wrigley field from right bleachersCliff Lee remains very good, and is the latest of a long line of dominant pitchers the Cubs have faced lately. It’s weird when Roy Halladay was the easy one.

Game Info

Philadelphia Phillies (62-73) at Chicago Cubs (56-78), 3:05 CT on CSN, MLBN.

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 lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cliff Lee (11-6, 3.07 ERA, 3.03 FIP)


Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.64 ERA, 3.82 FIP)

Philadelphia Phillies Lineup

(Yesterday’s lineup, due to writing early – if someone could post the correct lineup in the comments when it is released, I’d be much obliged.)

1. Michael Young, 3B

2. Jimmy Rollins, SS

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Domonic Brown, LF

5. Carlos Ruiz, C

6. Darin Ruf, 1B

7. John Mayberry, RF

8. Roger Bernadina, CF

9. Cliff Lee, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

(Yesterday’s lineup, due to writing early – if someone could post the correct lineup in the comments when it is released, I’d be much obliged.)

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Junior Lake, CF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Dioner Navarro, C

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Donnie Murphy, 3B

7. Brian Bogusevic, LF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Chris Rusin, P

  • http://permalink papad1945

    “Please get rid of our third base coach, he sucks.”

  • Headscratchin

    Doubt if Dioner (sure that isn’t a misprint and should be Dinner?) will be in the lineup today. He’s probably still sucking wind from hauling that piano from second to home yesterday. I really do like the guy, but COME ON MAN!

    • DocWimsey

      With a good throw, that play is not even close. With a good runner, that play is not even close, but in the other direction! With a good throw and a good runner, the play would have been close again.

      • Mitch

        doc. quite a tight rope.

      • Headscratchin

        That’s what made it so laughable. With two out, Dinner should have rounded third before the ball got to the fielder and the fielder would have thrown the ball to second and there wouldn’t have even been a play. Instead, the fielder throws a fourteen hopper to the plate that is litterally rolling by the time it gets to the plate and they still get him by three steps! They has time to switch camera angles several times while that play developed. You could that play and some creative editing and the right music and have one hilarious blooper play.

        • The Cleanup Poster

          Someone should put it to Yakkity Sax for us and post it.

  • Deacon

    Just curious…hasn’t Rusin put up better numbers for the Cubs than Garza has put up for the Rangers since he got traded there? Does anybody know?

    • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

      Garza in 7 starts with TEX: 4.44 ERA, 1.192 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 95 ERA+
      Rusin in 8 starts with CHI: 2.64 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 5.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 149 ERA+

      • Eternal pessemist

        But Rusin has been rubbing Buddah’s belly for luck before each game. Wonder what opponent OPS is for each during this span.

        • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

          Garza opponents OPS w/TEX: .744
          Rusin opponents OPS w/CHI: .683

          • Eternal pessemist

            Thought so. Think that is an important part of he stat comparison.

            • Eternal pessemist

              Btw, thanks!

  • Jason

    Pirates back in first place tie with Cards. Big story in sports this year for Clint Hurdle and co.

    • cubmig

      I hope the Pirates catch fire and burn the deadbirds to dust……..can’t stand those sh*tbirds.

      • Frank

        The correct term should be…Turdbirds.

        • Headscratchin

          Or just turds.

  • Mitch

    Hall of Fame Sandberg played 1100 games at Wrigley and the Cubs only blew a 5-0 lead 3 times. Per Jayson Stark. Big time criticism from baseball guru Joey da Fish as to why Sveum did not pinch run for Navarro–huge decision.

    • Jeff

      The only correlation I can draw from that statistic is that Dale Sveum wasn’t managing back then.

    • cub2014

      Who’s coming up this weekend? I have heard
      that Valbuena & Sweeney are coming off DL. I
      would think that would also include Baker. The 40
      man guys would be:Cabrera,Raley,Grimm,Sanchez
      Sappelt, Boscan and might as well bring up Olt &
      Rosscup if they can add him to the 40 man.

      • willis

        I would think Sappelt, Sanchez and Raley out of that group. I doubt any more.

  • Brains

    Our lineup looks like it was taken from a 1981 AA team schedule on a religious holiday.

