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oco coliseumIt’ll be hard to focus on much other than Matt Garza tonight, and, for that, I can forgive you. It’s understandable given how “transaction-oriented” everything has felt over the last two days.

But I’m also excited to maybe get to see new relievers Pedro Strop and Matt Guerrier in action. How they’re used over the next few weeks could tip us off on whether the Cubs are trying to squeeze some surprise value out of them at the Trade Deadline (oops, I just slipped back into “transaction-oriented” mode again), or maybe in August.

It would be nice to see the Cubs win, also. Perhaps they can find a way to beat up on – eh hem – ageless wonder Bartolo Colon.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (35-46) at Oakland A’s (49-35), 9:05 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

Matt Garza (3-1, 3.83 ERA, 3.89 FIP)

versus

Bartolo Colon (11-2, 2.79 ERA, 3.26 FIP)

Oakland A’s Lineup

1. Coco Crisp, CF

2. Seth Smith, DH

3. Jed Lowrie, SS

4. Yoenis Cespedes, LF

5. Brandon Moss, 1B

6. Josh Donaldson, 3B

7. John Jaso, C

8. Josh Reddick, RF

9. Eric Sogard, SS

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Luis Valbuena, 3B

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Nate Schierholtz, RF

4. Alfonso Soriano, DH

5. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

6. Dioner Navarro, C

7. Brian Bogusevic, LF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Julio Borbon, CF

  • TonyP

    Hey bulllpen, Don’t F it up tonight please!

  • HackAttack

    Racist joke from the Cubs 12th round pick on twitter:

    Clifton‏@trevorclifton15h
    A black guy I once gave a ride, made me the man I am today.

    A pedestrian

    • Die hard

      Really? And repeating it is not just as bad if not worse! First anti semitism and then racism… Either you guys are clueless or bigoted.. Lets hope the former

      • Timothy Scarbrough

        Is this the new thing you are going to latch onto?

        • Scotti

          Lord I hope not because very few things are as low as calling a non-racist a racist. VERY few things.

      • HackAttack

        I may be clueless, but God knows what that make you.

        • HackAttack

          Brett –

          The Cubs 12th round pick made what I considerd to be an inappropriate joke on twitter. I felt it newsworthy since the Cubs are talking about giving him 3rd round money. I thought this may affect how the Cubs procede with his signing.

          Instead of just saying he made a racist joke and having everyone ask what he said, I copied it here.

          Please delete the comment if you feel it was inappropriate of me to do so.

    • Alb_daKID

      I think its hilarious and Im black. Were to so sensitive and Politcally correct now a days!

      • Alb_daKID

        we’re*

      • Scotti

        “We’re to so sensitive and Politically correct nowadays!”

        AMEN!

    • Cyranojoe

      Wow. That could spell trouble for the kid. Pretty damn stupid. He has clearly not read his Cubs Way Manual!!!

      • John (the other one)

        I think I’m missing a pop-culture reference? What makes the statement above racist?

        • John (the other one)

          Oh. missed the “pedestrian” part.

  • Rebuilding

    Feldman leading the White Sox 2-1 tonight in the 4th

    • Rcleven

      Feldman has been up in the zone all night. That’s doesn’t play well at the Cell.

      • baldtaxguy

        Plays to a quality start

        • Rcleven

          CWS bats are really bad. CUBE bad.

          • baldtaxguy

            Then being up in the zone plays well at the Cell.

      • Rcleven

        Meghan Montemurro ‏@M_Montemurro 6m

        In his first post-Cubs start, Feldman is done after 6 innings. He held the Sox to two runs on six hits with zero walks and six strikeouts.

        • TonyP

          Good job Feldman!

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    When will we get a 2nd lefty in the bullpen they have pitched James Russell almost 40 pitching appearances so far I believe he is getting tired from the overuse and becoming ineffective lately.

  • college_of_coaches

    I-Cubs with back-to-back-to-back homers: Nelson, Lake, and Wright!

  • Rcleven

    Baltimore has to be happy with that start. Feldman has been a pleasure to watch in 2013. A lot better than I ever thought he would be. Let’s hope Strop and Arrieta return the favor.

