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wrigley field from right bleachersTravis Wood’s second half hasn’t gone quite as well as his first half, but, you know, sample sizes and all that. At least he’s still a beast with the bat.

On the other side is Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Korean pitcher on whom the Cubs bid, but lost out (by a fair bit) to the Dodgers. He has been quite good.

Game Info

Los Angeles Dodgers (58-49) at Chicago Cubs (49-59), 3:05 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.

Starting Pitchers

Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-3, 3.14 ERA, 3.50 FIP)

versus

Travis Wood (7-7, 2.79 ERA, 3.62 FIP)

Los Angeles Dodgers Lineup

1. Mark Ellis, 2B

2. Nick Punto, SS

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4. Yasiel Puig, RF

5. Scott Van Slyke, LF

6. Andre Ethier, CF

7. A.J. Ellis, C

8. Juan Uribe, 3B

9. Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Junior Lake, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Welington Castillo, C

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Cody Ransom, 3B

7. Cole Gillespie, RF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Travis Wood, P

  • Cedlandrum

    Yikes on order. Maybe Wood should hit higher. Kidding, not kidding.

    • ssckelley

      As good as Wood has been hitting compared to the rest of the team you could justify batting him as high as 5th in the lineup.

      not kidding

      • Chris

        An A plus athlete. I was so wrong on the Marshall trade.

      • TWC

        You’re not kidding. Oh really.

        Travis Wood’s batting success in his (colossal and statistically significant!) 44 plate appearances this season suggest to you that he should bat 5th. His previous 130+ PAs over the preceding 3 seasons (.158/.158/.292) suggest *what*, exactly?

        • On The Farm

          Crazy to think Wood has as many HRs as our clean up hitter. I know that’s not the end all be all, but still.

        • Funn Dave

          Improvement.

  • Josh t

    If there was ever a DH in the NL could we allow Travis wood to hit and DH 2nd base so Barney would have to hit? Literally i would rather have Travis woods bat in the lineup then Barney’s. if it weren’t for Barney’s gg ability at 2nd he wouldn’t be in majors

    • ssckelley

      That would be awesome!

      • waittilthisyear

        i think i read on these boards earlier that its unlikely there are any notable septemeber callups, though i saw hoyer mentioned they might take a look at olt in sept. anyone else stand out to you guys as a prospect who may get a look next month? perhaps a second baseman of some kind

        • TheDondino

          Logan Watkins should be given a chance, already on the 40-man, can play a bit of OF along with 2B.

          • On The Farm

            Where would he play in the OF? He certainlly doesn’t deserve to steal ABs from Schierholtz and DeJesus, and he bats LH. Now platooning him with Barney might not be a bad idea (in September)

            • TheDondino

              More a platoon with Barney than any extra time at OF, just pointing out that he could pick up some extra days in the OF if needed so he isn’t strictly a bench bat.

              • cms0101

                Watkins doesn’t deserve to get a chance in the Majors this season just based on his current performance. If there were a roster spot available due to other trades that didn’t happen, I’d be fine with him being promoted to take over an empty spot. But that’s just not the case. I’m not in love with Barney either, but Watkins doesn’t appear to be the answer.

                • On The Farm

                  But since he is already on the 40 man, he wouldn’t really be stealing a roster spot from anyone as a September call up.

                • TheDondino

                  I’m not saying he deserves it, but he’s 23 and occupying a valuable spot on the 40-man. Why not bring him up and see what we have in him at the big-league level so we can make a better decision on what to do with him during the off-season.

                  • cms0101

                    He’s not performing in AAA. Just like with Jackson last season, I’m not sure it makes a ton of sense to bring someone up who’s underperforming at his current level. With Jackson, at least he has real power. Watkins isn’t real fast, doesn’t hit for power, and isn’t a better defender than Barney. Sure, if you need another infield bat in September and you don’t mind starting his arbitration clock now, call him up. I just don’t see it happening, given his current level of performance. In fact, if the 40-man starts to fill up in the offseason, I’d expect he’d be a candidate for removal. Chances are not high that a team would draft him in the Rule 5 anyway.

