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us cellular fieldThe Cubs have already won the Crosstown Cup. This is just the makeup of a superfluous game, so let’s all remember that the Cubs are the winners no matter what happens tonight.

Let’s also pretend like everyone isn’t just going to be hyperfocused on Matt Garza to the exclusion of all else.

If you’re able to notice anything else, you’ll see that the against-lefty lineup is a weird one, with Welington Castillo shoehorned in as DH (since Dioner Navarro is totally not Garza’s personal catcher, but, like, yeah he is).

By the way, trade season makes teams do funny things: I have a hard time believing that Adam Dunn is actually a better defensive first baseman than Jeff Keppinger would be. But you better believe the White Sox want to make sure to show that they’re just fine-a-rooney with Dunn playing first base.*

*Or Dunn is adequate at first base, and I just haven’t been paying attention to the Sox. Why would I?

UPDATES: The tarp is on the field right now, so there might be a delay. That’s one update. The other is that Welington Castillo is out with flu-like symptoms, and Luis Valbuena is going to DH tonight.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (38-48) at Chicago White Sox (34-51), 7:10 CT on WCIU (Cubs), CSN (White Sox).

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. (kinda)

Starting Pitchers

Matt Garza (4-6, 3.12 ERA, 3.33 FIP)

versus

Hector Santiago (2-4, 3.45 ERA, 4.01 FIP)

Chicago White Sox Lineup

1. Alejandro De Aza, LF

2. Gordon Beckham, 2B

3. Alex Rios, RF

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Jeff Keppinger, DH

6. Conor Gillespie, 3B

7. Alexei Ramirez, SS

8. Josh Phegley, C

9. Blake Tekotte, CF

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Cody Ransom, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Dioner Navarro, C

6. Welington Castillo, DH

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Dave Sappelt, RF

9. Julio Borbon, CF

  • praying the cubs get ready to win

    Soriano with a homer and a stolen base definitely looking good. Garza looking good again even if it is against the Sox.

  • Rich H

    I normally do not care what the other manager is doing but 120 pitches last time our and now 90 by the 6th this time. Ventura is going to make this kids arm fall off.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Anyone think the Yankees would be interested in Valbuena? They’re looking for cheap/cost controlled 3rd baseman. I think Valbuena is a pretty good match for them. He plays good defense and is a solid bat who gets on base a lot. Only problem I see is that Brian Cashman hates dealing with Theo because he’s a tough negotiator. I doubt the yanks would want to give us anything good for Valbuena and were definitely not going to give a cheap/cost controlled 3rd baseman for nothing in this 3rd base market

    • David

      Trade him. That would pave some playing time for Lake when he gets called up.

    • Voice of Reason

      Valbuena blows.
      He starts for the cubs cause they don’t have anyone else and he is cheap. To any other team he is a backup infielder at best.

      • BT

        Half the teams in the NL just called to tell you don’t know what you are talking about.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Valbuena doesn’t blow. No one is claiming he’s an allstar but he plays great defense and gets on base a lot. And have you seen the 3rd base market? If you look at the value he gives you at the price the cubs are paying him, he’s pretty solid. I’d agree with you though, that when the cubs are contending I hope we have an upgrade (maybe Kris Bryant, Javy Baez?). He’s definitely is a solid player though

      • Drew7

        *or* he’s a good-fielding, patient-hitting INF’er who ranks 11th in the Majors among 3B with an fWAR of 2.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Voice of Reason: Yeah Valbuena sucks at hitting…

      • Rich H

        Would you even mention that if he was playing 2nd instead of 3rd?

      • another JP

        Tell you what- don’t go to Vegas, OK dude? Saying LV sucks right before he delivers yet another huge hit for the Cubs is impeccable timing. How do you sit there and not feel any sense of being totally clueless?

  • Rebuilding

    Why in the world would you throw through to 2nd there? Two steals of home on us in two days

    • willis

      Right, shows the lack of discipline this team has. Same GD thing as the weekend. Durrr, you don’t throw there.