  • cooter

    All I have to say is F Bradly!

  • TonyS

    93 pitches after six digs of 1 run ball should have been it for Garza

  • John

    Another good game for Garza this time against a good team which can only help his trade value.

  • ripitrizzo82

    Whats up with rizzos sophmore slump. He doesnt look relaxed at the plate like he normaly is

  • When the Music’s Over

    What is Sveum trying to prove here? Going for a 120 pitch outing? I’m confused?

  • Dynastyin2019

    Does anyone who would consider trading for Garza really want to see him throw 120 pitches?

    • TOOT

      Nope.

    • TOOT

      So I take it your point is Sveum is an ass? Can’t manage?

  • Rebuilding

    Can one of Sveum’s staunch defenders explain to me why Garza was still in this game in the 8th at 110+ pitches?

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

      Texas.

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

        That was supposed to be a reply to Dyanstyin2019’s post.

    • Rebuilding

      If his lat would have tightened up in that 8th then Sceum should have been fired immediately. Not sure what’s going on there. Insubordination? Trying to prove to the guys he still wants to win? Just plain stupid

      • Ryan

        Are you really playing the what-if game? Garza was pitching well. The bullpen has been horrible. He had a great start.

        It’s that simple.

        • Rebuilding

          What difference does how the bullpen has been pitching make. No, it’s not that simple. Winning this game means absolutely nothing going forward. Having a healthy Garza to trade means a lot

          • baldtaxguy

            Understood. Under that thinking, should they leave Gregg out of closer situations this month to avoid any more blown saves?

            • Rebuilding

              That’s a complete non-sequitur. No, but they shouldn’t bring Gregg in for 3 inning saves to prove he’s durable

              • baldtaxguy

                Not really. If we need to preserve current high value and that value diminishes through poor recent performances, or is eliminated through injury, let’s shelve them for the month and put them both in bubbles.

                • Rebuilding

                  That’s on a par with your lightning comment. No one is saying anything about bubbles. I’m saying a pitcher over 100 pitches has a greatly increased chance of injury. Doesn’t seem smart to do in a meaningless game with aguy you plan to trade in the next 5-10 days. Why is that hard to understand?

                  • baldtaxguy

                    I understand your point. I just think your wrong.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Fair enough. We are all Cubs fans. Nice job by Garza tonight and a nice win

                  • BT

                    You do it to show other teams he is capable of pitching over 100 pitches. If he goes out and pitches 80 pitches a game, other teams assume that’s all he is capable of pitching. You pitch him the same way a team looking to trade for him will pitch him, so they know they can use him that way. It ups his value.

                  • John (the other one)

                    Why? Why 100 pitches? I don’t think his arm falls off at 120. Now if his velocity was down, or he was overly fatigued, or his command was lost…. I think we oversimplify the pitch count thing somewhat. I mean, why not 111? Or 117? or 97? I’m not saying we should send him out for 140 every night, but 120 on a night when he didn’t really have to labor?

          • Me

            Tell the team that a Win means nothing.

            • Rebuilding

              I think Jed and Theo told that to the team yesterday when they traded Feldman

              • Me

                No that’s different. If the team knows your pulling him out and giving them less of a chance to win the game solely for the purpose to save him for a trade then that’s bringing a losing attitude for the future. The players understand whats going on with the team but to sabotage a game potentially is not a good business decision.

        • willis

          No freaking shit. Thank you for agreeing with everything that is normal and sane and making a good point.

          But God forbid this team tries to win. Great point Ryan.

          • Rebuilding

            It’s not about trying to win. You have this guy for maybe one start to showcase in order to better your club going forward. This team isn’t trying to win anything this year. Yes, the players are but management is not

            • baldtaxguy

              You are trying to portray recklessness on the behalf of the FO and mgr for 10 add’l pitches. I would expect that all mgmt personnel hold their breath on every pitch Garza throws, every start he has. I just don’t think the risk is otherwise greater for 10 more pitches. Last year, Garza broke down in like the 3rd inning in St. Louis – where do we 2nd guess things there? I think it better to get this excited if Garza comes out to the 9th, or if he started an inning at a 125 pitch count. Him coming out to the 8th at 105 is a moot and meh issue.

