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wrigley field from right bleachersThe first thing you want to know: yes, Starlin Castro is in the lineup today after yesterday’s mid-game benching. I tend to think that’s fine. All you can do at this point is “send messages,” and yanking a guy mid-game sends a much louder message than giving him a game off the next day.

Adam Wainwright starts for the Cardinals, who now believe the Cubs are worthy of facing their ace. He gets Edwin Jackson on the other side.

Game Info

St. Louis Cardinals (70-52) at Chicago Cubs (53-69), 1:20 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

Adam Wainwright (13-7, 2.71 ERA, 2.47 FIP)

versus

Edwin Jackson (7-12, 5.05 ERA, 3.57 FIP)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 3B

2. Carlos Beltran, RF

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Allen Craig, 1B

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. Jon Jay, CF

7. Kolten Wong, 2B

8. Daniel Descalso, SS

9. Adam Wainwright, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, LF

2. Junior Lake, CF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Welington Castillo, C

6. Donnie Murphy, 3B

7. Starlin Castro, SS

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Edwin Jackson, P

  • nkniacc13

    gotta think this is the lineup that will be used most of the rest of the year

  • Jason

    281 responses last night with Castro’s Name in each one. Enjoyed the comments.

  • Melrosepad

    Would be nice to see Watkins get a start or two. Why not try him at third for a game or so, would be good to see if he can hold down a utility position next year.

    • cub2014

      if you aren’t going to play Watkins send
      him down please!

    • cub2014

      I am not giving up on Rizzo and Castro
      But can you imagine a power infield of:
      Vogelbach,Alcantera,Baez & Bryant, I know
      not the greatest defense on the right side
      but lots of power from these 4.

    • Headscratchin

      One thing not mentioned in all the Castro talk last night was why Sveum put Ransom in and not Watkins. Why would Ransom ever play again this year if you’re wanting to evaluate your talent for next year? It’s not like a Rookie could do much worse at the plate.

      Leave Murphy at third move, Barney to SS and put Watkins at 2nd. Heck – try Watkins at 3rd if you’re going move Murphy to ss.

  • Jason

    Tony Campana back up again with Diamondbacks. Limited role with 3 stolen bases and hitting .333. Kirk Gibson interviewed and likes elite speed with energy and creates havoc on bases. That’s Campy– Good season with Reno so maybe he will be stay up now.

    • MichiganGoat

      Well that’s a good enough sample to bring out the sCrappy love fest for him again. Cause that kid got grit

      [img]http://www.mememaker.net/static/images/memes/115449.jpg[/img]

      • cub2014

        Good news Goat,cubs have a scrappy guy that is
        almost as fast as Campy but better hitter. Will
        help in a couple of years for the playoffs
        JOHN ANDREOLI emphasis on scrappy!!!!!!

        • MichiganGoat

          Can he reach the cutoff man on a throw from mid center field?

          • cub2014

            Oh ya and has a good arm! I think?

          • Jason

            Goat: Look at todays Phoenix paper and picture of sliding player out at second base per throw directly from Campana. Ripleys believe it or not. I had just told my kid that at my age I have a better arm.

            • MichiganGoat

              Not sure what you are saying here? Are you praising Campana’s arm?

              • Jason

                Of course not–Go to Arz Diamondback–roster–Campana and then video will come up with him fielding one hopper off of centerfield wall and throwing out Murphy at 2nd. Best throw I have ever seen him make. We all know he is a one dimensional player trying to hang on but sure hope he gets a chance for playoffs. Nice kid.

      • jt

        Perhaps if The Cubs had a real ML player on the bench they would not have lost 25 one run games this year. But Campana used as a pinch runner would have been more useful than Sappelt or Cole Gillespie.

        • jeff1969

          And the two super young pitchers might be incredibly more useful than stinky Campana could ever have been. And it was more than worth it to exchange that 4th or 5th OF for those two lottery ticket type pitchers. The Cubs fan mentality of trying to win 77 games instead of 69 is incredibly frustrating. Didn’t you people live through the 70′s & 80′s with these Cubs. We had one stinkin year where we got close to the World Series, and at least a dozen just below .500 seasons and few really bad ones in there to get everybody fired from the last front office who was going to turn it around. The Cubs current front office is actually improving this team for the long term, not just propping up the poor overall job that nearly every other Cubs admin. has brought us since the days of Bill Veeck Sr.

