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wrigley field from right bleachersThe Ryno Series is on the line today, with Jake Arrieta looking for a complete, solid start today.

Ryan Sweeney – just activated – is inserted right back into the lineup, in center field in place of Junior Lake. One-time thing? Regular change? I do expect to see Sweeney regularly, but I also expect to see Lake getting starts against more than just lefties.

Game Info

Philadelphia Phillies (62-74) at Chicago Cubs (57-78), 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 lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Kyle Kendrick (10-11, 4.40 ERA, 3.97 FIP)

versus

Jake Arrieta (2-3, 5.91 ERA, 4.65 FIP (combined))

Philadelphia Phillies Lineup

1. Roger Bernadina, CF

2. Jimmy Rollins, SS

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Darin Ruf, RF

5. Cody Asche, 3B

6. Kevin Frandsen, 1B

7. Pete Orr, LF

8. Erik Kratz, C

9. Kyle Kendrick, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Ryan Sweeney, CF

6. Donnie Murphy, 3B

7. Brian Bogusevic, LF

8. Welington Castillo, C

9. Jake Arrieta, P

  • Funn Dave

    I hope Lake’s just getting a day off. Even if it’s probably unsustainable, might as well let him keep doing his thing as long as it’s still working.

  • Stevie B

    Lake looks eerily like a young Sammy Sosa. The kid has a lot of talent.. I say let him play it out.

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    I know its an absurdly small sample size, but with this lineup, our OF OPS’s are .769, .868 and .825. That’s almost good enough to fool one into thinking this lineup doesn’t totally suck.

  • Joey

    Red Sox DFA’ed Daniel Bard today, once dominant reliever. Wouldn’t be surprised if Theo took a look at him

    • jeff1969

      Bard isn’t even pitching anymore. He has completely lost his command & its mental not physical. Whatever happened to him who knows, same type of thing as Rick Ankiel.

  • Walter Sobchak

    Brian bogs is not a major league player …..

  • Walter Sobchak

    Danny Espinosa is on the block from the nationals …. We should look at a trade involving Barney ……. Package him w ptbnl or cash for him…..

    • jeff1969

      I don’t think the Nats would be interested in Barney. The time to trade Barney was last offseason when there might have been a few teams that would have thought they could live with his bat as it was last season. Coming off that GG he might have peaked some interest somewhere. At best Barney is the Cubs future sub around the infield. They also seem to have quite few prospects coming up in their system that either play 2B already or will have to considering how crowded some of their other infield positions are.

  • Matt

    I find their unwillingness to sit Barney in favor of playing Watkins, to be rather frustrating. I know the long-term is answer isn’t either guy but Watkins’ OBP skills could be useful while we wait for Alcantara, Baez, or whoever is the long-term answer. Barney is Cubs’ myriad offensive woes all tied up in a neat little package.

    • jeff1969

      I agree. The Cubs aren’t getting a very good look at Watkins at the major league level, that’s for sure. Watching Barney bat is just a waste of time. I haven’t understood why Watkins is here if he’s not going to get more playing time. Just a fill in because Valbuena got hurt? Doesn’t speak well for their opinion of him.

  • jeff1969

    Last year one of the excuses for why Barney was as weak of a hitter as he was was that he wore down & lost weight as the season wore on. I think a lot of people bought that idea, but I haven’t heard much along those lines this year. Barney was saying he was coming into the season with more muscle & heavier in general & was going to work on keeping his strength up. So much for that huh.

    • Crockett

      Some of us always believed Barney is a utility IF at best…too many people drank whatever Kool-aid was out there.

  • Matt

    He’s simply not a viable major-league hitter, nor will he ever be. With regard to Watkins, there’s no data suggesting he is or isn’t. Lets get some data points because Alcantara/Baez are unlikely to be ready til at least mid season next yr. Another point about Watkins: unlike Barney, he at least has a minor-league track record of getting on base and exhibiting some extra-base power.

  • willis

    Arrieta was pretty damn good today. Jesus Christ if that guy can figure it out. His arm is electric.

    • MichiganGoat

      If we can count on a rotation of Shark, TWood, EJax, and Arrieta and add another solid start or get Price we have a good rotation going into next year.

    • BlameHendry

      That’s why he was at one time a highly-touted top prospect. If the Orioles had any hope left in him they wouldn’t have given him away (obviously) so they must have noticed something about him that convinced them he would never put it together. Hopefully they were wrong, and hopefully whatever the Cubs see in him is real. It is refreshing seeing a Cub starter popping the radar gun at 96 or sometimes even 97.

      • willis

        Yeah pretty strong. And since he’s been with the cubs’ organization his control seems a little better and his results have been ok. You can see on days like today how good his stuff can be. Bosio and co. have their work cut out, but if you can pencil him into that fourth or fifth spot, that makes the offseason a little less challenging.

  • cub2014

    I think they will add a starter. Go for it with
    Price or flipper like Arroyo. That will give us
    7 starters: Wood,Samardijza,Arrieta,Jackson,
    with Villanueva&Rusin as long relievers. Thats
    a pretty solid group. Then AAA we would have
    Cabrera Ramirez Hendricks Grimm and Raley
    or Loux.

    • BlameHendry

      Price would be awesome but I really don’t wanna see the Cubs give up any of their top 4 for him. I’d rather pick Arroyo off the market or give Grimm a shot

  • Matt

    Is Tanaka out of the question? I’m not sold on marginal benefit of Arroyo.

  • Brains

    Let the anxiety, annoyance, and disappointment commence…

  • Die hard

    Looks like they have good shot to avoid 100 losses… If get hot could avoid 90 losses

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