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wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs can sweep the Angels tonight, which would put them at just seven games under .500. No, that doesn’t matter in terms of the sell-off/don’t-sell-off plan, but it would still be a fine thing to see – and we haven’t seen it since May.

Jeff Samardzija is on the hill, coming off one of his weaker starts last time out against the Pirates.

Game Info

Anaheim Angels (43-46) at Chicago Cubs (40-48), 7:05 CT on WGN.

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

C.J. Wilson (8-6, 3.49 ERA, 3.61 FIP)

versus

Jeff Samardzija (5-8, 3.54 ERA, 3.25 FIP)

Anaheim Angels Lineup

1. Erick Aybar, SS

2. Mike Trout, CF

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Josh Hamilton, LF

5. Alberto Callaspo, 3B

6. Mark Trumbo, RF

7. Hank Conger, C

8. Brendan Harris, 2B

9. C.J. Wilson, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dave Sappelt, RF

2. Cody Ransom, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Darwin Barney, 2B

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Julio Borbon, CF

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • fromthemitten

    CJ Wilson: one of the few recent Angels FA acquisitions who hasn’t been a complete and total bust

  • Die hard

    Sveum must’ve had a few before making this lineup– upset at knowing he won’t be mgr by time Bryant occupies Santos bag?

    • scorecardpaul

      I know better, but here goes. Do you realy think the manager drank before he filled out the lineup? Do you really think the mgr….. never mind I am quite confident you never think. BYE

  • Hawkeye2434

    So Castro finally hits a HR and now he’s a 5 hole hitter. He’s finally looking like he’s squaring the ball up and Dale starts moving him around, especially against a left hander. Guess that’s why I ‘m only managing my daughter’s 10 year old softball team.

    • DarthHater

      If your daughter has a very small strike zone and is able to stand in the batter’s box and take pitches, she might end up with a better OBP than Castro. :-P

      • Hawkeye2434

        Ha. There were 3 outcomes when she stepped up to bat. Strike out looking, walk, and for some reason she got hit by the pitch a lot. I’d say she had about a .500 OBP. I’ll start spending her $40 million for her.

  • Ivy Walls

    WIN tonight and Cubs have played .500 since April 22nd. that was how bad they played out of the gate.

  • Kenster

    Is that THEEE Brendan Harris still playing??

  • willis

    Barney as a 6 hitter? WTF Sveum? Oy.

    Here’s to him having a hunch that’s actually correct.

  • cubmig

    Wish I knew the “why?” behind Sveum’s lineups. Is he consulting a crystal ball, throwing darts, or is this his thinking-through method finally revealed? Lately he seems to be changing lineups more than VanKamps has Pork & Beans. Weird and interesting.

    • King Jeff

      We’ve won too many in a row. It’s time for the lefty lineup!!!

  • TWC

    Oh. Good. Sappelt’s leading off.

    Barf.

  • Elephanthole

    That opener about Kris Bryant was good Brett. He probably could handle 3rd base right now.

  • willis

    Shark is about to get worked here. Looks bad, and if he pitches like he did Friday tonight, Cubs get killed.

    • willis

      Man I’m smart.

  • willis

    And that’s what, the millionth passed ball on Castillo this year?

  • DaveY

    I think Sappelt and Ransom are being showcased for trades.

    • TWC

      Sappelt is being showcased.

      Really.

  • YourResidentJag

    WHOOPS!

  • Bijan Rademacher

    Game over already? Christ

    • willis

      Yes. Got to love 5 minute ballgames.

  • YourResidentJag

    Shark’s apparently due for some regression.

  • willis

    Hate when I’m right. But he just looks terrible out there Two starts in a row. Angels will jump all over that, and they have. Ballgame.

  • ChrisN324

    Fifteen minutes into the game and….we’re down 5. Oh Cubes…

  • baldtaxguy

    Shark coming down with “I stinks.”

  • Mr. P

    Maybe someone should tell Samardzija that him pitching this way doesn’t make the team better.

  • Michael

    Been saying for awhile now I would rather trade Samardzija then Garza. It’s not just this game but really Wood has been better then him all year and Garza has looked the part of a Ace as of late. He is going to be 29 next year and yes I know he is getting better and does not have a lot of wear on his arm but Garza can flat out pitch an has proven to be clutch in important games we have no idea if Jeff can. Cue backlash in 3-2-1

    • TWC

      “Cue backlash in 3-2-1″

      Cue defensiveness in 3… 2… oh, nevermind, you did that already.

      • Michael

        Wow that was pretty stupid. Congrats your well nothing special

        • TWC

          Cue poor use of grammar in 3… 2… oh, nevermind, you did that already.

          • Michael

            [I am a silly nanny.]