  • ISU Birds

    All me and my dad could say on that Navarro throw was, “what an idiot, what an idiot” I have never liked him and he continues to solidify my opinion.

  • willis

    Dude, you just got burned by the same play over the weekend. WTF…

    • wvcubsfan

      That’s on the dugout. Got to tell the catcher to eat the ball there.

      • willis

        A lot of this season is on the dugout.

        • Jeff

          No No………….Dale is the next coming of Sparky Anderson!!!! Not!

        • BT

          Yeah, why didn’t that idiot let the go ahead run walk into second base without a play? What an asshat. I’m sure the other 29 managers totally would have rolled out the red carpet to put the tying an go ahead run into scoring position without a play. It’s baseball 101.

          • Rebuilding

            Like I said…there have been 3 steals of home ALL YEAR. Because that ball should have been eaten if the guy got a great jump or at the very least cut off by Castro 15 feet in front of the bag. You are talking about a coaching staff that positions every player differently on every at bat. Look at our defensive shifts. That is on them

            • BT

              Then blame the freaking catcher, not the manager. The ball bounced halfway between the pitcher and second base. A decent throw and Barney could have cut it and threw it home, which is what he appeared to be trying to do.

              • Rebuilding

                Sveum prides himself on all of our defensive shifts. We arguably have the most controlling coaching staff defensively of any team in baseball. And we have had home stolen on us Little League style two days in a row. You don’t think that has anything to do with the coaching staff?! Sometimes I just want to give up – you can’t say the sky is blue on here

                • BT

                  This is a self pitying load of crap.

                  I’m not saying what Sveum did was the ONLY thing to do. YOU are the guys making the point that there was one and ONLY one choice, that Sveum failed to make it and that if we lose its his fault. YOU are captain black and white. If he had cut it off, I would have been fine with it too.

                  There were multiple choices, he chose one, it didn’t work.

                  I’m tired of the endless, endless, endless nonsense of how the manager inevitably cost the team the game. It rarely happens. It hasn’t happened tonight.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Sorry, that was a bad choice that Could have cost us a ball game. Rios is a 75% base stealer (80% not counting pickoffs). Garza is terrible at holding runners on and Navarro has struggled defensively this year. Oh well, nice rally here makes it a moot point

            • Drew7

              “…at the very least cut off by Castro 15 feet in front of the bag.”

              This is what probably should have happened, but you can’t just tell Navarro not to throw it before the pitch is even thrown.

              • Rebuilding

                It happens all of the time

                • Drew7

                  “It” being “major-league teams allowing the go-ahead run to waltz into second”? I don’t know about that.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Like I responded further down Rios running on Garza and Navarro has a greater than 90% chance of being successful anyway

                    • Drew7

                      I responded to that. Here, I’m disputing your claim that managers freely allow runners to take 2B in that situation, “all of the time”.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Guys steal 2nd with a runner on 3rd with a throw not going through all of the time. I don’t know how you can dispute that

      • Drew7

        Eat the ball? The throw definitely shouldn’t have gone all the way through, but you can’t have the go-ahead run just waltz into scoring-position.

  • curt

    Wtf was the thought process on Navarro throwing through you knew the way the sox are hitting that was a double steal comeon dale really everyone else knew. Damn

    • willis

      Yeah that has to be communicated before the at bat. They can’t hit. They are going to try and dupe you into a bad play. Do not fall for it no matter what. Let Garza get the guy out at the plate. Idiots.

  • Rebuilding

    There have now been 3 steals of home in MLB all year. We’ve seen 2 of them in the past 36 hours

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    The white sox rookie catcher phelgly looks like a tool. But he’s getting the job done today, homer and throw out. pretty solid day

  • willis

    Good God things are going from bad to worse for Castro. Dude is straight terrible right now. I never thought I would see him this rattled at the plate. Just has nothing.

  • ISU Birds

    Castro is just terrible right now, like I would rather of had Garza hit for himself and DH’ed him.

