wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs have won a couple games in a row, which feels like quite a streak lately. The Marlins certainly represent one of the better opportunities to extend that streak.

Luis Valbuena is back!

Junior Lake gets back in the lineup, but he’s in left field, while Ryan Sweeney stays in center. The right move for today? Probably. The right move in evaluating Junior Lake’s prospects of helping the Cubs long-term? For reasons I’ve explored before, I don’t think so.

Game Info

Miami Marlins (50-85) at Chicago Cubs (58-78), 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

Henderson Alvarez (2-3, 3.90 ERA, 3.02 FIP)


Travis Wood (8-10, 3.09 ERA, 3.83 FIP)

Miami Marlins Lineup

1. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

2. Christian Yelich, LF

3. Giancarlo Stanton, RF

4. Justin Ruggiano, CF

5. Placido Polanco, 3B

6. Ed Lucas, 1B

7. Donovan Solano, 2B

8. Jeff Mathis, C

9. Henderson Alvarez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Dioner Navarro, C

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Ryan Sweeney, CF

7. Junior Lake, LF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Travis Wood, P

  • Jason P

    This lineup actually looks okay. I’d like to see Watkins get a start, though.

  • Sorianofan1999

    It seems like Barney has had some success in the two hole. Why move him?

  • willis

    Thank God Castro is getting back to being Castro. No more f’ing with him please. The kid can hit.

    • wvcubsfan

      I’m sorry, but if asking the kid to be a little more selective in the pitches he swings at changes him from a .280 hitter to a .220 hitter he’s got issues.

  • KidCubbie

    Wood gives up a homer to the pitcher. Ouch.

  • willis

    With as well as Wood handles the bat, would it have been wise to bunt with Barney there? 2nd and 3rd with one out and a decent hitter with Wood coming in and Castro behind him?

    • MichiganGoat

      Well a bunt is a bad out and the only reason we are saying that right now is because of hindsight.

      • willis

        Not really hindsight, just looking for opinions to see if y’all think it would have been a smarter play, regardless of what Barney did. Any other pitcher no, but with it being Wood and Barney hitting…maybe.

  • TOOT

    Again. I’m tired of Sveum messing with the batting order.Leave it alone. Wht the hell is he trying to prove in a lost season? This might be what is killing Rizzo and Catro. You either have confidence in the guys or you don’t. Moving the line-up mans nothing.

  • Sean T

    Travis Wood has been a lot more hittable post-allstar break, Thank god now people can stop trying to make the argument is a that he’s a #2 or #3 in a rotation now. He is still a good #4 or #5 in my eyes because he brings constancy to the mound but I just really couldn’t stand the ridiculous statements earlier in the season that people were saying how he’s a #2 in a rotation just because he had that great pre-allstar game run. I really like Wood because he’s a solid lefty rotation arm but not a big time pitcher some were trying to make him out to be.

    • Sean T

      I remember it got to the point where people were clamoring to lock-up Wood to a Rizzo like extension and Wood actually mention it himself in a ESPNchicago piece that he wouldn’t mind sign an extension like that. I actually think locking him up would be a bad idea as long as we got a very team friendly deal like we did in Rizzo’s contract but for much less money. Maybe 4-5yrs around $15-20mil would be nice. Maybe buy up his arbitration years and give us some cost assurance. I’m not sure Theo/Jed are convinced enough to give Travis Wood an extension though, and definitely want to lock up Samardzija first before they even think about extending wood

  • Deacon

    I just can’t wait until enough prospects have come up that we can make Darwin Barney what he was meant to be – a utility infielder! The two double plays he hit into killed any chance the Cubs had of coming back in this one.

    • Sean T

      I’m not even sure Barney has a good enough bat to justify being an MLB utility player and caring him in a bench role. Most of his value is derived from his stellar defensive 2nd base play and if he’s not out there every inning it would be pretty tough to keep him on a MLB team bench, because you definitely would probably never use him a pinch hitter role either. We have pitchers like travis wood who handle themselves with the bat better then Barney does.

      I was really hoping Logan Watkins would take over 2nd this year by August but he’s having a down year with the bat, but still shows good OBP skills. I’m hoping he has a good spring and recovers from this seasons down year with the bat. Alcantara still needs some seasoning at least for another half season in the minors. Maybe even more. I like Alcantara’s tools but I’m not completely sold with his bat though. He has improved OBP skills this season but still not stellar though. I see him more as a sell high trade bait candidate in a big trade rather then the long term solution at 2nd. We shall see though