wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs head home after a mostly successful West Coast swing to face the best team in baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates. They’ll see a familiar face in Francisco Liriano, and the Pirates will see a familiar face in Jeff Samardzija.

The game is at 3:05pm and it’s a Friday, so this must be one of them new-fangled 3:05pm Friday starts. We’ll see if it’s awesome.

The Cubs’ lineup is all kinds of crazy today.

Game Info

Pittsburgh Pirates (52-32) at Chicago Cubs (36-47), 3:05 CT on CSN, MLBN.

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

Francisco Liriano (7-3, 2.23 ERA, 2.42 FIP)


Jeff Samardzija (5-7, 3.34 ERA, 3.15 FIP)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Neil Walker, 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Garrett Jones, 1B

5. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

6. Russell Martin, C

7. Jose Tabata, RF

8. Jordy Mercer, SS

9. Francisco Liriano, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dave Sappelt, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Dioner Navarro, C

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Cody Ransom, 3B

6. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

7. Scott Hairston, RF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

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

    Shake it up!

    Navarro probably hasn’t hit 3 hole since he was a Yankee prospect. But I should check that for validity.

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

      Navarro Has 8 total ABs in 2 Starts. Has 1 hit as a 3hole hitter.

  • Chad

    That is a whacky lineup. Edwin Jackson is batting in the 9 spot even though Jeff Samardzija is starting. How did the Cubs pull that off? haha

  • Rich H

    Hey wow Hairston actually is still on this team? I thought he was hidden in Camp land.

  • Tim

    Mistake alert mistake alert! Shark in the 9 hole not Jackson today

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Told you it was whacky!

  • Vin23

    Ransom THEN Rizzo. wow, just wow.

  • Mark S

    This lineup makes me sick.

  • TOOT

    Rizzo’s not hitting. Enough said.

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

    Felix Pie had 7 ABs as a 3hole hitter. So, Navarro has historical irrelevance going for him.
    Cody Ransom has 6ABs as 3rd hole hitter.

    Since 2001, Albert Pujols has 7184 PA as 3rd hole – .320BA
    Joe Mauer has the 2nd most 3rd hole PA over that time 4114 PA – .325BA, 409OBP
    Joe Mauer BABIP is .348, only Ryan Braun(.349) is higher in the top 10.

    The lineup today is a Frankenstein experiment.

  • nkniacc13

    This must be one of those get everyone on the bench a start days

  • Dustin S

    It looks like one of those frustrated Lou Pinella lineups where he’d pull names and the lineup order out of a hat. Can’t really blame Dale after 2 hits yesterday though.

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

    Since the lineup has a bit of whackiness, I looked at players BABIP with 1000ABS as the best hitter (3rd) since Dioner Navarro was a prospect for the Yankees in 2001.

    Matt Kemp – .381 BABIP (WOW!)
    Joey Votto – .368 (Ty Cobb)
    Carlos Gonzalez – .352
    Ryan Braun – .348
    The aforementioned Mauer – .348
    And Pirate Andre McCutcheon is also at .348 on BABIP – we get to see THAT!
    Shin-Soo Choo – .344

    Worst BABIP for 1000 AB players:
    Jose Bautista .259
    Adam Dunn .262 (High than his BA)
    Eric Chavez – .278
    Evan Longoria – .284

    Seems a lot of NL Central GMs must love their high BABIP players.

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

      1000 PAs, not ABs minimum.

  • mudge

    I like the lineup. This is managing what you have instead of what you wish you had. Going to the post office on the bike now and then catching up on accounting work. Will check back in after smoking the crack pipe and drinking the kool-aid and having my Depends changed.

  • mudge

    P.S. I much prefer the “wacky” spelling. People think “wacky” comes from being “out of whack” but actually it comes down to us from the legends of the Wacqui tribe.

