wrigley field from right bleachersThe Wrigley Field finale for the year. Will the old girl look appreciably different when we next meet in 2014? I doubt it. But she’ll still be beautiful.

Jake Arrieta will look to better Chris Rusin’s performance last night, and head into the offseason with a presumptive spot in the 2014 rotation locked up.

Game Info

Pittsburgh Pirates (91-67) at Chicago Cubs (65-93), 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

Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.88 ERA, 2.92 FIP)


Jake Arrieta (4-4, 5.06 ERA, 4.89 FIP (combined))

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Neil Walker, 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Justin Morneau, 1B

5. Garrett Jones, RF

6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

7. Tony Sanchez, C

8. Clint Barmes, SS

9. Francisco Liriano, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Donnie Murphy, 3B

5. Junior Lake, LF

6. Darnell McDonald, RF

7. Ryan Sweeney, CF

8. J.C. Boscan, C

9. Jake Arrieta, P

  • willis

    Arrieta since starting for the cubs:

    3-2, 3.94 ERA, 1.64 K/BB, ERA+ 101 and WHIP 1.139

    I’d say he’s made some good strides since having a change of scenary.

    • J.L.

      I’m not so sure. His FIP with the Cubs is actually worse than his FIP with Baltimore this year (though his xFIP with the Cubs is a little better). K/BB ratio as bad as it’s always been for him. The only encouraging number is really that 1.139 WHIP. But I’d say he’s still pretty much the same guy he was in Baltimore. (Which is not to say he can’t put things together in the future, hopefully as soon as next year.)

      • ssckelley

        lmao, well damn if the FIP and xFIP says he still sucks then I guess he still sucks. Maybe he just got more lucky with the Cubs.

        • willis

          Damn all that, he’s been solid and has gotten pretty good results since being in Chicago. Which, is like awesome and stuff.

          • ssckelley

            But if the stat geeks says he sucks because of the numbers then how can we argue with it? They say watching the games don’t count because it is on TV.

  • RIck

    and you wonder why guys are having tough years. the pitcher just really doesn’t have to stress to much about this lineup (oh no so and so is coming up) sigh one good thing about being a cubs fan is it does not get in the way of football season!

  • Cubbie Tim

    Go Bucs. Cuck the Fardinals

    • Drew7

      Sorry, but that joke was played out long before you started posting it on *every* Pre-gamin’ article.

      • Funn Dave

        Does anyone know how this joke got started? I first started seeing it on “Buck the Fuckeyes” T-shirts on campus at UW Madison.

        • Funn Dave

          Which, for the record, I find much more amusing than the “Ann Arbor is a whore” T-shirts.

          • CubChymyst

            The rivals for John Carroll University had shirts that said “John is a drunk and Carroll is a whore” that shirt made me laugh. I had the Ann Arbor shirt while I was at University of Iowa but I got rid of it. You can’t wear those shirts once you leave the college or university.

            • Funn Dave

              Lol yeah I bet. I’m only critical of it b/c I’m a Wolverines fan

            • On The Farm

              You mean you don’t wear your Ann Arbor shirt to causal Friday?

              • CubChymyst

                I’m at Kansas state now so I don’t think it have the same impact. Could probably get away with something making fun of the Jayhawks though.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Funny thing about the idea of hitters taking more pitches per at bat, as a coachable premise it sounds very reasonable. But remember there is also a pitching coach on the other side of this situation preaching to his pitchers pound the strike zone , first pitch strikes, and put the hitter at a disadvantage.
    I have coached at many levels over 35+ years in baseball and softball and I’ve always told my hitters be ready for that first pitch, it may be the best pitch you’ll get in that AB. Messing with a hitters approach and putting thoughts in his or her head may work with the hitter who can foul off those close pitches with regularity but with the majority of players it just fogs the brain resulting in poor swings and soft contact.

  • willis

    Haha, the ol’ “hit barney 2nd against Liriano” trick worked.

  • Funn Dave


    Apparently we find out Monday if we’re sticking with Sveum or not, as well as the rest of the coaching staff.

    • jon

      whatever happens, I hope Bosio stays

      • Fire Bosio

        Are you kidding me? Bosio staying? The hoped for improvement in pitching has been disappointing overall. The only real success is Travis Wood. Jeff Samardzija hasn’t taken a step forward in reducing his run prevention, even though Bosio thinks that because he strikes out a lot of guys he is an ace. Edwin Jackson pitched much better under Cooper and Duncan. Russell took a step back, and Marmol got better as soon as he was traded. Why is this a guy we want to trust with the first wave of talent, like Kyle Hendrix?