                    • JB88

                      A September call-up I could certainly see. Given Barney’s struggles at the plate and Watkins’ OBP, I’d be curious to see how he fares in the majors.

                    • On The Farm

                      I agree to say that you are “starting Watkins clock” is kind of an eye roller. Its not like this guy is going to be a world beater. Giving him a month tryout isn’t the end all be all to his clock, and seeing what you got when your MLB guy isn’t lighting the world on fire, why not give him a look before you remove him from the 40 man?

                    • Kyle

                      Jackson was at least hitting at a decent level in AAA, even if the strikeouts were a huge negative indicator.

                      I really hate the idea of giving someone a free callup when they are being mediocre or worse in the PCL, just because it’s fun to see prospects promoted.

                    • On The Farm

                      Kyle-

                      I am not sure if you are arguing against me, but if you are, I think it make sense given Watkins age and 40 man roster spot to give him a shot see what he has got. Try and discern if he has a shot to be a replacement for Barney next season (assuming he starts in Iowa 2014).If he is as bad as Jackson you can consider removing him from the 40 man and there is a good chance no other team will steal him in the Rule V. I hate seeing guys promoted for the fun of it as much as the next guy, but I am truly curious as to could Watkins be an upgrade over Barney (not that hard of a feat).

                    • JB88

                      Generally I agree with Kyle that you don’t promote just to promote a kid, but with Watkins already on the 40-man roster, Alcontrera nipping at his heals in Double A, and Barney scuffling this year in the batter’s box, plus with the oncoming crunch of the 40-man again this offseason, I think you really need to figure out whether some of the glut on the 40-man are worth keeping around or exposing to waivers or the Rule 5 draft.

                    • cms0101

                      Kyle has captured the spirit of my thoughts on this. Being called up to the majors is a reward. Just being called up because you’re on the 40-man roster diminishes that. I really don’t care that his arbitration clock would start, as I’m not sure he’ll ever accrue enough time for it to matter. I suspect he will not be called up. I won’t lose any sleep if he does get the call. I just wouldn’t do it, if it were up to me.

                    • cms0101

                      If you want to see Watkins, buy the MiLB package and watch Iowa games. I’ve seen plenty of him there to determine he’s not ready for the majors. If he has a ridiculous August, I’m open to rethinking my position in September, but up to this point, he’s just not deserving, regardless of the 40-man spot he already holds. Same for Jackson. The only conceivable exception would be injury. I’d rather see Watkins than Donnie Murphy or Edwin Maysonett.

                    • TheDondino

                      It’s not just promoting him because it’s fun, it’s a good business decision. If a decision on his 40-man status is going to be made this off-season, then the FO should have all the info available and 40-60 at bats in the majors is a whole lot of extra info they won’t get by ending his season. Barney and Valbuena are known commodities, why not use the September playing time on something that isn’t a known commodity. There’s no downside.

                    • Kyle

                      There’s a place where we get the information to make those sorts of business decisions on players who aren’t good enough to make the majors. It’s called AAA.

                      A player playing in AAA isn’t an unknown commodity.

                    • Kyle

                      “I am truly curious as to could Watkins be an upgrade over Barney”

                      Plug his PCL numbers into an MLE calculator and your curiosity will be sated.

                      (spoiler alert: at the moment, he’s not better than Barney offensively)

                    • Rebuilding

                      Barney isn’t the answer…but neither is Watkins. Alcantara looks like he could be (although he has been in a bad slump lately)

                    • ssckelley

                      No way Watkins gets removed from the 40 man, the guy is only 23 and this is the first year he did not improve statistically since he was in Boise.