          • cub2014

            come on jett you have to admit campana is one
            of the best at what he did (which profiles better
            with a playoff team). Certainly the subs we have
            used in his place have been weak. That being
            said Leal could end up being good and Andreoli
            could fit the same role that campana would have
            filled in the next couple of years.

            • caryatid62

              You don’t waste a roster spot on a pinch runner. You just don’t.

              • MichiganGoat

                Especially one who doesn’t play ++ defense.

                • jt

                  “Especially one who doesn’t play ++ defense.”
                  –MichiganGoat
                  *
                  Cubs have had 41 games of 122 decided by 1 run (16W, 25L).
                  Therefore, a single run has been very important in a full 1/3 of their games.
                  You love stats, prove to me that a guy who is capable of stealing both 2nd and 3rd in a single inning 90% of the time would not be cost effective for a roster spot?

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Because he’s not always going to steal two bases and all he can do is run – he can’t hit and he can’t field so you’re going to take a better hitter and fielder off a base in order to have a high risk chance of stealing 2 and 3 and then hope somebody drives him in. This is not a video game.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      ‘Therefore, a single run has been very important in a full 1/3 of their games’

                      But remember, the Cubs would have needed to score two additional runs in those games to turn losses into wins. Most losing teams have more one-run losses than one-run wins.

                  • Kyle

                    If there actually were a player capable of stealing 2nd and 3rd 90% of the time they were on first, I’d probably be willing to keep them on the roster.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Except that player doesn’t exist

                    • jt

                      “If there actually were a player capable of stealing 2nd and 3rd 90% of the time they were on first, I’d probably be willing to keep them on the roster.”
                      –Kyle
                      *
                      MLB totals 57SB 6CS… 90.+%
                      ok, he doesn’t steal every time. ok, he doesn’t steal 2nd and 3rd every time.
                      OK, there is a facetious element to my post.
                      But there is a point where a pinch runner with the above efficiency on a team having trouble scoring runs could be cost effective as the 25th man. I’m not aware of a determination of that point.

                    • Kyle

                      I’m intrigued by the idea too, but I have no idea where the cut-off point would be. The safest thing to do is find a baserunning specialist who also brings you some shred of value elsewhere.

    • hansman1982

      Too bad the “havoc on bases” myth isn’t true. A batter’s OPS increases because there is a runner on 1st regardless of the “havoctude” of that runner.

      • MichiganGoat

        Stats… geez whodathunk they could explain this

      • Kyle

        There was once a study that showed that batters hit significantly worse during PAs in which there was a stolen base attempt.

  • Cubswin

    Anytime I see donnie murphy hitting ahead of Castro I cringe

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Anytime time I see Donnie Murphy hitting I cringe.
      *fixed*

      • Cubswin

        Good point^^

      • turn two

        I’m not saying this guy is anymore than an end of the year fill in here, but why do you cringe when he bats? He is hitting 324/390/730 with 4 homeruns for us in his two week audition. You seem to just be joining the group that just relies on a negative schtick to join conversations.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          It was a joke. If you can’t laugh at this team, then you can’t laugh.

          Maybe it’s time people get tired of a big market, storied, major league franchise starting AAA castoffs, even if it’s for a few weeks.

          I love our minor league system, but you have to admit, it’s been very hard to be positive about anything to do with the major league team. They are an embarrassment to all of baseball.

  • cub2014

    Campana was injured and missed early part of
    season or would probably been up sooner. Great guy
    to have on the team if you are in a playoff run.

  • Mr. B. Patient

    Sandburg better start winning. We are currently tied with Philly for the 4th pick.

    I’m holding out hope for #3….

  • Cubswin

    Anybody know who the projected top 5 or 8 players in next years draft will be? Obviously it’s early and a ton can change but just wondering who I want the Cubs to shoot for. I know Rodon is likely #1 so besides him is what i’m looking for!