            • MichiganGoat

              Someone doesn’t like it when they call out people to “backlash” then throws a tantrum when that actually happens. Well at least you can count.

              • Michael

                [I have a potty mouth and poor grammar skillz.]

                • Falselife

                  Is it really gay if they only do it once?

                  • Timmy

                    yeah seriously, we can fight over disagreements about management, but leave the hate speech out dude

                • TWC

                  Cue misuse of an apostrophe in 3… 2… oh, nevermind, you did that already.

                • wassup

                  Cue Brett reminding us that kids read this and that immature comments should be posted in the message board… IN..
                  the first post tomorrow….

                  • willis

                    At least it gives entertainment on a night where the game was donezo about 15 seconds in. So there’s that.

                • Bric

                  Well said. Even better grammar us’age.

            • Hansman1982

              Cue mass hysteria and pandemonium in…

            • willis

              LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!

              • willis

                Still giggling at Michael’s comment. Mic Drop.

    • willis

      Nope, if it’s an either-or, I’d rather have Garza than Shark. Shark is just too reckless sometimes and it comes back to kill him. Garza is a better “pitcher” and has championship experience.

      I like them both, but if I had to pick one I’d pick Garza.

    • Timmy

      I think the clear pieces we need to trade are Castro and Rizzo. They’re both getting worse, morale is low, and they’d make great additions to teams that are actually interested in player development and lineup protection. It’s time for another fire sale and we can still get great pieces back for them.

      • Danny Ballgame

        Whachu talkin bout Timmy?

        • MichiganGoat

          Just baiting out the same garbage as always best to just ignore.

          • Timmy

            We just have a philosophical difference, Goats. I’m a player and coaching staff centered fan, you are an ownership and general management fan. I see a bad team on the field that’s unhappy, you see abstract statistics, ownership savings, and long term potentials as more important than the game played today. You don’t have to be a yes man for every single thing they do and attack fans supporting the team to have that mentality.

            • gocatsgo2003

              You can get a gauge for the team’s emotions/morale from your couch? Impressive.

              • MichiganGoat

                The tinfoil hat helps

                • Timmy

                  instead of “trolling” i’m going to start calling it “goating”, or “michiganing”

            • King Jeff

              You are a “say whatever negative bs that pops to the top of my head” kind of fan, and you keep proving it, over and over and over.

              • Timmy

                do you see what Theo is doing to us? all this disharmony among people who basically all agree that the cubs should win the world series. all these personal attacks over minutia in administrative logistics. people policing what other people are allowed to say for undermining Theo’s anti-contention approach. people naming themselves after royalty and barn animals out of embarrassment for their Cub fandom…

                • MichiganGoat

                  And you obviously see you are baiting and trying to be “Better” with all the ridiculous “News” and observations. We no longer need to interact I’m just ignore the bait from now on.

                  • hansman1982

                    BAZINGA!

                  • Drew7

                    (LOL!)

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    By the way, this guy definitely isn’t that person.

                    Timmy can be steered in the right direction. I can feel it. That’s not to say he has to agree or become pro-front office. Disagreement is fine. We’ve just got to get the approach right.

                  • Timmy

                    i can be steered by the mere act of winning. usually this means hiring winners, which is antithetical to the current team philosophy.

                    happy to eat my cubs hat if they win it all in 4 years but i just don’t see it. a team of 20-24 year olds don’t come out of nowhere and win it all.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      As I said, I’m not talking about steering you into liking this front office. You can dislike and disapprove all you want. But there’s a better way to discuss these things on here. That’s the steering I’m talking about. You’ll get there. I can feel it.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  This is a funny and acceptable comment. Everyone pay attention (including yourself, Tommy). It conveys the underlying spirit of disagreement, but keeps things light. This is the right approach, dudes.

                  • Timmy

                    thank you, thank you

          • Mr. Brent Kennedy

            I know, I know, but let me say, stop beating the “lineup protection” drum. That notion is false. Pitchers pitch to scouting reports and heat maps to get batters out. Not to who is batting behind them in the lineup. There are a only a few occasions during a ball game that a strategy calls for pitching around one batter to face another.

      • falselife

        People are so cynical and statistically minded on this site that they seem to overlook the emotional and mental components of the game, or anything competitive in nature. These aren’t robots and some people can take losing for a few seasons, and some players can’t. There will be unexpected fallout from this rebuild and the youth at the front of the curve could very well be the sacrificial lambs. Different strokes for different folks, but this process will derail a few careers.

        • Timmy

          This is EXACTLY what I’ve been saying for weeks. Morale is important, players with maturity and experience are important for younger players, and players get tired of being treated poorly and of owners who sabotage their chances. I think what you say here is exactly what’s happening to the team at the moment.