                      While he is not tearing it up at Iowa a log jam is forming at the middle infield positions. Watkins might get 1 more year at AAA before they are forced to make moves. Statistically Watkins has a higher OBP and OPS than Barney did at AAA before Barney got a September call up.

                    • Rebuilding

                      You’re right that Watkins won’t get removed from the 40 man as he might be useful as an injury replacement or fringe backup infielder. He’s now got 2500 ABs in the minors so you can figure out what he’ll do in majors over time. He’ll have a slightly better bat than Barney due to OBP with half of the glove. It’s probably a wash or a slight downgrade overall

                    • Pat

                      40 – 60 at bats in the majors while the rosters are expanded is not really much additional info for the front office. The confidence interval (or error bars) on a sample that small is so large that it essentially readers the results worthless. It’s like handing out jobs based on spring training performance.

                      I have no problem if they want to bring Watkins up in Sept, although I don’t feel he has really earned it. But I would have a big problem if they brought him up under the assumption that they were going to learn anything useful.

        • On The Farm

          I think a notable callup will be Jake Arrieta and Justin Grimm. Will they work Arrieta into the rotation to get him some more work (what I think), or will they slot him into the bullpen and get some innings out of him that way. Similarly with Grimm if he does well down in Iowa does he deserve a couple spot starts in the rotation in September or should he get a few bullpen opprotunities? It will be hard since Shark, Wood, Jackson, Villanueva, and Rusin are all team controlled for the next season. You could probably make a strong case Rusin could go to the pen and let Arrieta/Grimm have a few starts, but if Rusin is successful I see no reason to move him from the pen.

          Also, I think there will be a lot of bullpen arms that may not be as sexy of call ups on paper, but guys like Schlitter, Carbrera (who may also merit a few starts as well since he has to be on the 25 man next season), Raley, and I am sure there are more I am forgetting. I still think it will be an interesting September even without the big name prospect call ups.

        • CubsFaninMS

          I like Frant Batista in AA. One of the best closers in our system that gets very little love. They need to call him up at some point.

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

      Here’s hoping for a short AAA stint for Arismendy Alcantara. June 1st of 2014 arrival.

      • willis

        Alcantara is our one hope for 2B throughout the system. Amaya has talent but is far off. Hopefully Alcantara is the real deal.

  • http://cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

    6-8 in the order – ouch. Castillo as a cleanup hitter is pretty rough too, but I don’t think you can really blame Sveum. Ryu would have been a tough matchup for Schierholtz, and who else are you going to bat there?

    • Soler Power

      Travis Wood!!!!!!!!! If not cleanup, at least 8th or 7th.

  • http://JUICEDMOTORSPORTS.COM JUICED1

    Vogelbach for DH in 2016

    • Josh t

      I’m literally hoping just for DH in the NL just in the hopes we’ll have spot in the lineup to see him launch some “vogelbombs”. I’m hoping Vogs makes it to the bigs bc I think he’ll be pretty fun guy to watch

      • http://JUICEDMOTORSPORTS.COM JUICED1

        Exactly but the NL needs the DH if they are going to play the AL as much as they are this season. It really gives them an unfair advantage.

  • Die hard

    Long ago I advocated Wood higher… Sveum nixed idea

    • MichiganGoat

      Didn’t realize you are a part of the FO?

    • MichiganGoat

      Diehard, just out of curiosity can you please outline for us the ideas you have advocated that the FO has nixed?

      • DarthHater

        Hey, I thought you were gonna ignore him? :-P

    • DarthHater

      I see the Dodgers have really been stretching out Marmol by pitching him a total of 2.2 innings in the past 10 days. He’ll be in the starting rotation in no time.

      • Hansman1982

        Remember how before be was traded everyone wanted him released and then he was traded everyone was pissed and now no one mentions him?

        Man that was a fun 2 days.

      • Die hard

        Ditto

  • William

    May as well move him up in the order to at least sixth. He’s a much better hitter than our sixth, seventh and eighth hitters combined.