    • Mr. B. Patient

      College pitchers: Rodon, Beede, Cereroth
      College hitter: Trea Turner SS
      HS pitcher. Touki Troussant
      HS hitter: Alex Jackson C/OF

      these are the ones I can remember as consensus (at this point) top picks.

      • http://BleacherNation.com Andrew Korb

        *toussaint and Cederoth and yeah i’d put them in this order: 1.Rodon, 2.Beede, 3.Jackson, 4.Turner, 5.Cederoth, 6.Toussaint. I think these six are a fair amount ahead of everybody else.

        • Soda Popinski

          You’re forgetting about the HS SS Jacob Gatewood. Dave Perkin from Sports Illustrated has him as his #1 pick- even ahead of Rodon. He should probably be in the 5-8 range when it’s all said and done. Not saying we need another SS, but he’s on that list of top guys, too.

          • http://BleacherNation.com Andrew Korb

            Really? Everywhere I’ve read had him below these guys. I didn’t know he was though of that highly.

            • Mr. B. Patient

              I read he kind of had a bad summer, and dropped a bit. I’ve heard he’s in the ‘next 10′ range, with Tom Gordon’s other son, a HS SS/P.

              • http://BleacherNation.com Andrew Korb

                Yeah and most think he’s gonna have to move to the outfield most likely.

                • Soda Popinski

                  This was a month or two ago. It looks like he has dropped a bit. He still has “huge” power potential, though.

                  • Mr. B. Patient

                    Hey, next week he could be number 1, or off the list. It’s way too early, especially for HS guys.

                    I’m just waiting for the day when he can say ” I wonder who is going to fall to us’ with the 30th pick. “

  • Mr. B. Patient

    I guess the Cubs ‘genius’ does not apply to Yadier Molina.

    Season OPS: .855
    Vs. Cubs OPS: 1.257

    We should be able to figure it out by now.

    • caryatid62

      39 at bats.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        If you think they’re doing okay with him, fine. Other teams are finding a way to get him out. Why can’t our geniuses and $60 mil pitcher do it? Don’t we have advance scouts?

        • caryatid62

          39 at bats.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            So, you’re saying, because it’s a small sample size, his hits don’t count? It could be luck, I guess.

            • caryatid62

              You can’t draw any conclusions about a team’s approach to a player by 39 at bats.

              What about last year when he OPS’d .784 against the Cubs and .874 against the rest of the league? Were the same scouts doing different things? Or do the results of 39 at bats have way too much variation for them to be reliable.

              If the wind blows in instead of out for two at bats, Molina’s OPS drops 300 points against the Cubs. That fact alone makes any possible suggestion of reliability completely ridiculous.

  • Jason P

    Even if we lose this game, can we at least score some freakin’ runs?

    • Mr. B. Patient

      How?

  • MichiganGoat

    Oh Dale
    [img]http://i.imgur.com/Rf3lN7O.jpg[/img]

  • Gutshot5820

    Regarding Castro. “The way I look at it is, obviously, he had enough punishment — if that’s the right word or not — but I think to be embarrassed on national TV and what’s been written in the paper today, I think that’s plenty,” Sveum said Sunday

    What an ASS!!! Way to instill confidence an have your players back. I was always on Sveum’s side until this incident. As if Sveum hasn’t made a ton of mistakes as a manager. LMAO. Can;t wait til he is gone.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      You are right. Dale Sveum is not a leader.

      • Ivy Walls

        actually I think the Cubs are playing listless since the WC trip, they had their best game on Friday then these two games. The locker room is losing confidence and the manager is losing confidence and command.

        It is that season.

      • Gutshot5820

        First the guy(Sveum) basically destroyed Castro’s natural hitting ability by over-tinkering with his swing. And now he is destroying the confidence of a 23 yr old two time all-star. Obviously, whatever he is doing is not working. Castro is worth ten times any manager and I definitely don’t want Sveum being his mentor because he has no clue how to handle people.