        Can’t we get the Indian’s pitching coach, who fixed Kazmir and turned Jimenez into a 2nd half ace?

        • jon

          Scott Feldman? And Edwin Jackson has been pretty much the same pitcher as last year.

          • Fire Bosio

            Feldman had similar peripheral stats as last year, which is why the front office signed him. His bad luck last year turned into good luck this year, which has nothing to do with Bo-zo. Edwin Jackson pitched well under Cooper and Duncan, who are exceptional pitching coaches. Bo-zo has not demonstrated the same results in his pitchers, and I’d rather they give someone else a try to do better.

        • bbmoney

          Why do people always go to the easy, and usually unproductive, option of firing coaches? There are so many variables in all of these pitchers successes or failures besides Bosio. People are way too ready to give coaches blame or credit for players success and failure.

        • hansman1982

          I could take you seriously until you uttered this:

          “Marmol got better as soon as he was traded”

          Which is only true because:

          1. He is no longer a Cub which instantly makes guys HoFers in some fans eyes.
          2. He has somehow only allowed 6 earned runs despite allowing 34 base runners in 19.1 innings.

          • On The Farm

            “2. He has somehow only allowed 6 earned runs despite allowing 34 base runners in 19.1 innings.”

            Exactly, none of that would be possible if he was still under Bosio

            • hansman1982

              If Marmol was still under Bosio, he would have allowed 38 runs with those kinds of stats.

              • willis

                I’m ok with Bosio. If Sveum is let go though…rejoice.

              • On The Farm

                That’s even being generous.

            • MightyBear

              I think it has more to do with pitching in Dodger stadium and not closing but pitching to one or two guys or 1 inning at a time (not the 8th or 9th).

        • ssckelley

          With the shit that the FO has given this team for a pitching staff I’d say Bosio has done pretty damn good. Heading into next season this team could have both a decent bullpen and a decent starting rotation.

        • Jason P

          You’re forgetting that it was Bosio who helped convert Samardzija into a successful starting pitcher in the first place. Many thought he wouldn’t succeed as a starter when the Cubs announced he would be one coming out of spring training 2012.

      • jon

        I forgot both Arrieta and Stroup that have gone to castoffs to studs since coming to Chicago, granted there might be some AL->NL natural boost, but still, I don’t see how you can harp on Bosio for much.

        • Funn Dave

          Good point.

        • Fire Bosio

          Your ‘studs’ have 4.78 and 4.45 ERAs on the season. If these are the results you are pleased with, you deserve last place and Bo-zo the pitching coach.

          • Jason P

            His point is that Bosio’s impact on both has already been noticeable. Strop has a 2.62 ERA since the trade, and Arrieta’s is 3.66. That’s pretty darn good.

            • 2015 Cubbies

              These are small sample sizes, and Strop has had several meltdowns on the mound. While these clearly are two pitchers with issues, why wouldn’t we try to upgrade in the pitching coach department? Bosio doesn’t have much experience as a major league pitching coach – let’s go for Mike Maddux, or one of many other coaches who would like the upside in the Cubs organization.

      • Funn Dave

        Personally–based entirely off of nothing more than speculation, base instinct, and conjecture–I’d like to see Sveum and Rowson go and keep Bosio.

        • willis

          Well both Rosenthal and Heyman had articles today about Sveum maybe being shown the door, many I follow are tweeting that this may be his last game in wrigley, seat is very hot, he’s feeling the pressure blah blah blah. I never thought there was a chance in hell he would be gone, but it seems to be gaining steam.

          • Funn Dave

            I had thought they’d keep him through this season, too; but given the recent reports, I agree that it’s looking less and less likely.

  • http://www.hookersorcake.com Hookers or Cake

    Wow you are right. The 17 walk Marmol has issued in 19 inning as a Dodger show what a terrible pitching coach Bosio is.
    I don’t think the coaching is an issue for the Cubs. Bosio is a decent coach and Sveum isn’t to blame. Unless there is someone the front office feels is better and ready to step in I don’t see any reason to fire anyone outside of perhaps Rowson.

    • Fire Bosio

      I agree with you for the most part- the difference is, I think the Cubs should easily be able to find a pitching coach deserving of an opportunity to give the pitchers some new ideas and see what works.

  • RWakild

    Have not seen Junior Lake throw anybody out this year. For a guy with an “80” arm, that is very disappointing

    • C. Steadman

      i think he has 2 OF assists, dont know how spectacular they were though…i think his arm will develop as he learns the OF more this offseason

    • CubbieBubba

      I’ve seen him let some guys advance to 2nd on ill-advised attempts to home. ..but the throws looked pretty good.

