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wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs will try to accomplish today what they should – beat the Astros in a series at Wrigley. Jeff Samardzija takes the mound and is opposed by Jordan Lyles, the 22-year-old pitcher who is becoming the guy the Astros thought they might have when they first called him up two years ago.

Not to belabor the “we’re traveling” thing, but you can assume that the Enhanced Box Score for today’s game will be delayed by a fair bit due to the “we’re traveling” thing.

Game Info

Houston Astros (29-47) at Chicago Cubs (30-43), 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

Jordan Lyles (4-1, 3.22 ERA, 3.56 FIP)

versus

Jeff Samardzija (4-7, 3.35 ERA, 3.12 FIP)

Houston Astros Lineup

1. Justin Maxwell, CF

2. Jose Altuve, 2B

3. Jason Castro, C

4. JD Martinez, LF

5. Chris Carter, 1B

6. Marc Krauss, RF

7. Matt Dominguez, 3B

8. Marwin Gonzalez, SS

9. Jordan Lyles, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Luis Valbuena, 3B

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Nate Schierholtz, RF

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

6. Ryan Sweeney, CF

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • G2Ellis

    Let’s go Cubs

  • Bryan

    Castro 3-5 w/ 2 doubles and 3 rbi today. Bold prediction. Just got a good feeling today

    • @cubsfantroy

      Jason Castro might, but not Starlin.

      • @cubsfantroy

        Missed out on the 3 rbi’s, but the rest of it I was right.

  • Deacon

    If this were Vega$, Bryan, I’d take the UNDER.

  • Die hard

    Soriano needs a smaller bat as season goes on.. His bat speed noticeably down

  • Dustin S

    Not sure what’s been more funny in today’s game; the 3 guys in the 3rd row behind home plate with ‘Marmol Sucks’ shirts on, or Len saying the next time the Cubs play the Astros again will need to be in the World Series.

  • Jp3

    Where can I get my “marmol sucks” t-shirt?

  • Kevin

    What’s the latest with DuPage County coming up with a proposal for the Cubs to build a new stadium?

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=ZrZC8Au9dVE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DZrZC8Au9dVE

    I know it’s a longshot but saving $17M annually on amusement tax along with no more Chicago politics sure sounds good.

  • Danny Ballgame

    Rizzo is heating up.

  • Die hard

    Now they are working on Castro’s fielding? A call to Dr Phil is next

  • Rebuilding

    Sweeney is certainly making DeJesus more expendable

    • Voice of Reason

      You know your team is brutal when someone posts that Sweeney is making dejesus expendable

  • Justin

    Anyone know if the Cubs have Sweeney under control for next yr too? I sure as hell hope so..

    • Danny Ballgame

      I hope that we can package him with somebody else to get a decent return

  • Headscratchin

    Barney now has his batting average above Castro. Or Castro has his average down to Barney’s, or some combination of both. Factor in Barney’s glove and right now Castro is our worst every day player.

    • willis

      Your name fits your statement. Absolutely head scratching that he has gone down the toilet like his. He has more natural talent than almost any positional Cub I have seen in my lifetime, yet he has become, well, not good. How the hell does that happen?

  • Justin

    Castro hitting like dog shit this yr has to be one of the most frustrating things I have witnessed.

  • Rizzo44

    Great offensive explosion today.. maybe more games like this? #SweeneyMVP?

  • another JP

    Schierholtz, Sweeney, & Rizzo… wow. Now that’s the way a team like the Lastros deserves to be treated.

  • Rizzo44

    RIZZZZZZZOOOOOOO!!!! Now this, is fun to watch.

  • another JP

    An 0-fer & two errors by Castro. Good thing he worked on his defense before the game today, who knows how many errors he would have had.

  • Carew

    For the love of God Dale, give Castro a day off!

    • caryatid62

      He gets one tomorrow.