              • Rebuilding

                There is a reason most guys don’t go beyond 100 pitches anymore. It has been shown conclusively that after 100 pitches mechanics start to break down leading to more injuries and reduced performance. There are plenty of articles on it

              • John (the other one)

                I should have read on. Bald man, nice shiny point.

                • John (the other one)

                  And no, rebuilding, it has not been shown conclusively. If so, please give me a citation. We have no idea when the unnatural act of throwing a baseball will cause trouble for a pitcher. 100 is just a nice round number.

      • baldtaxguy

        Storm could have blown into Oakland and Garza could have been struck by lightening as well. “Fire the stupid mgr.”

        • Rebuilding

          It’s really hard to have a debate with someone who says something that stupid

          • baldtaxguy

            Correct, that is why I am not debating you. It is a non-issue.

    • demz

      Uhh.

      Have you seen our bullpen???!?

  • Me

    Pretty easy teams want to see a pitchers velocity in the later innings and by pitch count. Garza with the injuries is really showing he is back to form.

    • When the Music’s Over

      I think 105 through 7 was pretty sufficient.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Agreed, no need to run him out there again. He was over 100 pitches hitting 95mph. I think that proves he can go deep. That was a manager not thinking of preserving trade value (he’s a manager, not really his job). I think if Theo or Jed were managing or they probably wouldn’t have run him out there for an extra inning. The cubs have a lot to lose if he got injured or started getting hit hard. He already proved himself in that game.

        • Rebuilding

          Sorry, but if Sveum is that dumb (not knowing the situation this club is in) he should be fired for that alone.

          • Serious Cubs Fan

            Agreed, I wouldn’t have done that either. I honestly think Sveum doesn’t care about trade value. I think he didn’t twice when he sent him out in the 8th. I was a little ticked about that

        • Rebuilding

          And honestly this FO, after all of their planning, should have told Sveum that Garza was on a 100 pitch count. If he would’ve gotten injured…well, luckily he didn’t

    • Rebuilding

      I think Garza had shown plenty through 7. If people don’t think he’s healthy after that then they never will. That was stupid

      • waittilthisyear

        had to be impressive to scouts. im not sold on sveum, but one thing i did love was that he sent valbuena on the 3-2 to castro despite the disastrous results last night. it may seem stubborn, but to me, it looks like he is showing starlin he still has faith in him despite his struggles, which feels like good coaching

  • TonyS

    waiting for him to come out to start the 9th…

  • Me

    Why he has only pitched in 9 games this year. Nothing is wrong with prolonging his start when he is pitching great, You get into trouble when you do it a lot ala Dusty Baker

    • Rebuilding

      That’s just missing the big picture

      • Me

        Missing the picture would be you. Lets see bullpen has been shaky lately, Garza is pitching great, Cubs are trying to win this game, they are showcasing Garza to get more value if they can and going that long and still pitching that strong really does help his value. My god you all bitch about bringing in a relief pitcher then bitch about keepin the starter in the game. Get real and get a clue

        • Rebuilding

          This game in early July has two purposes to the Cubs in the future: 1) show Garza is back to himself and 2) keeping Garza healthy. Whether the Cubs win this game or not has absolutely no bearing on anything this organization is trying to do. Goodness

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          I would rather see a reliever blow the lead then see Garza go an extra inning and get hurt or hit hard. I see your point and its a fair one but I just would have had them deal with it differently. They have a heck of a lot more to lose by him getting hurt then having a blown lead. This is a lost season already, just don’t want to see Garza get hurt. But I agree that there is value in seeing Garza go deep in games and showing he can still pitch strong. Its just a fine line. He was already over 100 pitches pitching strong hitting 95mph.

          • willis

            The goal is to win. If Garza gives you that chance, that’s what you do.

            God damn the attitude of some of you “fans” anymore. Makes me ill.

            • Rebuilding

              That’s not the attitude of us “fans” it’s the attitude of the front office this year. In case you hadn’t noticed we just traded Feldman and will be trading Garza soon. Do you guys not pay attention?

