymous with whining, anyway? I think maybe you hippies started it during the Bush administration. ;-)

  • http://deleted bubbleshargrave

    telling him that he’s no longer closing and then using him to close a few days later is not holding him accountable. plus sveum said he’s never received instructions from anyone on how to manage the team. are you guy’s related to sveum or something?

    • DarthHater

      Telling a guy that he is no longer the team’s designated closer who will regularly be used almost exclusively in save situations is not the same as telling him that he will never again be used in a save situation. Every pitcher on every team has to be available for use in any situation as needed. To expect anything different would be silly.

    • Rebuilding

      Not related, but wish I had the gene for that stubble. Until Gregg showed up there was no one else who had closed before or pitched in the US. It was only natural to start with Marmol and frankly whether the FO specifically told him to or not Sveum can read the papers – he knew full well that The FO would want Marmol to build trade value

  • http://deleted bubbleshargrave

    not at the expense of a chance to win you wouldn’t use him. tired argument.

    • TWC

      Then stop making it.

    • DarthHater

      Okay, I didn’t realize that “holding a pitcher accountable” actually means “only using him when bubbleshargrave thinks it’s okay.” Who knew?

  • http://deleted bubbleshargrave

    typical examples of clueless cubs fans

    • TWC

      Seriously, let’s break this repartee for a sec, and answer me truly: what do you have against the reply button?

      • DarthHater

        It smells funny.

      • DarthHater

        You know, for a hippie, you’re very rigid and rules-bound.

        • TWC

          I don’t have rules. I have a code.

          1. There can be only one.
          2. You are Safe Only on Holy Ground.
          3. No two against one.

          • DarthHater

            The first rule of TWC Club is you do not talk about TWC Club…

          • MichiganGoat

            Mine is simpler: BEER

            • DarthHater

              We use words like honor, code, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ‘em as a punchline.

              • MichiganGoat

                I do not joke about beer

  • http://deleted bubbleshargrave

    i’m sorry that being a cub’s fan all these years has made you so cynical and rude twc. for some of us its’ been a more positive experience. also i’m sorry you have so much affection for a player who has lost so many games for your team. i know life is perplexing. it’ll get better.

    • DarthHater

      Disagreeing with your constant sniveling about “accountability” is not the same as defending Marmol, brainiac.

    • TWC

      For reals? I am *not* cynical; I’m really quite positive. Aren’t *you* the one pooping on all things Sveum?! I find cynicism to be repulsively tiring, and I avoid folks who dwell in that dark place (well, sometimes I poke fun at them, too). I have a wonderful life with wonderful friends. I live in an amazingly beautiful small town, surrounded by mountains, on the edge of the largest ocean in the world. I’m a very happy, incredibly fortunate person, and I strive to remember that every day.

      • Die hard

        Your quite the expert on poopin Mr whole bran

        • TWC

          Lots of oatmeal w/ dried fruit in the morning, pal!

      • BubblesHargrave

        Well, I apologize for saying that. It just seems that any time I say something critical of Sveum you jump all over me for it. Really the only time I get on here to comment is when I’m frustrated with Sveum and want to vent about it. Today was one of those days. Their latest winning streak just reminds me of all the other games they could of won with better bullpen management in my opinion. It sounds like you live in a nice place. What coast?

        • TWC

          Please understand: with very few exceptions, my tongue is firmly lodged well inside my cheek. (And as my younger brother can tell you, even after decades, I don’t know when to quit.) The only things that I really get bent out of shape about are the things I can control, or fail to; and the Cubs, no matter how much I love them, no matter how much of my identity I feel is wrapped up in being a Cubs fan, are not one of them. So I try to appreciate the good; the bad (of which there is often much), I try to look past. Yes it gets frustrating, at times. But I do my best. I save my rage for the Cardinals.

          I live in Northern California, between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and life is generally wonderful. I hope the same for you.

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