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wrigley field from right bleachersApologies for the late Gamin’ today, folks. Cubs, Braves. Underway. Go, baseball.

Game Info

Atlanta Braves (90-62) v. Chicago Cubs (64-89), 1:20 CT on CSN.

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 is here.

Starting Pitchers

Scott Baker (0-0, 0.82 ERA, 3.59 FIP)

versus

Paul Maholm (10-10, 4.35 ERA, 4.17 FIP)

Atlanta Braves Lineup

1. Jason Heyward, CF

2. Justin Upton, RF

3. Freddie Freeman, 1B

4. Evan Gattis, LF

5. Brian McCann, C

6. Chris Johnson, 3B

7. Dan Uggla, 2B

8. Andrelton Simmons, SS

9. Paul Maholm, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Dioner Navarro, C

5. Donnie Murphy, 3B

6. Junior Lake, LF

7. Darnell McDonald, RF

8. Ryan Sweeney, CF

9. Scott Baker, P

  • C. Steadman

    gah i wish today was a RH starter instead of Maholm…not a Watkins lover, but was interested to see what he could do with back to back starts..especially off yesterdays performance

  • cubsfanforever

    Baker is doing what I would expect against a good team. Getting hammered. However I am all for seeing what the guy has in the tank

    • Jon

      Hard to believe he and that 87mph fastball are getting shelled.

      • willis

        Yeah kinda expected the Braves to light him up. They are just so good.

  • mjhurdle

    got one back, would be nice to see Baker shut it down now to at least give us a chance

  • willis

    I’m glad everyone has seen the real Baker and Rusin this week. Now we can all get on board that this team needs starting pitching. Those two aren’t going to cut it, and anything in the minors that can make a big impact still probably a couple years away at least.

    • hansman1982

      But, but, but, Baker was gonna be our ace pitcher next year!!!! I mean, Maddux only threw a 43 MPH fastball and he was good!!!

      • MightyBear

        He is going to be an ace next year. Hopefully with the Cubs. 3 walks in 4 innings, very uncharacteristic.

        • hansman1982

          It all hinges on his ability to get some velocity back. If he consistently sits in the mid-high 80’s, he is going to lose a lot of effectiveness. Guys can’t lose 5 MPH and be the same pitcher.

          • cub2014

            baker has thrown 88-89, occasionally
            in the 90’s since his call up.

          • Edwin

            Other than Felix Hernandez. Seriously, that guy is amazing.

  • willis

    Good pitch by Rosscup to get out of that jam. I really like him. He’s got to be one of the LH in the pen next season.

    • C. Steadman

      are you watching the game? i’ve never seen Rosscup pitch, whats he got?

      • willis

        Decent heat for a lefty, nothing mind blowing but ok, threw what looked like a nasty change to Uggla on a 3-2. He’s a little wild but he’ll reel that in the more he sees action. Had two walks the inning he threw but he looks legit.

        • C. Steadman

          yeah, that sounds promising…I’d like to see him and Russell being the two lefties in the pen

          • willis

            He definitely has more pop on his fastball than Russell. He’d be a strong addition to the pen for sure.

            • JayPaul

              With as crowded as the pen could be, barring guys like Cabrera getting moved, i believe Rosscup starts next season at triple-a, basically just because he has the option years still. I do think he’ll be the first called on when a spot becomes available though.

  • #23

    My favorite potential lineup / rotation at some point in 2014:
    Alcantara cf
    Castro ss
    Baez 2b
    Bryant rf
    Rizzo 1b
    Olt 3b
    Lake lf
    Castillo c

    Tanaka
    Arrieta
    Shark
    Wood
    Jackson

    bullpen possibilities: Strop, Rondon, Parker, Lim, Vizcaino, Rosscup, Russell, Cabrera, (Gregg?)

  • willis

    There’s Castro…see, hit. Do not think. Bog shot to left center. Just mashed it.

    • mjhurdle

      seeing Castro go yard is refreshing.
      Doesn’t mean his problems are gone, but still refreshing.

  • #23

    fun to think about the possibilities

  • 1060Ivy

    Starlin wasn’t selective at all on the homer he deposited in CF

    • Drew7

      Since being selective means, “wait for your pitch and hammer it” I’d say that’s exactly what he was doing.

  • Jon

    I hope they learned their lesson from Castro’s lost season. Once in the majors, you can’t change a player at that point ,they are who they are.

    • Jon

      It was kind of the “reverse” of Corey Patterson, where Dusty ruined him by taking away his natural power and making him a “slap” hitter.

  • mjhurdle

    Donnie Baseball does it again…

  • mjhurdle

    oh look, another one run ballgame…..why dont i feel good about this…

  • willis

    I despise every team in the central with quite the hatred, but that Latos/Liriano matchup tonight in Pittsburgh has me very intrigued.