    • DarthHater

      Combined career batting line of Ransom, Gillespie, & Barney: .238/.299/.365
      Career batting line of Wood: .193/.202/.354

      Please note: while it is true that the first line sucks, the second line is definitely not better.

      • William

        I was referring to this year.

        • DarthHater

          Translation: You were basing a sweeping assertion on 44 plate appearances instead of on a meaningful sample size.

          • William

            I was kidding, anyway and giving Wood credit at the same time. I know it’s a small sample size, but he has a sweet swing for a pitcher.

            • TWC

              Nah. Ted Lilly had a sweet swing for a pitcher. He only accidentally made contact, but it was a great swing.

              • William

                Just the sweetest swing of all time!

                • TWC

                  Like an out-of-control helicopter…

  • Lou Brown

    So, Carlos Marmol facing 6-8 in our lineup, who wins that battle of the suck?

    • On The Farm

      Well Ransom can’t hit RHPs, so even Marmol wins that battle. Both Gillispie and Barney then draw walks. So its 9 spot with two on and one out.

      • mjhurdle

        then Marmol hits the 9 spot hitter to load the bases, strikes off the lead off guy. bases juiced, 2 outs, he goes up 0-2 on the 2 spot, then hits him forcing in a run, then gives up a slam to Rizzo.

        ahhhh….i miss Marmol already.

        • On The Farm

          You forgot to mention how far outside the zone the first pitch of the AB was to the 2nd batter. Lake promptly whiffs hard.

      • Lou Brown

        Well the 9 spot is Wood, so maybe a 3 run shot happens there, unless of course Marmol just hits him.

  • JB88

    Someone forward this lineup card to Olt, Baez, Soler, and Bryant as motivation …

  • Josh t

    Why do ppl want to sign a 30+ ellsbury to 5yr deal for big $? Anyone ever heard of Carl Crawford? How’d that speed base player deal end up. Crawfords main asset was his speed and same goes for ellsbury. Speed is the first skill to decline. If you guys think you can just sign ellsbury to a 3yr deal your crazy and don’t know the market he’s at least going to sign a 4 yr deal. I think ppl are a just dying for the cubs to be competitive again and they aren’t think realistically about signing FA’s.

  • CubsFaninMS

    ESPN….

    “In other news, YASIEL PUIG will be playing against some other MLB team in Chicago, IL! Now a brief word from Melissa Puig, Yasiel’s mother….”

  • CubsFaninMS

    Travis Wood’s key to success has been staying around the strike zone all season. He will have to buck that trend if he plans on Yasiel Puig going less than 4 for 4.

  • Blublud

    That was an extremely good at-bat for Lake!!!

  • William

    Lake>Puig

  • Ed

    Anyone else notice that Cole Gillespie cant hit a baseball?

    • TWC

      ‘Cept for when he does. Like he just did.

      • TWC

        ::clears throat::

        • TWC

          Lulz.

  • sven-erik312

    Seems like Wood doesn’t have it today

  • willis

    Wood battling it hard today. He’ll be done after this inning.

    Lineup sucks. That’s just the way it’s going to be the rest of the season. But, nice to see two good ABs from Lake. If he’s crashing back down to reality, as some suggested, I’m not seeing it. He’s a fun bat to watch.

    But yeah with this lineup, it’s amazing they’ve scored one run.

    My thoughts on call ups-Cabrera, Raley, Arrieta will get call ups. No point in my mind of calling up Olt with him being terrible and all. But, we’ll see.

    • http://Cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

      Agreed. Wouldn’t mind Watkins getting a look in September, either. He hasn’t been tearing up AAA and he may have to repeat the level next year, but he’s already on the 40-man and his offense can’t be much worse than Barney’s.

  • CubsFaninMS

    Michael Bowden? This will be like puigame batting practice for Puig. Afraid to watch.

