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coors fieldI know you’re all obsessing about Matt Garza and the impending (probably) trade, but there’s some baseball to watch tonight. And there’s a heck of a story line in center field: Junior Lake. As in, he’s starting. As in, he’s starting in center field for the first time this year. As in, he’s starting in center field for the first time in his professional career. He’s appeared in six games in right field.

He’s a freak of an athlete, though, so he can handle it (in terms of physical ability). We’ll see how his reads look, but I’m very excited to watch. Hopefully he can avoid the center-field-hating beasts that have attacked his predecessors.

Game Info

Colorado Rockies (46-50) at Chicago Cubs (42-51), 7:40 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.

Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija (5-9, 4.06 ERA, 3.62 FIP)

versus

Jorge De La Rosa (9-5, 3.21 ERA, 3.52 FIP)

Colorado Rockies Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. D.J. LeMahieu, 2B

3. Carlos Gonzalez, LF

4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

5. Michael Cuddyer, RF

6. Todd Helton, 1B

7. Wilin Rosario, C

8. Nolan Arenado, 3B

9. Jorge De La Rosa, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Darwin Barney, 2B

2. Cody Ransom, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Junior Lake, CF

7. Dave Sappelt, RF

8. Welington Castillo, C

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • Hansman1982

    Wow, did not expect that at all. Excellent work Sveum!

  • DarthHater

    Somebody needs to have a nice talk with Junior before the game, reassuring him that he won’t impress anybody by trying to run through the brick wall to make a play.

    • DarthHater

      Okay, it’s an away game, so the wall isn’t brick. But same concept.

  • Fishin Phil

    Dear Junior, Try not to hurt yourself – CF is very dangerous!

  • Rebuilding

    If Lake can learn to play CF credibly he becomes a much more interesting player. He’s got the athleticism and the arm and as we were talking yesterday he only needs to put up a .750 OPS to be very valuable

  • Mr. B. Patient

    4-Soriano
    5-Castro
    6- Lake

    Lots of plate discipline there.

    Guess we’re not going to set any walk records tonight.

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

    Lake: His problem will be liners right at him. And being cautious going back. Yeah, we kinda don’t need a Pete Reiser impersonation tonight in CF.

    • DaveY

      You saw Pete Reiser play?

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

        No, but all the stories are that he played like a man on fire, reckless abandon, striving to catch everything in the ballpark. He smack himself silly into the walls. BUT he was every bit as good as Willie on defense. Just needed to throttle back from WARP 9.9.

    • Jp3

      Yeah the cubs center field death trap… The other guys got injured and they have played CF a lot

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

        Lake: Patience Grasshopper, should be his chant.

        Yasiel Puig nearly DLed himself on Colorado’s RF. But he’s another Reiser, if he doesn’t cool it.

  • turn two

    Lake in center…fun for a day or two…commence painful spell of many losses.

  • fromthemitten

    Is Crappelt that bad of a CF that we’re making a guy make his MLB debut in a position he’s never played before?

    • Mr. B. Patient

      We don’t have a player with that name.

      • Patrick

        *facepalm*

        • fromthemitten

          lmao

  • SenorGato

    Hopefully Lake kicks ass during this showcase so he can has all the trade value possible.

    • Hansman1982

      Or, he shows he can play OK CF defense and mash 2 homers tonight on his way to a HoF career with the Cubs!

      • Andrew

        Optimism.. We need more of that.

  • DaveY

    I dread the plays on Junior Lake’s name in head lines…
    “The Next Great Lake!”, “Mistake by Lake”, “Lake not so Great”, “Junior going back to minors”….

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

      Good above the fold Headers. You might have a career in journalism. ;)

      Lake drowns in Coors!
      Lake swallows up Coors Field
      Junior old enough; Coors Field accepts

      Bad puns over.

    • Funn Dave

      “Lake? More like Puddle!”

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

        Ha Ha. ;)

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

    I’d take 2-4, and walk. Maybe a nice catch with awareness of the fence.

    But from all reports, defense is not his ticket to the bigs. Great athlete, but converting that to a steady fielder has been…rough.

  • Crockett

    I love baseball.

  • Cubbie in NC

    I am just thrilled that I do not have to watch Borbon throw 2 hoppers and rainbows to the cut off man from the alleys in Colorado tonight…

    • DocPeter Wimsey

      Be carefull for what you wish….

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

        Lake fires it into the dugout on a fly…That would trigger bells – like – where was Garza?

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

          I think visitors dugout is on the 1st base side. Unsure though.

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

    Off topic, I did the cages last night. Still can hit those 85MPH fastballs. It reminded me of the times I spent in CF in high school. Sometimes, that wasthe only place I felt at peace in that era of life.
    Turning 41 – and those days seemed more alive than my present for various reasons too deep to involve the Cubs.

    I hope to hell we see 4-5 of the guys that will win us a WS by year’s end on the MLB club. To see them struggle to success – will be worth the waits we all put in.

  • DEEP PURPLE

    Let’s hope the second half is better . Most of the year the bullpen has been like Jerry’s B.O. afflicted car on Seinfeld. No matter what we do we can’t get the stink totally out.

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

      We’ll trade it out!

      New rides!

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

    Here comes a Lake HR, I’m calling it.

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

      Eh, I’m not impressed. :)

      • cubzfan

        No patience. Send him back down.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Damn! Lake has some quick hands through the strike zone!

    • cubzfan

      Damn! Lake has some quick feet stealing third!

      • cubzfan

        Damn! Lake has some bad baserunning instincts!

  • baldtaxguy

    Lake doubles just like that. Steals 3b just like that. Very nice.

  • Austin

    Did Basio just throw his first hit ball to the stands?

    • Tobias

      Nope, substitute other ball that made it look like he threw Lake’s ball into the stands. Standard joke with a player’s first hit ball.

  • Beardface

    THE LAKE EFFECT!

  • Jp3

    Love the riot that will happen if Lake is 8-14 and we send him back down because Dejesus or Sweeney is coming off the DL..

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I really wanna see Junior Lake’s scout graded 80 arm on display with a outfield assist

  • CBP

    Soriano is still hot

  • rabbit

    twitter is a mess…they are as useless as hell with all the false rumors

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Twitter doesn’t spread false rumors. People spread false rumors.

      • rabbit

        twitter is being abused then…

        • Cubbie Blues

          As can just about anything.

          • Hansman1982

            Even people’s mouths. Maybe people’s mouths are useless.

            • Cubbie Blues

              Clearly yours is while on stage. ::lol::

  • Vince

    Toasters don’t toast toast. Toast toasts toast.

  • Bric

    Samardzija’s a number one only in the minds of the Cubs faithful and his own. Too many guys get way too many good looks and hit the ball way too hard on him. He’s not even a decent number two. Cue all the angry Irish fans…

  • KidCubbie

    That CarGo at bat was funny as hell.

  • KidCubbie

    Lake is 3-4 tonight. Good first game.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Don’t forget the SB and the TOOTBLAN. Oh, also the obligatory CFer to OF wall meet and greet.

  • CBP

    Strop has nasty stuff!!! He looks amazing so far with the cubs.

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