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coors fieldThe surging Chicago Cubs go back to the well tonight in Denver, and Junior Lake is back in center field (against a righty). I expect him to see a steady dose of breaking stuff all night long.

Carlos Villanueva gets the start, and I really hope the badass mustache is back. I want to see that almost as much as I want to see Lake make a throw to home plate (he’s got an 80 arm, if you didn’t know).

Game Info

Colorado Rockies (46-51) at Chicago Cubs (43-51), 7:10 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

Carlos Villanueva (2-5, 3.59 ERA, 3.76 FIP)

versus

Juan Nicasio (5-4, 4.89 ERA, 4.34 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. Juan Nicasio, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Luis Valbuena, 3B

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Junior Lake, CF

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Welington Castillo, C

9. Carlos Villanueva, P

  • fromthemitten

    They said on TV that they’re encouraging Lake to throw to the cutoff man since he’s not used to making throws from the OF :(

  • http://www.bleachernation.com CHC_13

    I’m excited to see Lake. I hope he can bring a much needed spark to this team

  • Terry

    I know it has been only one game but I would kind of like to see Lake in the leadoff spot.

  • MIke

    If lake looks good in center and has the best arm on the team this outfield can get crowed once solar, bryant and almora are ready. Would you move castro to 2nd so javier and bryant can play in the infield or do you take your best arm out of the outfield in lake and have him at second

    • Cubes

      that doesn’t sound crowded given that 3 of those guys are in A ball

    • Mush

      Every good organization would love to have 2-3 good prospects at each position so when you do become good you can trade them for major league ready players and not feel like cupboard was bare.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      That may be what ends up happening, but remember this:

      You put your best defender at each of these positions, in this order.
      1 – SS
      2 – second
      3 – thrid
      4 – right
      5 – left.

      if Castro is your best SS, he stays there. If Lake’s your best 2 nd basemen,he plays there. Regardless of arm.

      As Cubes said, we won’t have to worry about this for a while.

  • MIke

    I see them all playing by July 2015, with solar, baez and bryant already starters

    • Whiteflag

      I’d be pretty happy if they all make it to the bigs.

  • hello

    [Not sure what that was supposed to be.]

  • hello

    [I think you’re trying to post a picture, but it’s not quite working.]

    • Jp3

      That is hilarious

    • Jp3

      Need some help from Darth I think.

  • http://bleachernation.com Brian

    It is obviously to soon to slide Lake into the leadoff spot but i wouldnt mind seeing them flip him and Nate in the lineup. If he does continue like he did yesterday it would be nice to have something other than Barney/pitcher to drive him in. I don’t envision him staying hot but do see him staying above average.

    • http://bleachernation.com Brian

      Scratch that forgot about Castillo, i would still flip them.

  • X the Cubs Fan

    Off topic, but the Cubs getting a top 3 pick this year can be completely franchise altering because this upcoming draft has atleast 3 elite pitching prospects. Rondon and Beede: dominant college pitchers, Beede has the potential for three plus pitches. The third prospect is Touki Toussaint a highschooler who may have one of the sickest sliders I have ever seen (think Kershaw like) and his fastball hits 97.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      Meant to say curveball

      • Drew7

        I’d have a hard time seeing this FO drafting a HS arm at the top of the draft, and I don’t see a top-2 pick being in the cards.

        Oh, and TINSTAAPP.

        • X the Cubs Fan

          He’s an advanced high school pitcher in a different system he could make the majors by early 2016 but I don’t know how they would want to approach that. I could be wrong but he could be our Dylan Bundy/ Steven Strasburg.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      The Cubs players are sabotaging our dreams of another high pick by playing good baseball lately. We need to trade all the good players away ASAP

      • http://bleachernation.com Brian

        It will be sorted out as soon as garza is traded. With him and feldman out of the rotation we will lose at least every game they would have started. We really don’t have a good option to replace garza and villanueva isn’t an every 5th day starter.

  • chrisfchi

    it takes time to grow a stach like he had. time and training. but i agree. love the rollie fingers look

  • http://bleachernation.com Brian

    Anyone know why our catchers haven’t been worked with on framing pitches? Castillo doesn’t do as bad but Navarro is doing good to even catch the ball. Just watching this series alone there has been 2 different strike zones witj good pitch framing giving the rockies the better of the 2 zones.

    • wvcubsfan

      I would think that comes with time and practice. I’ve never been a catcher or taught the position, but I would think that the order is like catch the ball, throw the ball, block the ball, call the game, frame the pitches.

      • http://bleachernation.com Brian

        That sounds like a sound plan for prioritizing a catchers development, however you would think they would make that progression in the minors.

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    Nice to see Lake take a walk, as well as work a full count.

  • William

    That had to be a hit and run.

  • wkranz54

    6 for 6 as far as quality ABs for Junior

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

      He has been impressive so far. Lets hope he keeps it up and forces a tough decision on the FO.

  • DaveY
  • Jp3

    Best debut for a cubs CF since… Tuffy Rhodes…

  • DaveY

    Has anyone ever had a better debut for the Cubs that Rhodes? Three opening day homeruns off of one of the greatest cub killers of all time.

    • Jp3

      Probably not. Starlin was pretty good 1st game with like 6 RBI but yeah it’s hard to top 3 HRs off the Doc

  • Jason P

    Nothing more frustrating than watching Cubs pitchers walk the opposing pitcher

    • Mike

      I don’t get why Svuem didn’t have Villanueva walk the #8 hitter.

      • wvcubsfan

        Because he knew he was going to walk the pitcher and Fowler was going to hit a triple….duh

  • wvcubsfan

    Nice catch Junior

    • Jp3

      JUNIORRRRRR!!!(Sean Connery voice)

      • DaveY

        I have been thinking the same thing.

  • cubmig

    Will someone please explain to me why Villanueva is on this team? Is he supposed to possess Starter quality? If so what is it?

    • wvcubsfan

      He was supposed to be a swing man. He wasn’t supposed to be a quality starter, only someone that could start a game here or there. He’s a junk baller that needs borderline pitches to be called strikes and hitters to swing at balls if he’s going to have a decent start.

      To me he’s probably been what he was brought in for. A 6th or 7th starter that didn’t mind pitching out of the pen on a regular basis.

      • Jed Jam Band

        Yeah, you totally hit it on the head.

  • Beardface

    Ugh Castro :(

  • YourResidentJag

    Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 2m
    Another close call with @PWSullivan in Denver bar. Security intervened before Police needed to keep @PWSullivan off N’Shore Cub fan #douche

    Tweet just now from Gordon. Wow. Is this for real?

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