    • willis

      Oh yeah, now bases loaded. Color this one over.

      • CubsFaninMS

        Thankfully our frustrations are tempered by some good performances (Lake, Rizzo) and the promise of an awesome draft pick in about 11 months…oh yeah…

        ..and Baezinga.

  • Rebuilding

    Funny how regression to true talent/ability works. Jackson is heading one direction and Wood the other

  • http://Cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

    Wood definitely wasn’t good today, but it seemed like he also got insanely unlucky. Ump had a tight zone, defense was bad, and a lot of bloops we’re finding holes.

    Overall this has has been a long game, both figuratively and literally. Amazing how much worse this lineup looks without Soriano in there everyday.

    • willis

      You need a touch of a liberal ump for Wood to be most effective. He’s always around the plate, rarely right on it. It’s part of being a non power lefty. This guy just had a very tight zone, add that to Wood not having his best stuff-disaster of a start.

      • http://Cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

        Very true, same goes for Villanueva, Rusin, and unfortunately most of the Cubs bullpen. Really, Strop’s the only guy Sveum can throw out there to overpower batters.

        • Soler Power

          Rondon also, but he doesn’t understand the concept of a strike zone.

          • willis

            Rondon is awful. I’m not sure when they’ll do it but he needs to get “injured” soon.

            • http://Cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

              Or just send him back to the Indians. I don’t see much upside in a guy with undeveloped secondaries, poor command, and a fastball that sits 92-93. He’s not young, either — he’ll be 26 before next year starts.

              He’s essentially Henry Rodriguez with worse stuff.

              • willis

                Agreed. Losing him wouldn’t do a damn thing to this organization. It would be fine by me. He’s just not good.

                Another TJS failure for the cubs.

    • Kyle

      He’s been due for that bad luck all year. He’s not immune to BABIP, though it has at times felt like it.

      The ump/squeeze thing is going to be an overrated narrative for the next day or so. Those were legit misses with almost any ump. Close, but legit.

      • http://Cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

        After today, his BABIP is actually only 2 points lower than it was last year. He’s been lucky this year, but not to the extent Villanueva was early in the year. 3.69 FIP is still pretty darn solid.

  • Rich

    The magic that is Travis Wood has expired

    • mudge

      Let’s dfa him immediately.

      • TWC

        Woodchipper.

    • Jed Jam Band

      Just to spite you, he will pitch a no-hitter next time out.

  • Jon

    Man, it really, really, really sucks we lost out on Puig.

    • BlameHendry

      Honestly, with as much as I hate him, I’m pretty happy he’s not on our team. I dont even care about the production, I hate cocky players, even when they play for our team, and players that are the second coming of Jesus Christ to the sports media. I just can’t stand it. If you have success, thats great and I’m happy for you because of that, but put your head back down and play the fucking game just like everyone else. I hate that fucker, more than I hate Yadier Molina, and man do I hate him too. What really gets to me is seeing Lake hit 2 HRs and making an amazing catch (doing it all humbly I might add) and then seeing ESPN act like it never happened because they can’t stop orgasming over 1 almost meaningless homer from Puig in the 9th inning

      Even some of Puig’s teammates are annoyed by him, and that really says a lot about how big of an ego he has, and how much of a media circus there is following him all the way home every night and reporting on what cereal he eats for breakfast each morning. They might as well rename the Dodgers to “Puig and some other guys”. When your own teammate dont like you, you’re doing it all wrong.

      Now, hopefully our FO is starting to learn a tough lesson about letting these kind of players slip away. They also lost big on Cespedes, who I would much rather have over pweeg. They let it happen again with Miguel Alfredo Gonzales, so apparently they haven’t quite learned yet.

      • TWC

        Do you have a high-pitched, whiny voice? Because your comments sure do.

        • BlameHendry

          oh sorry guys, I forgot I wasn’t allowed to speak my opinion on a player.

