wrigley field from right bleachersThe Angels come to town likely a more confident team than when the Cubs faced them for two games out West. (Which reminds me: two two-game series against the Angels? Weird, but I guess that’s what happens when you have odd-numbered leagues.) They’re now just two games under .500 after long being the “holy crap, how bad are they?” story of the early season (together with their LA brethren, who are also playing much better … damnit). Then again, thanks to the Cubs’ own hot streak, they’re just 3.5 games behind the Angels. That doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s fine.

All-Star Travis Wood goes for the Cubs tonight, which is swell. And Mike Trout comes to Wrigley, which is also swell, in a different way.

Game Info

Anaheim Angels (43-45) at Chicago Cubs (39-48), 7:05 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. (Actually, that’s the old, short series preview for the Angels series. It is of questionable utility at this point.)

Starting Pitchers

Joe Blanton (2-10, 5.14 ERA, 4.27 FIP)


Travis Wood (5-6, 2.69 ERA, 3.51 FIP)

Anaheim Angels Lineup

1. Erick Aybar, SS

2. Mike Trout, CF

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Howie Kendrick, 2B

5. Josh Hamilton, RF

6. Mark Trumbo, LF

7. Alberto Callaspo, 3B

8. Chris Iannetta, C

9. Joe Blanton, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Julio Borbon, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Luis Valbuena, 3B

6. Dioner Navarro, C

7. Nate Schierholtz, RF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Travis Wood, P

  • falselife

    Rizzo is going to come up huge tonight.

  • Dylan

    Wow, Nate dropping all the way to 7th?

    Kinda surprised. Nate’s 5-7 with two homers off Blanton in his career.

    • TWC

      Seven PAs is juuuuuust slightly too small of a sample size to really consider, ya know?

  • willis

    Facing Blanton may wake up this offense a little, well the offense is ok, maybe it’ll wake up two certain players who have been suffering poo poo performances lately. I like th epitching matchup for the cubs no doubt, but damn is their lineup tough.

    • YourResidentJag

      Blanton could clearly be one of the worst signings of the offseason.

  • Die hard

    Angels are beatable so let’s beat them– run the table to the AllStar break

  • Die hard

    Anybody else concerned that Cubs Mike Trout aka Soler has a damaged panel?

    • Jimmy James

      i see what you did there…..

  • YourResidentJag

    Baker throwing simulated games in AZ. Could be back in 1 month per Carrie Muskat.

    • ssckelley

      Perfect, enough time to get a few starts under his belt before the trade deadline.

      • Josh

        Non waiver deadline is 7/31……he won’t be back until mid August

  • Danny Ballgame

    hopefully he is effective if/when he is back in the bigs

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Well, guess Pujols is going to go 5-5 with 5 HR and 20 RBI since he is in town.

    • King Jeff

      Would not be surprised the least bit.

  • Mr. Brent Kennedy

    Reading Bleacher Nation while sitting in the bleachers…perfect harmony.

    • Jason

      Haha, I did that once, it was great.

    • DarthHater

      Be sure not to heckle Mike Trout. We want him to come here some day as a free agent.

      • DarthHater

        But if Pujols wanders by, give him an earful.

      • Mr. Brent Kennedy

        Buzzkill. That’s why I choose center field over my usual left field.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett


  • cubchymyst

    Might not be able to watch the Cubs on WGN america tonight, but Bull Durham isn’t a bad consolation prize.

    • DaveY

      Bull Durham sucks… All Kevin Kostner movies suck because he ruins them… and Tim Robbins as a baseball player? Crappy casting…

  • DaveY

    The best thing about Mike Trout is that the white sox took Jared Mitchell over him in the 2009 draft.

    • Funn Dave

      Hahaha, thanks for that tidbit.

  • Funn Dave

    Angels haven’t reached .500 since the first week of the season. Let’s not be the team to break the trend.

  • JulioZuleta

    At the game. Spotted 1 BN shirt so far…

  • William

    That swing by Castro was a thing if beauty! :-)

    • baldtaxguy

      Yes, ….