  • http://bleachenation Sacko

    More interest in a FA starting pitcher?

    • http://bleachenation Sacko

      And Barney has a hit, yeah!

  • willis

    Holy crap Navarro just sent one to Iowa. Just mashed. Tie game.

    • http://bleachenation Sacko

      Love it! His value is going up everyday, Theo, sign that guy.

      • Jon

        If Jim Hendry was still here he would already have a 4yr/40mil extension with a NTC.

        • Kyle

          If Theo Epstein were here we’d lose 90+ games every year.

          :(

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Apparently P. Sullivan asked Theo about Girardi before the game today and according to his tweet was told he was ” borderline disrespectful ” for even asking about him.

    • Jon

      Love to see that little shit Sullivan put in his place.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        +1.

  • mjhurdle

    what a year Navarro is having.

  • mjhurdle

    in a bad season like we are having this year, i enjoy games like this because i imagine the Braves equivalent of Bleacher Nation is absolutely blowing up with people yelling for someone’s head because the Braves are tied with the awful Cubs right now.

  • cub2014

    wouldnt it be interesting to put your OBP guys
    in front of these home runs. Lake gets on base!
    Why does he always bat after the HR guys? I
    know the season (who cares) is over but I just
    dont get it.

  • willis

    I got a bad feeling here…not sure why you would lift Strop for Gregg in this situation. Let’s see if it works.

    • Edwin

      What was the situation? I just tuned back in. Apparently, it didn’t work. Did Gregg come in to start the 9th?

      • willis

        Yep. Strop only threw 8 pitches in the 8th and was able to come back out in the 9th, instead Sveum chose to lift him for Gregg. Not sure why. And promptly Gregg is getting beat down. Who knew…a bad pitching decision by the cubs manager. Odd.

        • Jon

          I try to defend Svuem, but he makes it hard. Strop is longer term plans, Gregg not. Why bring him out there.

          • Jon

            But we better be quite before someone yells at us for using hindsite.

            • willis

              Ha, my first post was as Gregg was coming in. So I’m clear of the hindsight monsters. :)

              • Jon

                The ‘hindsight’ police crack me up. It’s like ‘how dare you evaluate baseball decision post-mortum on a baseball blog!?’

                • cubchymyst

                  Yes because it makes so much more sense to criticize a decision based off of the outcome instead based off of the knowledge at the time. Let us criticize all of the idiots who pick the wrong lottery numbers because I can evaluate those decision after the numbers where drawn.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    I’d just like to see hindsight that screams about the genius of a move when it is successful vs the “OMG he sucks why did he use him, what an idiot!”

                    • cubchymyst

                      I think the appropriate reply to the hindsight posters would be Schrodinger Cat.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Very true

                    • DarthHater

                      [img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/9249140622_60e821274c_n.jpg[/img]

          • willis

            I’d suggest just stopping because it’s impossible. He lifted Parker prematurely I thought as well at only 9 pitches. I just don’t get the way he manages tight games.

            Only a few more games left and then hopefully he is a closed book and this club can move forward. Unfortunately, I doubt they can him.

            • MichiganGoat

              It’s a valid concern, Gregg is not guaranteed to return and be the closer. Strop & Parker are the best internal candidates we have for closer right now and should be getting some experience in closer situations. Sveum’s bullpen usage has been a problem since last year when he overused Camp and them this year with Russell. The only reason Gregg made sense there is if he had great numbers against those batters.

              • willis

                Well that and simply put Parker and Strop have better stuff and were both throwing just fine and effectively today. I understand he’s got a bagillion arms down in the pen, but that doesn’t mean he has to use them all just for the hell of it. He was tinkering all day and eventually was going to make the wrong move. Some over thinking and over managing today in a game that could have been had.

                • MichiganGoat

                  See I’m not ready to jump into that conclusion, we have no idea what the scouting reports said about the matchups. Sveum could have been follow a very specific plan based on the data he had or he could just be random img tinkering just to tinker because he’s not a good manager. I choose the former you the latter, I do wish the plan starts to give them closing opportunities. But this narrative that Sveum is bumbling “moran” that does have the skills to game plan is ridiculous- Theo/Jed hand selected him and they both but a huge weight into using data to drive directions.

                  • mjhurdle

                    well said Goat.
                    I think that is my biggest problem with people that criticize Sveum is that it always seems to come across as Sveum is clueless and knows nothing about baseball.
                    You can argue whether he is a good manager or not, but i would be willing to bet he knows more and understands the game better than 99% of the people the post here, and not just because he played at a higher level than us.:)

                    Knowing the game does not equal being a good manager, so the door is open to criticize him, i just feel that the criticism is hard to take seriously if it is based on the idea that Sveum is basically one of the Three Stooges in a dugout.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Hmm what Stooge would he be?