  • William

    How can you blame the manager for him throwing to second? You have to be able to read things and use your instincts. I have no clue what Borbon was trying to do. Either you try to swipe second or stay put.

    • Rebuilding

      Not sure you have ever played baseball, but any coach/manager I have ever had would have told us exactly how to play that from the dugout. You are facing a terrible hitting team with their fastest guy on first. You could see that coming a mile away

      • willis

        Correct. With a guy at the plate who Garza can easily overpower. You weren’t going to get the runner at 2nd without a perfectly executed throw/catch/tag, and the dude at home can just coast in.

        • BT

          right. Just like Garza overpowered Rios who got totally jammed, threw the bat down because he was pissed, and the ball dropped into right field for a hit. That’s 2 runs if men are on 2nd and 3rd because you decided to let a guy walk into 2nd. and the Cubs are losing right now, not tied. Line drives go for outs, and dribblers go for hits. No outs are guaranteed.

          • Drew7

            This.

            Giving the guy 2nd base before a pitch is thrown, with 2-outs, is just asking for a 2 run, bloop-single.

            • Rebuilding

              Not this. Not with Rios running – he has about a 90% chance of stealing 2nd on Navarro and Garza to start with. So to take a 10% chance you give a 100% chance of the run scoring?

              • Drew7

                So, having Castro, once it was clear they weren’t gonna get Rios, cut-off the throw and fire home had *zero* chance of, A) cutting down Beckham at home, or B) forcing Beckham to hold at 3rd?

                • Rebuilding

                  Was that the play? Sure didnt look like it. It looked like that shitty throw was going all of the way through. Will be interesting to hear if they ask Aveum in the postgame. If it was on and Navarro messed it up then that’s different, but I don’t think that’s what happened

                  • Drew7

                    Again, I’m not saying that *was* the play. I’m telling you that there is no way the only good option there was to concede 2B before the pitch is even thrown.

                    Even that dope Harrelson acknowledged the numerous options you have in that situation – none of which were, “you could simply give Rios second.”

                    • Rebuilding

                      I don’t think I said it was the only option. I said either you eat it or cut off the throw. It didnt look like we were doing either

                  • Drew7

                    “Will be interesting to hear if they ask Aveum in the postgame.”

                    I do agree with this. Watching the replay, I’m wondering if Barney was supposed to cut in front of the bag and got a late start. That could be why Navarro threw it even though Rios got a great jump, but the throw was low.

      • brunsmk

        Navarro was looking to the bench for the call before Keppinger came up, clearly on Sveum.

  • Required

    Since everyone is talking about trading everybody. I say we trade or send down Barney. His defense is the only reason he plays. We have pitchers that hit better than him. He is an automatic out. If his defense goes he will be on an expressway to the unemployment line.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      If you play great defense, you stay in this league a long time. example A: Omar Vizquel. Vizquel was a much better hitter when he was younger but in his later years he has greatly regressed with the bat but still manages to hang around because he can play great defense

      • Required

        He has two errors in two days. Just saying.

        • Nick

          The season is 162 games long. just sayin

          • Required

            1 for his last 24 just saying. With two errors!

            • Drew7

              Nobody disputes his vomit-inducing ability on offense, but you won’t find a competent observer out there that questions his defense.

  • William

    You’re both correct, he should have never thrown to second, but a major leaguer should know that because he has seen situations like that plenty of times. No, I have never played baseball, but I know fundamentals, though because I constantly study plays.

  • Voice of Reason

    That lineup the cubs started tonight has to be top 5 one of the worst ever.

    But, they’re working on it!!

    Sveum should be coach of the year just for winning as many games as he has with that terrible lineup

  • Kevin

    One earned run for Garza after 7 innings…….hope there’s a lot of scouts watching

    • brunsmk

      hope he’s done for the night.

  • William

    There was zero chance he was going to get him at second base. The manager should have gave him a sign, but it’s on Navarro to know he didn’t have a prayer of throwing him out and should have held on to the ball.

  • willis

    Bingo bango Valbuena!!