  • Pat

    Sadly, I don’t think Dale is the reason Castro hasn’t had a day off. That’s usually the first thing a manager tries when a guy is slumping. Feels more like something that would come from the Marketing Dept via the front office, although I can’t imagine why since no one gives a crap about a 200 plus consecutive games streak. Between not sitting him and trying to keep him higher in the order it seems like they are trying to keep his hit totals high (“see, even in a down year he had 160 hits”)

    • another JP

      Thankfully there’s a lot of other positives going for the Cubs that can negative Castro’s poor play- Schierholtz, Ransom, Sweeney, Valbuena, Wood, Feldman, & Gregg have all having an excellent season to this point.

      And I think Starlin can recover from this funk he’s in but it might take competition from another player before it happens. As much as I like this FO, I don’t think Theo was being accurate when he said Castro hasn’t regressed. Castro isn’t just the worst position player on the Cubs right now, he’s the worst in all of baseball. If you look at today’s Fangraphs WAR rankings he’s ranked 748th out of 751 position players. The apologists for Starlin Castro should consider that before they stick up for him- and it’s not anyone else’s fault but his.

  • Mr. P

    Screw a day off, send him a real message and ship him to Iowa for a while. I’m tired of the excuses. There was no reason to miss that throw from Rizzo, it was just a lack of concentration. His head is somewhere else right now and he needs a kick in the rear.

  • TW

    Has anybody noticed how 6 of Rizzo’s 12 HRs have come off Lefties?

  • mudge

    Ryan Sweeney.

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

    Hannemann with his first pro HR tonight.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      Underwood isn’t having a nice game, though.

      • another JP

        Many people said Underwood was a raw talent but this is ridiculous. When I heard his effusive praise for Blackburn’s control it made me wonder if PB was that great or Underwood was that bad- maybe a bit of both.

    • http://deleted Obviously Sarcastic

      First of many…

  • Cheryl

    It is time for no more excuses from Castro, from Dale or from Theo. Castro needs to realize that talent is one thing and results are another. If you want Castro to be the player he could be than let him work out his problems in the minors. Other big league players have come back after a stint there. There’s no reason why he couldn’t too.

    • Kevin

      Maybe Castro needs some meds to help him focus.

    • http://deleted Obviously Sarcastic

      Forget AAA we should just cut him he’s the worst 500 hit, 23 yr old, all star of all time. He’s not supposed to have a bad season he’s supposed to be MVP by now. Lets call up Baez!!!

      • Pat

        I assume you meant former all-star. There is no reason to mock people for being concerned that he has regressed the last two years. Considering he was just extended its a valid concern. The narrative was that because he was young, he could only get better and that hasn’t exactly been the case.

        That said, demoting him to the minors is not going to happen. But penciling him into the lineup everyday when he is struggling as bad as he is right now is equally absurd.

      • another JP

        LaHair was an all-star too & where’s he now?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Yeah, but that was widely panned as a joke selection at the time.

    • Pat

      What other big league players in their fourth season or later and signed to long term extensions have been sent to the minors for performance (as opposed to for rehab)?

      He’s not going to figure out how to get better against major league pitching in the minors. For whatever reason he is way off his offensive game this year and it’s unlikely demoting him is going to accomplish much, especially if he is changing his approach at the request of the front office (although I have a hard time attributing all of his struggles to that).

      • another JP

        I’m with you on not demoting Castro, but I really think Lake should get some time at short by August if Starlin hasn’t figured it out and Junior is still raking in AAA.

  • X the Cubs fan

    First of many…

  • Cheryl

    I wonder if anybody has asked Castro what he thinks. He’s so busy trying to follow everybody’s advice that he doesn’t know what to do, No one wants to see his career go down the drain but there is a time when something other than playing him every day has to be tried. At this point he probably wishes he was any place else but at Wrigley.

    • toot

      Cheryl.. He is an adult.

      • Cheryl

        He may be an adult but he acts lie a kid. Concentration lapses, etc.

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