                    • willis

                      I don’t like him as a manager, that’s no secret. But I’m curious to one of your points about matchups and scouting reports…maybe that’s the case. But he was in and out of the dugout all day when guys were going along just fine. And most of the guys he was putting in/pulling out (that’s what she said ha ha) were younglings that haven’t seen the braves and vice versa. I don’t know. It just seemed funny lifting Parker and Strop when he did.

                    • Brains

                      Sveum is good, Theo and Hoyer are B/B+ level, the owners are D+ and bumbling. From the top down everyone else looks bad and these aren’t miracle workers. We don’t have the Tampa Bay staff, their moxy, or their insight. These are stiff number guys without a lot of intuitive sense. If you’re a top organization you don’t need to sniff outliers, though, you just have to behave like a normal team.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      I’m assuming you still don’t have any evidence about Ricketts suing the City of Chicago. Now awaiting your deflection or attack.

                    • Brains

                      The big problem here is that Theo is smart but he’s not the sage that he or hopeful Cubs fans thinks he is. Overestimating oneself is one of the most dangerous flaws a leader can have, and he’s putting us into Waterloo.

                  • mjhurdle

                    and for the record, im not accusing you of doing that willis, just a general point.

                  • DarthHater

                    All that proves is that Theo & Jed are bumbling morans, too. hired by a bumbling moran owner. What’s your end game here, Goat? :-P

                    • MichiganGoat

                      That the need to “Get A Brain!”

  • Jon

    Exactly why Gregg’s season should be treated as nothing but pixie dust.

    • cub2014

      Jon, so you agree with the decision to bring in
      the closer in a non-save situation?

      • Jon

        Strop should have been kept in. He’s the better pitcher. He can miss more bats, but it really doesn’t matter, we need that 4th pick anyways.

  • Die hard

    Unbelievable the way all are angsting over a meaningless game when the focus should be on why the Cubs top 75 players could not field a Major League ready team next year. can’t count on Shark pitching his A game against good teams; don’t know if Castro or Rizzo will ever find stroke; who but for Castro is playing up the middle where team should be strongest; can Barney be salvaged; will the A and AA kids have to be rushed; will Jackson demand a trade; etc

    • MichiganGoat

      Totally, HEY would you eat the moon if it was made of ribs?

      • kscubfan

        Ribs hell ya!!!!!!

        • kscubfan

          Sorry ribs get me going. Living so close to Kansas City, BBQ is awesome. Funny but a place called Oklahoma Joe’s is hands down the best smoked meat in KS.

          • DarthHater

            Arthur Bryant’s in KC. Haven’t been there in over 30 years, so I don’t know if the food is the same today, but back in the day … Mmmmmm!

            • willis

              Either of you ever eaten ribs down this way? Dry rubbed ribs are the shiz. I’m actually on a team that does Memphis in may bbq championship and we are entered into a cooking contest in Tunica tomorrow. Ribs, butt, chicken and brisket. Not to mention 9 casinos within about a stones throw.

              Memphis BBQ is very good. KC BBQ too, outstanding stuff.

              • kscubfan

                These are dry rubbed as well and the smoke ring is clear through. They don’t need sauce. Might need to get to Memphis see what is going on there, those sound fabulous as well.

                • willis

                  We’re entering dry tomorrow, a little spicy rub with a hint of brown sugar as well. We’ll make some saucy ones as well for our guests to grub, but definitely entering the dry rub ones. We finished 13th this year in our group at BBQ fest. I’m guessing we can take down Tunica or come close tomorrow. I’m just hoping I don’t blow through my checking account at the damn roulette table.

                  • cubchymyst

                    I love dry rub ribs. Best of luck tomorrow.

                    • willis

                      Hell yeah thanks dude.

              • MichiganGoat

                Love how a Will Ferrell Harry Caray line has caused a discussion about ribs.

                • kscubfan

                  Cause you said ribs and I was at ok Joe’s this last weekend. Like I said ribs get me going. Good luck Willis if you need a taster let me know.

                  • willis

                    Thanks yo. We always need tasters. Hell we make enough to feed boatloads of people. Starting bright and early, about 6 am for the butt and brisket.

            • Professor Snarks

              Arthur Bryants still fantastic. Burnt ends are better than …..!

              • http://Isa Voice of reason

                Oklahoma joes has the best homemade sausage you will ever have.

                Arthur bryants is still tops. But, you have to get your food and get out of the neighborhood by sundown.

          • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

            Thanks for the info we just moved to Leavenworth so gonna have to try Oklahoma Joes

    • TWC

      “will Jackson demand a trade”

      Oh fer fuck’s sake…

      I don’t even care which Jackson you’re talking about (Edwin, Brett, Michael).