  • Mitch

    Wife is a Cubs fan but her bad news of the day is Tebow cut this morning. Does anybody see a spot for him and where….need a football experts advice.

    • Eternal pessemist

      Does it really matter? He’s proven to be marginal bench guy at best.

    • MichiganGoat

      An ESPN analyst

  • Dave Bach

    Can Tebow play left field??

    • danimal8

      Bout as well as he plays quarterback.

  • cubmig

    Cubs lineup

    Castro SS
    Barney 2B
    Rizzo 1B
    Murphy 3B
    Lake CF
    Castillo C
    McDonald LF
    Gillespie RF
    Rusin P

  • Sean T

    What the heck happened to Brett Jackson this year? He has completely fallen off the map. He always had a high strikeout rate but this new swing has made things worse and strapped his power even. I think he got hurt also but just hasn’t been productive

    • Mitch

      Brett is one of the many reasons I do not trust myself to predict prospects futures. First of all, he is a really good guy. I have seen him practice and play games ever since he came up. Within reason I did not ever detect any glaring weaknesses in offense or defense. It just appeared to most of us around him that he have a decent mlb career. I knew all his hitting coaches and he has had essentially the same ones–did not seem like much tinkering for many seasons. Mystery!

    • cubfanincardinalland

      As you say, look at the strikeout rate. Even in a ball in 2010, he fanned 25%. He has huge holes in his swing, some guys adjust and get better. Most never do. Jackson is frustrating because he is to good of an athlete not to have improved. But the warning signs and the weakness was always there.

  • cubmig

    Phillie lineup

    Young, 3B

    Rollins, SS

    Utley, 2B

    Ruiz, C

    Ruf, LF

    Mayberry, RF

    Frandsen, 1B

    Bernadina, CF

    Lee, P

  • cubfanincardinalland

    What kind of odds could I have got in Vegas at the start of the season, that Donnie Murphy would be a cleanup hitter in the big leagues? For a team drawing 2.7 million fans with a 90 million buck payroll. When Theo and Jed tank a season, they don’t eff around.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Navarro reminds me of a player in the NL , mostly with the Pirates, when I was a kid. His name was Smokey Burgess. He was a pudgy LH hitter and part time catcher who could really hit but you could time him with a sun dial around the bases. He played in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

    • Headscratchin

      ‘Ol smokey actually wasn’t that bad. Looks like he broke in with the cubs in 49 and had an 18 year career with 6 All star appearances, one as MVP! Career line of .295/.362.446, Good candidate for Myles list of obscure players. Born Forrest Harrill Burgess. Looks like he was a scout and a coach after he stopped playing.

      • mike

        Vogy reminds me of him very much. Line drive hitters but also can get under a ball. Burgess would take your head off on the infield with “smoking” line drives.

  • mike

    Remember him well. Set records for pinch hitting at the time. I think I remember him also as a Cincy player. By the way, the first autograph I ever got as a kid was Lou Brock–He seemed so small. The next day Harry Caray–old Sportsman Park on Grand Ave.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Does anyone have any delusions that McDonald or Gillespie are any part of the future of this team? So why are they getting starts? Bogesevic has shown some good things, why in the hell is he on the bench. Would love to see how he looks against Lee.
    Problem is, you have the manager and front office on different pages. Dale is playing matchups, like he was battling for the wild card. Why is Castillo barely getting half the starts? Either play for the future, or don’t. Have a strategy and stick to it.

    • mike

      Quade all over again. Such a waste of innings and games. Just no leadership with our big team. Shirts are probably at the minor league games this week. I fully understand that-but at same time give some guidance at the mlb level.

      • BT

        Right. I’m sure that Theo/Jed and Dale probably don’t talk to each other for weeks when they are out of town like this, and they are going to FREAK OUT tomorrow when they open the paper and find out that 29 year old Brian Bogusevic isn’t getting enough at bats.

        • mike

          Dale has frequently said in interviews with Carrie that he has not talked to either for several days and he has volunteered more than once that they do not dictate lineups.

          • BT

            Which would lead a rational person to conclude that if it were important to them, they would pass it on to Dale. There is zero chance that there are meaningful decisions that are at odds with Theo and Jed’s vision being carried out ANYWHERE in the organization, let alone in the dugout.