  • cubmig

    Reminder: This year has become a “Musical Chairs Game”, where moving all the pieces is a search for “comfort level” (as verified by performance outcomes). Nothing new here…. The only thing left is to bat our [hitting] pitchers up in the order. Opppss…..Sveum might see or hear about this……furgettaboutit !

  • On The Farm

    Any time Sappelt can make it into the lineup, you know its going to be a good game

  • willis

    This lineup vs. Liriano could be another, well it will be another dominating performance by him. He has thrown very well this year, but has just dominated the cubs.

  • http://msn Sacko

    Why not, go for it Dale ur an idjit otherwise

  • willis

    Ew, behind already. Not good.

    • YourResidentJag

      Not anymore.

  • Mason Asher

    I can tell you exactly why Shark is getting shelled. Watch his FB locations. Every hit almost has been a FB up and middle.

  • willis

    Yeah Shark not looking so hot today. Which is never fun.

    That last decision to throw to second…I kind of thing I’d hold onto that to keep McCutchen at 3rd.

  • Deacon

    Or maybe he’s getting shelled because our idiot manager has let him exceed 110 pitches in 5 of his last 6 starts? Oh, sorry, nevermind. I keep forgetting Dale’s mantra: “It’s HIS game.”

  • http://bleachernation.com therealPattyP

    Ibb to 8th hitter in second inning with the team’s ace on the mound was a completely laughable strategy

    • Rebuilding

      I’m all for criticizing Sveum when he serves it, but that was absolutely the right strategy in that situation. It just didnt work out

  • http://bleachernation.com therealPattyP

    Even if Joe McGraw had devised that strategy it’d be wrong. It’s pussy baseball.

    • TWC

      Thanks for your opinion!

    • Drew7

      Joe McGraw?

  • Trueblue

    At the game today. Beautiful day great seats. Crowd is dead though. Lots of opinions about the Cubs and their direction from the guys sitting around me. The biggest one though is everyone is tired of watching a bad Cubs team and would like to see improvement at the big league level. Watching this line up the Cubs are sporting makes you very sad. Offense is awful and Shark is off today. The view is nice though and I’ll have another beer.

    • willis

      I’m with that. It sucks watching this lineup day in and day out and completely flushing one season after another, which will be the case again next year. No wonder Shark’s pissed.

      Still a fun time to hit the games, but it’s very upsetting to see what this has become at this level. Hopefully the kids grow fast and whatever Castro and Rizzo learn to play baseball again. Either way it’s been a long road to this point, and will continue to be one for awhile yet.

      • Trueblue

        Yeah, trying to be the good soldier and support the team I love but it is getting harder. I would be angry if I was Shark as well. Losing a hundred games every year is hard on players that want to win. 50/50 coming up in an inning. That could brighten the day.

        • willis

          I could see him balking at an extension if/when one is offered. I just get the feeling that he’s very frustrated and his body language told all we need to see today. Mechanics were off a bit and overall just seemed he was “meh” with the start. This team, with its resources has no business losing 100+ multiple years in a row. Hell it doesn’t for one year. But that’s what we’re getting it seems. I love following the minor league teams, a ton. But eventually it needs to happen up top and soon.

          • Trueblue

            Ageed 100%. I’m all for the farm system being up and excited about it. If our front office tanks another season, I will be so disappointed. I’m here with a group of boys that all want to go saying the Cubs are terrible. I can see Shark being angry enough to leave the Cubs. We have not shown the willingness to compete at the big league level. Being out of the playoffs at 60 games and having to play another 102. Brutal. Discouraged for sure.

            • willis

              Well that, and then the “star” on the team keeps making mistakes. It’s gone from bad to worse.

  • http://bleachernation.com therealPattyP

    I meant Joe Magrane. Durrr

  • another JP

    If we want the #1 pick in next years draft all Dale needs to do is continue to bat Sappy leadoff & Castro 2nd. Guaranteed to have first dibs.

    • Die hard

      Censor police looking for you too now

    • Crockett

      No, this is actually sensical.