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      We’ll have 10 more wins next year than this. That will be fine.

    • DarthHater

      …will Baez go into a permanent slump after learning that one of his ancestors was an armadillo; will monkeys fly out of my butt; will the aforementioned buttmonkeys stink as much as Die hard’s comments; etc.

    • http://Isa Voice of reason

      Diehard asks if Jackson will demand a trade????????

      That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thanks for the laugh.

      • http://Isa Voice of reason

        In fact, if the cubs weren’t paying him so much money I think you can argue that they should just release Jackson!!

  • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

    So long, Kevin. You had a nice half season, and you saved us from another year of Marmol. Time to find employment elsewhere. It’s been good to know you.

    • willis

      Was just about to post something about him popping off after the game. Theo is pretty pissed from reports and may tell him to hit the road.

      • Dustin S

        CSN ripped Gregg pretty hard, and deservedly so. It’s pretty disappointing .

  • cubs2003

    Does anyone have video or quotes from this? I’m very curious.

    • MichiganGoat

      Here’s all I found http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/playerbreakingnews.asp?sport=MLB&id=3745&line=412552&spln=1

      Looks like he’s mad because Strop has been named the closer for the rest of the year

      • willis

        Yep, even with Sveum telling the world yesterday and allegedly Gregg that they want to audition Strop these last few games…he popped off after this game. You know, after getting your brains beat in…it’s probably not the best time to criticize the manager and organization.

        And according to quotes I read, Theo was steaming hot. (I mean he’s always hot, but like temper hot).

  • Clark Addison

    That’s three pitchers in a week that have publicly clashed with Sveum. All is not as copacetic in the clubhouse as they would have us believe.

    Are you listening, Joe?

    • MichiganGoat

      I don’t think tonight’s issue with Gregg had anything to do Sveum, from what I’ve seen it’s how he attacked the media but I’ve only seen limited information about it.

  • ruby2626

    Gregg staying the closer the last month while we’re trying to see what we have next year makes zero sense, very Mike Quadeesque. I love the way our bullpen is shaping up for next year, we wanted power arms and we got them. When you see Gregg’s stuff compared to let’s say a guy like Strop it’s like night and day. Zero stuff and then you factor in below avg control, why is he still on the team again? I have to admit he was great at the start but his stuff has tailed off bigtime ever since, not the same pitcher. Sleeper in all this is Hector Rondon. Another great inning today, ERA closing in on 3.00 since July 1 and his fastball has been rising as the year has gone on. Lendy Castillo was a Rule 5 bust, I really think this years version could be a sleeper.

    I wouldn’t mind us kickin the tires on Girardi. I remember how well he handled that young pitching staff when he was managing the Marlins. Sveum needs to take some accountability for our so called future, Castro, Riz and N.D. guy all having crappy seasons. He has totally misused Barney, any reason why Sweeney or even Bogasevic couldn’t bat 2nd. We’re not the Detroit Tigers we can’t stay with a .209 hitter with zero pop and few walks.

    • willis

      With the news of Vizcaino being held back from the AFL, he’ll probably be needing more time come next season, but even with that the pen is shaping up to look like:

      Rosscup, Russell, Strop, Parker, Grimm, Villanueva, Lim…Fuji and Vizcaino to be added if/when they’re healthy. That’s pretty strong.

      Need an impact starter and there’s a very good pitching staff. Build from there.

  • Aaron

    Kevin Gregg triggered a $500,000 performance bonus by finishing his 50th game of the season on Friday. Hard to understand his viewpoint on being treated poorly by the Cubs when he was unemployed on opening day and just today received a half-million dollar bonus.

    • Castro to Barney to Chance

      That’s what all of those salary-dump trades earlier in the year bought us.

  • Gutshot5820

    “In a conversation I had with Dale, unfortunately I didn’t understand what he was saying,” Gregg said. “It kind of got under my skin.”

    Another reason to fire Sveum, he has the communication skills of the Beverly Hillbillies.

  • Aaron

    Gutshot5820 – good call. Can you believe that Dale actually talked to him before before this mess and he still didn’t couldn’t get it right?

    Here’s what I figured happened…Greg was 1 game short of receiving his $500k bonus. He thought the Cubs were not going to let him close another game so he wouldn’t receive that bonus. That made him upset, which I can see. But the crazy thing is…it wasn’t true. Dale somehow couldn’t explain the Cubs’ position to him in plain English. Then Dale brings him in to close today’s game and Gregg can’t think straight from what Dale had told him earlier. The result is a blown save, along with putting Theo in an awkward position and this now is becoming a big story in the media. Crazy.

    • Patrick W.

      Gregg wasn’t brought in to close the game, it was a tie game. There was little guarantee he would finish the game.

  • macpete22

    We release Kevin Gregg yet?

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