              • willis

                I pay attention, and I know what’s going on. That doesn’t change the fact that every Cub game I turn on, I want them to win. And whoever, however gives you that chance, as long as they are a cub, I want them involved to help win.

                For now, Garza is a Cub. If he’s the best chance to win, you let him do his job.

                • Rebuilding

                  We all want them to win every game. But the whole point of this plan is to sacrifice games now to win really big in the future. That’s the whole point of what they are doing. By that thinking we should have let Feldman pitch out his remaining 3 months

                  • willis

                    Look once Garza gets traded, ok, but while he’s on my team, if he’s the best chance to win. I’m fine letting him pitch in that situation. When the Cubs win, it’s special. every time. So whatever that takes day in and day out, I’m down with it. Tonight it was Garza, and I’m good with that and loved watching it.

              • Me

                If you don’t see the big picture of the FO then that’s on you. They are not organizing a Hendry team for now that yeah they will win more but never the big games and will have a insane payroll compared to whats being produced on the field. Or you understand that this team is being built to contend on a regular basis for a long time.

                • Rebuilding

                  Are you arguing for my point or against it?

                  • Me

                    Not sure anymore. I’m exhausted so with that gret win tonight. Garza for Hedges and prospects get it done

                    • John (the other one)

                      The fact that we did NOT pull Garza says something to other clubs about how healthy he is—he can go 8, pitch count be damned, we ain’t worried. If the extra 15 pitches were going to break him, then he ain’t making it through his next start anyways. I understand being gun-shy (especially after Garza last year), but as noted above: he broke down despite the coddling in the 3rd inning last year. Case study # 2: Dylan Bundy.

        • Rebuilding

          And I wouldn’t have botched if they would have brought Camp off of DFA in street clothes to pitch the 8th. This game has no bearing on anything as long as you can flip Garza for maximum prospects

          • Me

            Agree to disagree, I understand it but understand your points as well. For me I was happy to see him come out and pitch that long it shows how healthy his arm is. Overall it was a great game and seeing him pitch almost started to get me wanting him extended for the first time.

  • TonyS

    Maybe a team has said they will trade for x, y and z if the Cubs showed them Garza could handle a prolonged start?

    At least Gregg is in for the 9th.

    • Rebuilding

      I doubt it. But he had thrown 105 pitches through 7 with good velocity. Do you really think those extra 10 pitches made any difference on the prospects we will get. No way

      • TonyS

        I’m not defending it, my initial comment was that he should have been done after 6.
        but it is in the realms of possibility that given his previous starts, the only thing a potential trade partner would liked to have seen from him was to maintain his effectivness through a higher pitch count.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Maybe but doubt it. I think they would promise certain x, y, z prospects. but i think a team could realistically ask to see him go the distance or go deep in the game. Not a bad point but I’m not sure they promise prospects. I think that would help lead the conversation to establish, “okay well we can start discussing these caliber of prospects.” But i don’t know, maybe your right. Wish I could be a fly on the wall listening in on this negotiations.

      • Rebuilding

        In today’s baseball he did go “deep into the game” at 105 pitches. Any team trading for Garza wants him to go 7 strong and turn it over to the set up man and closer. Do you think San Diego watched the 8th inning and said now there’s a workhorse lets give up Hedges. No, they probably thought I wish the Cubs wouldn’t extend Garza here as he’s only got so many bullets in the chamber

        • mudge

          “It’s only the fearful that must die.”

        • baldtaxguy

          Neh. Sending him out to 8th at 105 was not that big of deal either way. He was not likely to see 10-15 more pitches anyway.

          • Rebuilding

            Not a big deal because he didn’t get hurt. Just not necessary

  • X the Cubs fan

    No Ks for the Cubs.

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

    Maybe a potential buyer on Garza stated, “well, he hasn’t gone deep and throw enough pitches to prove health and stuff, both together.”

    If he was to be your #2 in the playoffs, you have to get 115, with the ultimate high leverage situations, the playoffs. So, point made. Now, to see who seeks his services.