      Not asinine and crazy.

  • Timmy

    these guys… if they disagree with you about the obvious they want you banned for life from knowing about the cubs.

    • Carew

      Personally, I welcome new thoughts and viewpoints, but what Die Hard posts is nonsense

      • Timmy

        i don’t know who die hard is but i agree with that comment he just posted about the very long road ahead. we can argue, with pleasure, just don’t try to shut people down if you disagree.

        • Crockett

          Ok. Then start using your big boy words and thoughts and quit with the unbelievably stupid “Breaking News” crap.

          I welcome opposing viewpoints…I do not welcome reliably inane and pointless crap.

          • Timmy

            ok good. then just for the record i hate our owners and think that theo messed up the first two winters of his tenure here. but i’ll always be a cubs fan and that’s why i’m pissed.

            • DarthHater

              Well, I’m glad you finally got that point across, Timmy. 😀

              • Timmy

                hey i’m going to say it again when the ricketts start threatening cubs fans again and take our revenues for personal toys.

                • Crockett

                  I also think it is ridiculous that the Cubs have the 3rd highest ticket prices in baseball and haven’t cut them given the economy and product on the field…


                  It isn’t like they haven’t heavily invested in the organization as a whole.

                  • Timmy

                    ok then, now spoken like a real fan of the team. we have bad owners, one of the 3-4 worst in baseball. and they messed theo’s plans up by limiting his funds arbitrarily. but theo is taking too long and his plan might not work out so there’s no reason not to try sooner.

                    • Crockett

                      Totally disagree here. Cubs got hosed by the changes to the amateur draft and the international signing changes. Not because the Ricketts’ are cheapskates or anything.

            • Crockett

              And how does that make you feel?

          • DarthHater

            Hey, I resemble that remark. 😛

      • Die hard

        You would kill the messenger

        • Carew

          Nah, I would just say no thanks and give him a soda for the road. Or a beer if he’s walking.

      • DarthHater

        You weep for the Cubs, and you curse Die hard. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Die hard’s comments, while tragic, probably save lives. 😛

    • DarthHater

      Ignore it, man. Brett doesn’t ban anybody unless they become extremely abusive. And even then, he gives a lot of warnings and second chances.

  • willis

    Why does Sveum never wear a uniform? Is he just so smart that he’s above that? Kind of drives me nuts.

  • Required

    I Know Liriano is mowing our guys down today so this may be a bad time to bring this up. Barney may have a Gold Glove but he seriously can’t hit his weight. He is at best a defensive substitution for late inning games. He doesn’t get on base because he probably only sees less than three pitches and he’s swinging for the fence. I’d take mediocre defense for a guy the can hit .260 .270 range and drive in 60-70.

    • Crockett

      There are a few of us who have been saying this for 2 years. He’s a good utility guy. He is not a starting MLB 2B.

      • willis

        He’s an amazing defender. Just awesome in the field. You can hide him on a team worth a shit. But in a lineup as piss poor as they have assembled and trot out there every day…his offense is much more exposed.

        • Required

          That’s a true statement. I’m also getting worried about Castro and Rizzo. Castro with both glove and bat and Rizzos bat. Castro’s glove work has not gotten better that I can see and looks lost at the plate. Not sure if he is the franchise player everyone thought. Rizzo is in a serious funk and has been for two months. You would think someone could help him. Bright side to him at least he will take a walk.

          • willis

            I think someone(s) have been helping a little too much. Those two have gone from promising to awful rather quickly under the tutelage of this coaching staff. Castro had a decent but not strong season last year and this year is pretty damn terrible. Rizzo seems to be falling into the same thing. They need to be the cornerstones of this rebuild. With them struggling so badly, we don’t have much to hold onto at this point.

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

    Come on Castro! I’m always trying to give Starlin the benefit of the doubt, but this is getting real old, real quick. Get your head in the game or get out!