      • Brains

        It’s not our managers’ faults, the GM has destroyed this team with the promise to rebuild it in 5-10 years.

        • Danimal8

          Even if he was brought in as part of that rebuild. You honestly didn’t think he was the answer at manager did you?

          • Brains

            I would have preferred Ryno, but I’m also a kid of the 1980s. Watching Sandberg lead the team to a championship would blow my mind. But in general I think Sveum is doing a great job. This team is truly awful, historically so. And it keeps getting changed on him. It’s dire straights in Chicago. “Rebuilding” doesn’t need to be so draconian, it’s a matter of preference and temperament on the part of Theo.

        • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

          Dumb just dumb

          • Brains

            I wouldn’t go as far as you usually do and keep calling Theo dumb, AlwaysNextYear, but this rebuilding scheme is pretty extreme.

  • Blublud

    Pirates just traded for Justin Morneau

  • HVAC Bob

    Seeing Ryno in that Phillies uniform with those red goofy style font #23 makes me want to throw up.

  • mike

    Go gettem Pirates. Rumors for a week but I did not think they would do it.

  • Eternal pessemist

    Wtf…barney batting second? Uhhh…never mind.

    • Hansman1982

      Barney has an almost .800 OPs against a LH starter this year. Perhaps he also profiles well against pitchers like Cliff Lee.

      • MichiganGoat

        So does the decision to bat Barney second count as a good move and “win” for Sveum? Since any decision he makes that results in a loss is typically blamed on his poor decisions.

        • Hansman1982

          I have stopped paying any attention to comments that blame Sveum for anything.

          But to answer your question, no. They’ll just move the goalposts and claim they were never against that line of thinking like the recent Russell flip-flopping.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    The idiotic Sveum crap makes me want to puke. It is completely insane for some of these people to constantly crap on him with the holes actually vast gaps the Cubs have and then try to jump in and demand Ryne as if he’s some sort of managerial genius.

    Sandberg is not a fit and never will be for the Cubs, people need to accept it and move on. There is no way to judge Sveum as a manager with the roster the owner and front office have handed him the last two seasons. The core has underperformed dramatically, they have sold off most of the high value veterans, and the bull pen is a complete joke.

    I’ll be the first to say both Dale and Theo deserve their share of criticism, but this is what we as fans wanted. I firmly believe they have 3 outstanding drafts in the farm system since 2011. Some excellent young latin signings probably an entire class ahead, a series of minor league additions through trades that look ready to advance maybe even a whole class extra worths and another big class coming in 2014.

    They have moved the minors to where it is stocked. 2014 is a year that people should make judgements on their plan and performance. They need this offseason to be looking at some core trade adjustment, free agency seriously and filling the bullpen dramatic needs. If they do, they will be a competitive team making a realistic run at .500. If they don’t the market and situation will force Ricketts to make some decisions. It really is time to make an effort to get better in 2014 at the major league and I believe they will. It is not time to fire people.

    • Brains

      I think this is right. We _have_ to give it more time because you don’t stop before it’s over. But there’s a very good chance that this plan will fail, almost as good as that it will succeed. They’ve attended to the minors very well, among the best the past 3 years, but attended to the major league squad probably third worst, after Houston and Florida. Theo’s shown himself to be a real extremist when it comes to his plans. According to his “vision” we _must_ lose for 4-5 years before we deserve to win. I just don’t agree it has to be so negative all the time, but he seems to be a negative guy.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Premature completely, he’s never said the length, 2016, 2017, etc. This all comes from idiots, the real extremists and half-wits like Tim McCarver. There’s nothing in Theo’s DNA or pedigree to suggest 5-10 year deferred planning.

    I take it at face value.. Yes Crane Kenney is something that always has bothered me. He is a complete idiot and more responsible by far than Hendry ever thought of being for some of the messes. But there’s nothing to suggest Theo signed a 5 year deal to lose and pile more losing on. Before we start looking for the black helicopters, give it the winter. I think you’ll see them more aggressive than in past and I honestly don’t think they are planning for another July 2014 sell off.