        • willis

          I completely agree with this. Purposely pissing away seasons can take a toll on guys that are insanely competitive. And the three “cornerstones” are all playing sub par right now.

          • Timmy

            I’m not sure a lot of these guys actually played baseball growing up. Was anyone ever on a bad team that didn’t get along with bad management? It sucked. Imagine traveling with them daily around the country and constantly being treated as an unimportant commodity and being told that the team won’t improve for years by design. These guys are like OK I’m rich but what in the world is going on here. After a few seasons they’re like “what’s the point?” Or possibly more cynically, “maybe if I mess up for a while they’ll trade me to a contender with real players”.

  • Bric

    So now I guess the Shark and Vitters for Porcello and Castellanos trade doesn’t look so one sided. Yeah, I know, sample sizes and sabremetrics and all that… but I’ve been saying for 3 years now that Shark isn’t anywhere as great as he thinks he (or some here) think which is fine when you’re 20 games under .500 but actually start to compete and you’ll see he’s a Marmol Jr. in the making. You stop learning and getting better when you stop listening and trying to improve.

    • Michael

      That’s pretty far fetched to say Marmol Jr. One thing also it’s not hard to spell Samardzija really. He is getting better each year and his numbers are actually pretty good but no he is not a ACE like some make him out to be. He trade value is much better then Garza’s and that’s why he should go. This team needs a trade like that to get back the best return, They are still 2-3 years away from being a competive team year in and year out and by that time Jeff will be 30-31

      • Bric

        Yes, it is too hard to spell Samardzija. And the one thing that both he and Marmol have in common is that neither were happy with just making the roster. Shark a couple of years ago shouted out to anybody ready to listen that he was a starter even though it looked like he was going to the bullpen. Marmol shouted equally as loud that he should be the closer even though that meant he was replacing a proven closer and he had nothing to prove it by. Talent only gets you so far and the rest is in your head. I was never on board with the Marmol closer thing just as I’m not on board with Shark being an ace.

        • Drew7

          “Shark a couple of years ago shouted out to anybody ready to listen that he was a starter even though it looked like he was going to the bullpen.”

          How dare him! And then, to top it all off, he goes and…pitches like a TOR starter?! What an idiot he is for having *gasp* self-confidence.

          Doesn’t he know that, to be *really* great, you have to think you suck?

          • Bric

            No, he just has to prove it on the mound much like Wood did this year when there were questions about him even making the roster in ST. I don’t recall Wood bitching or questioning the management or team direction and it seems to have worked okay. Any player that uses the media to do their talking for them becomes a monster of the media’s own creation. I think Braun and a bunch of others can suddenly now attest to that.

            • Drew7

              If you don’t think Shark has “proven it” on the mound for the past 1.5 years, you need to think again.

    • gocatsgo2003

      While Jeff may not be as good as he thinks he is, couldn’t that actually work in our favor? After all, if he turns out to be a solid #3 in the rotation for a good team we will (i) have a good team and (ii) not have to pay him what he is looking for.

      • Bric

        I’d like to think that’s true but considering his original contract was 5 mil and a NTC for a 14th round pick I’m thinking he’s going to demand the money he thinks he’s worth and it’s going to be a Brett Favre situation (at least to him). Recipe for disaster.

  • willis

    Well this will at least make the FO happy. They can say “look we suck, our ace was on the mound and we got killed.” anytime a reporter asks “does the recent winning change your philosophy?”

    • gocatsgo2003

      Yes. I’m sure they’re thrilled that a starting pitcher with two more years of team control is getting shelled. You’re spot on.

      • falselife

        Hell yes, drive that Arb number down! Get that ERA up around 7 and we can have him paying us…

        • willis

          Two fold approach. Winning isn’t important and they don’t like to pay big money. Win-Win for the FO :)

  • Hansman1982

    There’s the BN front page comments I’ve grown to love this year.

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah we get great news and it has become worse than Castro/Sveum hate.

      • hansman1982

        Let’s see here, yesterday 50 out of 1000 comments were negative, today 900 out of a 1000 comments so that gives us 95% negative comments in the past two days. Sound about right?

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Not to be negative, but isn’t that only 47.5% negative comments in the last two days?

          • hansman1982

            You see, it appears Goat is thinking we are getting a visitation from an old “friend” of the program. This guy had some interesting mathematical formulations for calculating BA (took Sandberg’s first two seasons BA, added them together and divided by two, check out B-Ref and see if you can spot the error).