          • Rebuilding

            I have a feeling that if you ever met the 6’3″ 245 lbs Puig in person you might be a little nicer

          • TWC

            Who said you weren’t? However, your manner of doing to makes you sound like an whiny adolescent.

          • MichiganGoat

            You can freely speak your mind but when you do it with a series of F him and F that it comes across as unintelligent and pathetic, and don’t act like you wouldn’t be thrilled to have Puig on the Cubs. Take a breath and relax before you spew ridiculousness and unnecessary vulgarity on the main page.

            • willis

              What the F ever Goat. F U and F off. You f’er :)

      • MichiganGoat

        So I’m sending you have hate? Please share and add as many f-bombs as you can fit… Without them I wouldn’t know you are angry.

  • William

    That’s an error, not a hit!

    • William

      They just want to give Puig a hit and raise his average.

      • TWC

        Loosen up that tinfoil hat, kiddo.

        • William

          I am just sick of hearing about him like he’s the only player in baseball. I hope he goes in a huge slump, so ESPN can stop having an orgasm everytime he gets a hit.

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

            So, ESPN can call it a Puigasm!

            Def: The overwhelming physical sensation had went Yasiel Puig does anything remotely worth talking about; in the vein of worshiping Yasiel Puig.

            Sent. Usage: The female ESPN reporter had her first Puigasm, likening it to an immaculate visit from God.

            Variations: Puigtastic, Puigsational, YamoPuigthere, Puigarella, Puig-a-thon

            • CubsFaninMS

              …and the all elusive, Puigapotamos.

      • Jed Jam Band

        Yes, because ESPN owns the scorers too!

  • Carmelo

    Living in L.A. I can’t tell you how many balls Puig has hit that should have been called errors—-he’s good, but he always is getting the benefit of the call.

  • Rebuilding

    That fortunate hit by Valbuena aside, both Ransom and Valbuena have turned back into pumpkins. Valbuena has quietly been terrible and waaayyyy below replacement level for over 2 months now. Unfortunately, we don’t have any other options (this year or most of next) if Olt doesn’t remember how to hit

    • willis

      Ransom does and has looked insanely lost at the plate for awhile now. I almost think with Valbuena’s ability to take a walk may as well let him start at 3B every day. But he ain’t doing much either.

      • willis

        I ended that early, was going to point out exactly what you did there at the end. There are no options right now. Come 2015 there will be a couple. But now, nothing. Not sure what they do about it.

      • Rebuilding

        I didn’t realize how bad Valbuena had been until I looked. His OPS:

        June .563
        July .615

        • willis

          I saw Lake at 3B for a couple games here in Memphis. He didn’t seem just Mr. Smooth over there, but not quite a butcher. Question for me is once Sweeney is healthy, put him in LF and may as well put Lake at 3B. That would strengthen the lineup a little. And if he’s just brutal, then kill the experiment.

          Need production out of 3B.

  • mudge

    clear ‘em ddj.

  • mudge

    not like that….

  • willis

    Unreal. 12 damn hits. 2 runs. Lord have mercy.

  • William

    So much for Lake hitting a grand slam. I have been talking about how much I love David Dejesus’s approach with runners in scoring position the last couple of days and he does that. I still love me some David DeJesus!

  • Rebuilding

    The only team in MLB with a lower BA with RISP than our .227 is….the Pirates?! (.223)

  • Rebuilding

    And Lake is 4-4

    • William

      Him and his bat says “I am not going back to Iowa!”

    • willis

      Yep. Man he’s no good though…

      I really can’t believe people were saying that. He’s a joy to watch out there.

      • Rebuilding

        He is highly entertaining and has as much athleticism as we’ve seen in awhile, but wait until the book gets around on him. If he goes 1-25 at some point, but then gets hot again I will start to believe a little more

        • willis

          He skidded for a few games there and has bounced back well from that. He’ll go through slumps surely, but so far I’m impressed.

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