  • http://gameagame Brandon

    Went to Sat. Cubs game and noticed a couple of things with Rizzo and Castro that I don’t really notice on tv…1.Never noticed that Rizzo is moving his whole body(towards pitcher and back to catcher) until he is ready to swing at the pitch, might explain all the foul balls on good pitches?…behind on the pitch. 2.Castro looks lost at the plate, his stride and swing are not matching up, striding early and “pulling?” the bat through the zone instead of swinging. I don’t go to many Cubs games, sat on first base side, and these are just two things that I noticed at the game but not on tv.

    • Ivy Walls

      probably right, both players are having mechanical issues at the plate.

      • Good Captain

        Isn’t that what batting coaches are supposed to fix?

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Brandon Hyde Cubs Director of Player Developement was on the Score – WSCR today with Barry Rozner and was very high in his praise of Javy Baez and his defensive abilities. He stated as well that the kid is very baseball smart and most of his errors come on balls other SS only dream of getting to.
    He said he tries to make throws that he will learn not to make after fielding these tough grounders. Hyde then said that Villanueva and Silva were having great years at AA considering how young they are for that advanced league. He also mentioned Hendricks and Rivero as pitchers who have really shown promise and that they possibly could make the 25 man roster coming out of 2014 Spring Training.

  • jim

    Ryno! If ricketts was real cub fan ryno wud have been
    mgr.

  • MoneyBoy

    Brandon: I watched the game Friday and I noticed frustration and confusion from Castro.

    I *think* Rizzo does that moving around thing all the time but I could be wrong. He seems to have a pronounced ‘hole’ down and in and is being consistently exploited.

    Lou Brock: That’s really interesting news from Hyde !!! Thanks much for reporting it.

    • http://gameagame Brandon

      I think they have messed with Castros swing a little too much. What in the hell is wrong with a. 300 hitter with 200+ hits a year? Some of his def. mental lapses is because he is thinking too much, twisted head or maybe he has some personal issues in his life, don’t know but somethings going on with him.
      As far as Rizzo you could be right about him always moving its just when he stops the “swaying” it looks like he is just a little late.Like I said I have never noticed that sway
      on tv, but it honestly looks like he is a little late on setting up and his swing.

      • MichiganGoat

        They changed it because he was a slap hitter who would swing at anything he could reach, eventually MLB pitchers would find a way to exploit that. They are trying to teach him to select pitches he can drive not just pitches he can slap. He failed at learning how to do this, hopefully next year he figured it out. Any MLB team would try to change his approach/swing.

        • willis

          I completely disagree. Until he failed, why f with it? Hell even if he slipped to .275ish…still a crap load better than his awfulness now.

        • Ben

          Roberto Clemente was a slap hitter–right into Hall of Fame. 600 hits and most slap line drives or ground balls for Castro and then along comes Brauns hitting coach from Milwaukee.

          • Ben

            Junior Lake–3 for 4 another slap hit to right. Let’s change him. Rob Dibble and Brauns hitting coach will be all over him.

            • Mr. B. Patient

              Ben, I’m sure they will. We can’t have anyone with a high avg….you know….batting avg doesn’t matter.

              (plus, we can’t have anyone from the prior regime succeed)

              • willis

                Ha, yeah batting average is for dummies. It means nothing! (sarcasm)

                I love that argument…baseball card stat or not, I want my “best” hitters having decent BAs.

                And I really can’t wait for them to curse Lake for hitting well and ruin Baez too. Can’t come soon enough.

                • Mr. B. Patient

                  My biggest fear (besides watching this team for two more years) is they are going to make Baez into a singles hitter. But, hey, at least he will take a walk now.

                  • Drew7

                    Why would teaching an approach that emphasizes waiting for *your* pitch turn a power-hitter into a singles-hitter?

                    • willis

                      I think that was a little tongue n cheek, seeing what’s happen to the best two hitters on the team (or so we thought).

                      I am frightened as to what Sveum, Rowson and Deer will do to Baez. Probably best to leave him in the minors until they are all fired.

          • MichiganGoat

            Well maybe they will just decide to tell Castro to hell with it and let him swing away freely… but I’d rather him learn how to be a great hitter but if he can’t then sure let him swing away, but MLB pitching will find a way to exploit a slap hitter.