  • X the Cubs fan

    I think its a very inappropriate joke. Im not sure this is the kind of person we want in our organization.

    • Carew

      He’s just a kid. I give a pass. But if he doesnt figure it out soon…

      And I just had an epiphany, and I’m his age

  • Mike

    Garza will be traded by the All-Star break.

  • ruby2626

    I’m a confused and slightly buzzed Cub fan. How in the world can you justify giving Edwin Jackson that kind of money and then not try and sign Garza for the same or a little more. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge Theo and Jed fan but sometimes I shake my head at their decisions. They preach owning the strike zone and getting pitchers who have command then we trade a very good Feldman for 2 guys who the national media are making fun of because they can’t throw strikes. Think we could have gotten more for Feldman but assuming we sign Jimenez our week has been off the charts great.

    • Jed Jam Band

      Let me try to approach you without totally writing off your entire comment for its clear lack of common sense. Oops, well that ship just sailed. Anyways, Jackson’s peripheral numbers continue to be decent to good, suggesting that he has suffered from bad luck and poor sequencing. Also, he has and will continue to regress back to the mean. As for Garza, the idea on re-signing him has been explained on BN before by Brett. Essentially, Garza isn’t likely to give the Cubs any type of discount, as he will want to test the market (he’s going to be valuable, ya know) and that market will be full of teams more likely to contend next year than the Cubs. Best that we not end up with the baseball equivalent of letting Omer Asik walk and try to get some real high-impact talent for Garza while we can. As for Feldman, he is a 30-year-old starter with a proven record of being mediocre. He maintains an xFIP that is near 4 and was on a one-year deal, and as such, was not likely to help the team in the future. And I highly doubt the entire national media is viewing the trade negatively. I believe that BP, Fangraphs, Keith Law, and others have already stated that this wasn’t such a bad trade. Both pitchers have potential and that’s not far-off-in-the-future, low-minors potential…but rather, near or at MLB-ready skills. Also, the IFA pool money we acquired will be big in getting the young guys we want, but that’s really just icing on the cake. I don’t know if Arrieta or Strop will work out, but I can’t imagine a better deal would have presented itself.

    • John

      Though the Edwin Jackson deal hasn’t looked good so far I think it was a move that the front office had to take a chance on because there just isnt any good starting pitchers in Triple A or Double A for this team except Kyle Hendricks who I really like but I just dont know how his stuff will hold up in the majors.

  • mudge

    Garza’s been fragile. Jackson will earn his contract. So odd, points of view. I thought this was the best managed game of the season.

    • Me

      Me too. Some people feel it was stupid for Garza to pitch in the 8th but you have to stay with the hot hand.

      • Rebuilding

        So why not let him pitch the 9th?

        • Rebuilding

          Either pitch counts matter or they don’t. Either you’re trying to keep a guy healthy or not

          • Me

            They do matter but when your 9 starts in and around 50 IP at the mid-way point then throwing 100-120 is not a terrible thing.

            • Rebuilding

              Please read more on the subject. Once over 100 pitches pitchers mechanics start to break down leading to injuries either now or in the future. It does not seem like a smart thing to do with a guy you plan to trade in the next 5-10 days

              • THEOlogical

                Rebuilding, I do like to read some of your comments but I’ll have to disagree on the “100 pitches and injury risks are higher” statement. Pitchers in the early 20th century and some later have been pitching well over the 100 pitch mark. I believe it’s more on the type of pitcher (I.e. maximum effort) or one who’s been doing it his whole career. Plus you have to look at what kind of pitches they were, were they stressful or was he breezing along. There are many factors that go into a pitcher pitching over the 100 pitch mark. Each pitcher isn’t the same and each game isn’t as well.

              • John (the other one)

                Sure. Tell us what to read? This idea that a pitcher’s arm falls off after 100 pitches is not based in actual research. Its pure conjecture, based on usage patterns.

        • mudge

          because you have gregg.

        • Me

          Cause Gregg has proven he can close out games. Thats simple he has to pitch to show is value as well right ?