            • MichiganGoat

              Oh I knew it wasn’t him but it today these comment just reak BadNews

            • Mr. B. Patient

              Cool. I was worried. I didn’t do so good with ‘new math’ the first time around.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    I would rather have us extend Garza and trade samardja….Shark sux rite now and we probably can get a better return in prospects

    • Big Joe

      Don’t worry, some stat head will show up, and with a wave of his magic wand, show us all how “advanced statistics” show that he’s been a lot better than he’s looked in his last couple starts.
      At the same time, he’ll show us all how Garza hasn’t been “quite as good” as he’s looked, since his return from the DL, and that he should be traded, before his “eventual regression”.

      • mjhurdle

        ya, nothing more annoying than when people do things like back up opinions with annoying things like stats and facts.
        everyone knows the most reliable measuring metric is the “eye test”, best when done in hindsight as well.

        • Big Joe

          Speaking of “eye tests”…I suggest you turn on the game.

      • Drew7

        •Garza won’t continue to give up 1-run per start

        •Shark won’t continue to get shelled

        It doesn’t take a magic wand or a fancy calculator to figure that out.

        • hansman1982

          Nonsense, everyone has forgotten about the “He is pretending to be hurt” talk in Spring Training, the “ZOMG HE IS A FRAGILE FLOWER!!!!” talk in May, or any of the other negative comments hurled his way now that he has strung a couple good starts together.

          No real different than when Soler and Baez traded top-prospect spots in Spring Training based on who hit a home run that day.

          • Whiteflag

            Well Baez is a bust. What is he batting .091 in AA. Terrible. Just Terrible. ;)

            • ssckelley

              .059 right now as he is 0 for 6 so far today.

              • Whiteflag

                He will be alright. In fact, I’m thinking this might be good for his ego.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Nah he’s a bum… This organization has destroyed him… FIRE THEO

        • TOOT

          I think the GREAT WHITE is chomping on the small shark. Jeff will alwaysys be average.

  • The Dude Abides

    If your not keeping them all you have to trade Garza. Assuming he makes every scheduled start for the rest of the year (what are the odds of that) he still will have missed 1/3 of his starts since he has been in Chicago.

    Would love to believe he is healthy but history says he will have another issue. Too bad really, nice starting staff especially if Baker comes around.

    • The Dude Abides

      by the way Darvish just went on the DL for Rangers

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

    I kind of feel bad for Jeff. Ransom catches that ball in the first(Valbuena would of caught it) and this game might still be within reach. I like how he’s responded since the first.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Flipping the old channel changer on ESPN and Buster Olney is saying Cubs asking teams to pay most of Soriano’s money due him if they want him in a deal.
    Also Darvish at Texas goes on the DL with a bad back.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Say whaaaaa? I hope he writes that up, because I’d like to see *exactly* what he’s hearing. If the Cubs don’t want to pay 90% of his deal, I understand. But if they’re not willing to pay at least 50% to get a good prospect, I’ll be annoyed.

      • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

        Quality of return in Soriano deal not mentioned by Olney, only what I mentioned about the salary owed. I’m guessing Cubs value him as option in 2014 OF with most prospects still a year or more away.

      • hansman1982

        Eh, I think I’d be willing to trade a flawed A-ball prospect for $10M in additional salary relief.

        • Timmy

          see this i disagree with. we’re willing to trade away a 28 homer run guy to save a billionaire money that he wont invest in the team? it’s only worth trading him to improve the team. we’re underspending by nearly 60million dollars this year, so it’s not a question of contract crunches.

          • hansman1982

            Let me see your math on the $60M figure.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I still can’t believe a team will take on most of Sori’s contract in a trade. If we want to even get a decent prospect we’ll need to eat half that contract. I know Sori’s playing better and still has that pop and is showing good movement on the base paths, but those knees still got to scare teams and he is not worth the $18mil he’s getting paid annually. Now if we made him $4-5mil player then I think that is great value for a team and then we’d get a pretty good prospect in return

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Rangers put Yu Darvish on DL with fatigue of his trapezius muscle. Dallas Morning news reports, The Rangers anticipate Darvish will be ready to be activated the first day he is eligible, which is July 22. It means he will essentially only miss one start.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        It doesn’t sound like Darvish’s injury is too serious. I’m not sure Texas will be that desperate, plus he gets to rest over the allstar break. Sounds like they were just being very cautious with him and want to give him some extra rest. But you never know. We were told Garza’s forearm strain last year was minor and it turned to be pretty serious

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    How much do you guys think it would take to lock The Shark up to a 5yr extension? 5yr-$65mil?

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    With Darvish out..do I here the Rangers a knocking?

    • baldtaxguy

      I initially thought the same, but I guess he’s back on 7/22 and the injury is described as one that just needs a week or two rest? I did not read much in detail, but it did not appear serious enough for the TX FO to react any more desperate than they may already be.

  • baldtaxguy

    The CUbe score. Rizzo knocks one in and is immediately off the trading block (until his next AB)

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