    • Rebuilding

      I can’t watch the game. Has Castro closed up his stance any? Does he look different?

      • wvcubsfan

        The end result looked a lot different, not so much what went on before the swing.

        • Rebuilding

          ^ LOL. Thanks

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

        He took two pitches on the outer half to get the count to 2-0. He sat back on a fastball and crushed it to right center. His stance is a bit more closed then his usual wide open stance but nothing of note.

      • Rizastro

        He has not really closed his stance up much, maybe just a little but he certainly has taken alot of movement out of his hands which to me it does look like his timing has been much better in the last 3 series

  • William

    That swing by Castro was a thing of beauty! :-)

    • baldtaxguy

      ….it was!!

  • Rebuilding

    At some point we might have to acknowledge that maybe Travis Wood is good to really good and this isn’t a fluke. Maybe he is just one of those guys that will always have an abnormally low BABIP. He doesn’t hurt himself and this year he has really cut out the longball

    • Funn Dave

      And except for the first at bat this inning, he’s been showing his location prowess quite well so far this outing.

  • CC

    That’s worth saying twice!

  • William

    What a play by Castro!

  • Josh

    Cards just got 2.5MM in IFA slot money from Rockies for Mitchell Boggs…..

  • Rebuilding

    Hairston is batting lead off for the Nationals tonight (?)

    • mudge

      So THAT’s where Hairston needed to bat.

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

    Very nice patience on that play by Starlin.

    • Funn Dave

      Hopefully, HR + a tough play at short = confidence for Castro.

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

        And now a walk. I really hope Starlin builds from this game.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Why no talk of offering Wood an extension ? 4 years at about $ 30 million sounds about right considering what Jackson is making.

    • wvcubsfan

      Because they don’t have to yet?

      • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

        They did not have to with Rizzo or Castro either but they did.

        • Pat

          And at this point you can question whether those were the correct moves considering how much control was left before free agency. The big difference with Wood is that he is a pitcher. They already have control for three and a half more years. There is no need to extend him now and risk it. In a year and a half when he is entering arb 2 is the earliest I would consider an extension.

          • Whiteflag


  • Bric

    Man, Blanton is sweating up a storm. Either he’s totally out of shape, just not used to the July humidity in Chicago, or he was drinking late into the morning.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    This is seriously pathetic but I have more faith when Travis Wood comes up to bat at the plate then when Barney does.

    • Whiteflag

      I”d call it pathetic if it was any other pitcher, not Wood.

  • Michael

    What inning was that defensive play by Castro. Just got home and was going to skip to it on MLB.tv

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

      3rd out in the 3rd I believe.

      • Michael

        Thanks I think I’m just going to start from the beginning tonight.

        • Michael

          Actually he has not been a full time starter for a few years.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    What is happening? Walks by Castro and Soriano in the same inning? I think I’m dreaming

  • Michael

    Curious if I’m the only one that would like the team to give Navarro a multiple year contract. He knows he’s a backup and not a starter so with that in mind I just see him as a great fit on this club. He is just a good all around ball player and what seems to be a great teammate.

    • Michael

      As I write this there is Navarro with a lead off double

      • Josh

        He wants to be full time again…..that is why he took a one year deal with Cubs, to prove that he could still handle it….which he has more than shown so far

        • Michael

          Yeah but will be 30 I’m not sure of many teams that will sign him at that age to be a starter after being a backup.

        • King Jeff

          Same with Feldman, Cubs gave him rotation spot, he proved himself, now he’s in a contender’s rotation. Some of these short term deals have really paid off.

        • Michael

          Actually it’s been years since he has been a starter.

  • Mark S

    Barney goes yard!

  • willis

    Travis Wood has been sick so far. Dude is just on fire.

    Sori’s bomb along with Castro and Rizzo’s were something to smile about.

  • baldtaxguy

    Barney!!! CUBES Power!!