  • William

    Way to go, Valbuena! Navarro making up for things with his wheels! :-)

  • another JP

    Luis. Freakin’. Valbuena. I know he doesn’t hit for BA, is an all-star like Wood, or is a household name like Soriano, but the guy is always contributing to our rallies. For someone that was looked upon as nothing more than a AAAA back-up to Stewie when he was signed, this is an amazing season. He could put up >3.5 WAR this year… just amazing.

  • willis

    LOL watching Navarro score from first on that double. He was trucking.

    Big hit by Sappelt also to bring home Valbuena. Loving it.

  • K Stud

    Sure hope Garza is done for tonight…this is a long half inning

    • willis

      He is. Over 100 pitches and the with the lead at 5-2, it’s pen time.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Jed Hoyers quote about negotiations with Scott Boras (Bryant deal): “We’re confident we’ll get it done. We’ll make it an exceptionally fair offer. If Kris wants to be a Cub and be a professional baseball player, I’m confident we’ll get a deal done. Sometimes it takes a deadline to make a deal, and we have a deadline coming up shortly. In a lot of ways, I think it’s a plus at this point.”

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Sounds like Theo/Jed are playing hardball with Boras and giving Bryant a take it or leave it contract proposal. The part when he say, “If Kris wants to be a Cub and be a professional baseball player, I’m confident we’ll get a deal done.” Daring him to go back to school and leave that money on the table. Bryant is an idiot if he goes back to school (not to be harsh) but its going to be extremely hard to be the 1st or 2nd overall pick next year in a better more top heavy draft. Plus if goes back to school and gets injured, poor performance, or parts of his game gets exposed and even if any of that makes him fall just a few picks, it would cost him millions. He doesn’t have that much to gain by going back to school.

      Love that Jed is playing hardball and not giving in though

  • willis

    Thank Christ, a hit for Castro. God every time he comes up I’m gripping as hard as he is. Hate seeing him struggle like this. Glad for a good knock there.

  • Rebuilding

    Ransom, Valbuena, Navarro, Sappelt, even Castro. A hitting explosion

  • North Side Irish

    David Kaplan (@thekapman) tweeted at 10:37 PM on Mon, Jul 08, 2013:
    An AL exec I spoke with tonight told me “Theo and Jed know that they have a great asset. They will not cave on what they want in return.”

    • North Side Irish

      David Kaplan (@thekapman) tweeted at 10:39 PM on Mon, Jul 08, 2013:
      Same exec “However, Theo and Jed won’t cave. They will play this thing out until they get what they want. He’s too valuable to not trade.”

  • William

    Wow, this inning has been really fun to watch!

  • Rebuilding

    It’s good to see Sappelt hit now that Hairston is gone. He’s going to get lots of looks against lefties

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Svuem better not trot Garza back out there. Long inning, he’s already over a 100 pitches and were up by 5. no reason to put him back out there

  • Jorbert Solmora

    Baez at 10, Almora at 16, and Soler at 18 on BA’s midseason top 50.

    http://ht.ly/mLXjr

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Carlos Correa ranked ahead of Baez?

      • Jorbert Solmora

        I think Correa might have the higher floor, but he has less superstar potential than Baez IMO. Should be interesting to compare them as they progress.

        • Rebuilding

          Also, Correa is virtually guaranteed to stay at SS and be a good one which helps his value

          • Crockett

            They are completely different types of players.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Thats what I was thinking. Correa: high floor, Baez: high ceiling. Have you guys seen Correa? He’s a big kid. 6′ 4″, Weight: 205. That’s pretty big for a shortstop. He’s only 18 and if he gets taller and adds muscle, he might out grow the ability to play the position. But I’ve got to see the kid play in the minors once, and he is very quick on his feet which helps him in the field so that might help him as he gets bigger.

      • Drew7

        Correa also isn’t whiffing in 1/4 of his PA’s.

    • Jorbert Solmora

      oops the link is like halfway down the page…

    • Mike

      Hopefully the Cubs are holding out for a pitcher from that list for Garza.

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