            • willis

              He was a great hitter. Either he all of the sudden sucks at baseball or he got some really crappy instruction. I’m guessing he didn’t go from awesome to suck this quickly just for the hell of it.

          • N.J. Riv

            Today is actually Roberto Clemente’s birthday!

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Yeah, who wants a SS who has a .773 OPS. For two years, pitchers didn’t figure him out. They only started figuring him out when Rowson took over.

          • willis

            Exactly. And you know what, unfortunately I think they’ve screwed him up so much there isn’t going to be much of a rebound. Kid was as confident of a hitter as you get. All that gone.

      • willis

        You think? You’re damn right. They have ruined this kid. He was just fine, hitting the hell out of the ball to all fields. Now…he’s a shell of that with zero confidence. Not a damn thing wrong with what he was. Now…yikes.

        • willis

          BTW this response was to Brandon.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          I think Jed or Jason McLeod admitted they may have done some things to hurt Castro.

          • willis

            They’re right.

  • jeff1969

    Hey – saw a guy in a green BN t-shirt jumping up & screaming at the Donnie Murphy strike call. Way to go!

  • Chris S

    HA!! Saw that too! Was just going to post it.. Beat me to the punch!

    • Chris S

      Sorry, that was a reply to Jeff1969

  • Chris S

    That was a terrible call, btw.

  • willis

    Rizzo stays hot with another big RBI chance in the toilet.

    Nice cornerstones.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Didn’t you hear? Rizzo is having a great year.

      His sub .180 (yes .180) avg with runners in scoring position is just bad luck.

      • Kyle

        There needs to be a word for the humor in seeing someone sarcastically state a statement which is actually true.

        • http://www.w2wn.net Cerambam

          Haha I like that

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Maybe Bill James can make on up.

          Are you happy with Rizzo’s year? Well he is walking more, I guess.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            *make one* up.

          • Kyle

            “Happy’s” a relative term. He’s an above-average value at 1b. I was hoping for more than that.

          • Drew7

            Why does it have to be one of:

            A) he’s been awesome
            B) he’s terrible! He has no future!

            Can’t a guy be somewhere in the middle?

        • jt

          Rizzo’s BA when hitting to:
          LF = 0.299—-CF = 0.347—-RF = 0.250
          Rizzo has hit the ball to:
          LF = 87—CF = 119—RF = 156… Since he signed the contract he has been trying to pull everything.
          Rizzo is hitting a much greater % of FB’s in 2013 compared to 2012 and his BA on ground balls in 2013 is 0.179. As he tries to pull the low outside pitch he roles over and grounds out to 2B.
          I believe that it is highly probable that he allows pitches to pass that he could punch to LF early in the count so as to wait for a pitch he can pull. I also believe that it is possible that creates more K’s than he would otherwise have.
          I think, because of the change directly after the contract signing, it is very possible that the FO has asked him to do this in an effort to get him to learn to put more balls in the RF bleachers in 2014.

          • Ben

            Tis called the Rob Dibble hitting academy with consultant the former MVP hitting coach of R. Braun. Step carefully around the needles.

            • jt

              No it is not!!!! the Rob Dibble needle park.
              If it were then Rizzo would not need to use as much of his body weight.
              Try to torque your body that much without moving your head. If it were easy a lot of guys would be doing it.

          • Ben

            Well written comments—took some work

        • Hawkeye

          Know one will convince me that his BABIP luck is the only problem. I just to see him consistently squaring up the ball like last year.

        • wilbur

          unintentional irony

  • cubmig

    If the replay is instituted, the leagues need to add more cameras. What there is now falls short of giving conclusive evidence to overturn a call. The DeJesus call at home just now is a case in point.

  • N.J. Riv

    Does anyone know how much the big nacho helmet is at Wrigley?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think it’s in the $17 range. Looks delicious at first, and then after a couple minutes, it’s a pile of goo. Looks a bit terrifying. Need friends, and need to eat it relatively quickly.

    • chrisfchi

      When did Wrigley get a nacho hat? Never seen it there.

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