          • Rebuilding

            I thought you wanted to go with the hot hand? Garza was cruising and Gregg blew his last save. I think going to Gregg was the right thing to do, but your points are contradictory

            • demz

              No, they aren’t.

              Read what he said again with a rational mind.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      haha dale sveum did have to do anything. he let garza go 8 strong and put in his closer. He really didn’t make to many in game adjustments.

      • mjhurdle

        love the logic that dictates if we win, it was all the players, Sveum did nothing, and if we lose, it was all Sveum’s fault.

        If Sveum ran Garza out for the 8th, and he let up 2+ runs, Sveum would be getting murdered in the comments right now.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Its just hard to say a manager had well managed game when the starter goes 8 and he just hands it the closer. Thats in my definition a game well played by the players, not a masterful game the manager. Sveum didn’t make any Tony Larussa moves to win the game or anything. Win is a win and that a good day for the manager but lets not say he Sveum had a great day. To be honest I thought it was a dumb decision to leave Garza out to pitch the 8th but we seriously have debate that enough and I don’t want to get into that again. I’m just happy Garza went 8 strong inning of 4 hit, 1 run ball. Pitched well and just improved his trade value against a good Oakland A’s team. I see you point i guess that the best managed games are the games your starter goes 8 and you hand it to the closer in the 9th.

          • mjhurdle

            sometimes the best moves are the ones you dont make.
            Also, LaRussa made many more suspect moves than great moves, but somehow it is all washed away under his winning a world series.
            winning is what makes good managers, more than the decisions made or not made to get there imo

  • ruby2626

    Sorry to change the conversation but can you imagine this Cespedes guy playing center for the Cubs, love his bat despite the lousy hitting season thus far but what a hack in the field.

    • Jed Jam Band

      No, can’t imagine a corner outfielder playing CF for us. Especially not when our corner outfielders aren’t exactly worldbeaters.

  • Crockett

    Was this Garza’s last start in a Cubs’ uniform?

    • TOOT

      No.

    • TOOT

      Word is unless a high comodity comes by, Garza is NOT moved.

      • Crockett

        Word from where? Not buying that.

        • TOOT

          Theo.

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

      If teams are truly wanting to improve to win division, then yes.

      That was a #1 starter type performance. He made 1 mistake, back to back curves to Moss.
      His location was very good, missed to his advantage (no hits, walked).
      He threw 90 FB, 18 SL, 6 CU – including those back to back (too cute, catcher’s fault for calling it)

      Faced a very patient Oakland lineup, whereas, Nolasco tonight faced a swing-happy Braves lineup, who helped him throw a lot less pitches.

      Brooks Baseball shows the fall off in Nolasco’s velocity, whereas, Garza velocity is spot on for 8 innings. Granted, Nolasco is not a power pitcher; but, if his off speed stuff falters at all, his FB is very hittable when he actually puts it over the plate, which he does not.
      Nolasco uses his FB for effect only. And Atlanta more than help him out.

      You can run on Nolasco, as he ditched his slide step to boost his velocity. He went offspeed from the 4th inning onward.

      Garza should pull a great deal more in any trade, and should be the primary of anyone really wanting to go to the playoffs. If anyone paid attention to both games, which I did.

      • CubFan Paul

        This is why I don’t buy the “Nolasco hasta be dealt before Garza” talk. Two totally different pitchers and Nolasco is also a cash dump.

        • Dynastyin2019

          Yes, Paul, they are two different pitchers, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t competition between them. If a team really needs pitching, and they think Garza is too expensive, they can ‘settle’ for Nolasco. If Garza is the only pitcher left, the buying team wouldn’t have that leverage. The best case scenario is all other pitchers are trading to one division, forcing the last team to over pay for Garza. Sort of a keeping up with the Jones (or Dodgers) type of thing.

          • CubFan Paul

            Garza will be injured by the time your best case scenario happens.

            • Dynastyin2019

              let’s think positive

            • Die hard

              I used to feel that way too but he must be doing something different to stay strong… Will investigate

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

    The comparison of two starters, Nolasco and Garza, Pitch F/X style: http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com/2013/07/matt-garza-vs-ricky-nolasco-tail-of.html

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