    • C. Steadman

      I really do like Junior Lake and I can see him as a .280 career hitter(which is really nice in today’s pitching friendly MLB)…i know his BABIP is .380 something but he generally has a high BABIP throughout his minor league career so i still see it being above .300 for his career thanks to his hustle and bunt singles(also his K rate will probably always be high which leads to a high BABIP)

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        Above .300 and around .380 are as different as “I’d like something more than a 2-story house” and “I’d like my own personal skyscraper.”

        • C. Steadman

          okay i’ll be more specific….380 isnt sustainable but i do think Lake can sustain a BABIP above 300…possibly around .340 but im just guestimating

  • Gutshot5820

    “Epstein admitted later that he understood he had dropped a virtual verbal bomb, undoubtedly creating some in-house tension while inviting outside speculation, but he explained that he was merely being honest after what he called a “mixed bag” of results at the major-league level.”

    “While Epstein has praised Sveum to others for many of his attributes, including his steadiness, his authenticity, an “ego-less” personality, and perhaps most important, his attention to detail and game preparation, the club president is said to wonder why “too many guys stalled” at the big-league level.”

    • C. Steadman

      with this cloud over Sveum’s future and the Monday deadline for the decision…I think we are going to see the FO go in a different direction…or else I think the air wouldve been cleared and Theo already state Sveum’s coming back…they’ve made up there minds i’m sure because I doubt these last two series will change anything

      • willis

        Yeah it’s been funny that they haven’t come out in support of him, instead just staying uncommitted and quiet.

        • C. Steadman

          i kinda feel bad for the guy…but its baseball and its business…gotta commend him for going out there everyday and staying positive

          • On The Farm

            I think he knew what he was getting himself into. The Cubs and Dale have helped each other out. The Cubs got a laid back manager who could deal with continual losing, Dale got two seasons worth of managerial experience to put on his resume.

          • willis

            I don’t feel badly for him because I despise him. But think about it-he’s getting paid good money to suck, and he’ll get a decent buyout if they clip him. Hell that’s not too bad.

            I still think they keep him around though, reports/speculation be damned.

            • C. Steadman

              I dont feel bad for Sveum anymore…I wanted Strop for the save opp…and Gregg is out there again…

    • Toby

      I’d like to see Svuem stay in the organization. When Sveum was passed over in Milwaukee, in favor of Ken Macha, he stayed on as the hitting coach. Sveum seems like the kind of guy that will do what is best for the team even if it means that he has to step aside then I believe he will and agree to be reassigned within the organization.

  • udbrky

    Just when I think Darnell McDonald can’t get any dumber, he goes and does something like that and TOTALLY REDEEMS HIMSELF

    • C. Steadman

      hahaha nice reference…i cant wait for Dumb and Dumber To!

  • William

    “Wake me up when September ends,” is a fitting song. I love the song selection. Hopefully, next September will be more joyful for the Cubs. :-)

  • William

    I love the Grimm acquisition. He pitches with such an effortless delivery and still gets good velocity.

  • willis

    Castro crushed that double, I thought thing was gone.

  • On The Farm

    I may be wrong here, but if we win today I think we are eliminated from the #3 pick. The win today will put us 4 games out of the White Sox with only us having three remaining. And with the win it will also put us 1 game up on the Twins.

    • C. Steadman

      sounds about right…I’m just glad we did better than the Sox and we swept them…I hate the Sox and Cardinals and Brewers…with the Reds creeping up there

    • ssckelley

      The win also puts our 4th pick in a little danger. We need to root for the Twins to win tonight and tomorrow.

      Funny how sweeping the Sox is now going to cost the Cubs a 3rd overall pick and about 900K in pool money for next years draft.

      • C. Steadman

        yeah, but I just hate the Sox…I’m confident in our FO’s scouting department to pick a good guy at 4th overall and the 900k wouldve been nice but a four game sweep of the Sox is worth that…i live in Chicago and most of the Sox fans i know are the most annoying baseball fans…one guys facebook page reads 51%Cubs hater 49% Sox fan…i despise the Sox…theres my rant haha

        • ssckelley

          Yeah, I understand. The Sox have the “jealous little brother/sister syndrome” because Chicago is a Cubs city and they know it. We experience that here in Iowa with the Iowa State Clowns. Beating them is more of a relief than anything because it usually shuts them up for a year.

          • C. Steadman

            Im actually an iowa state fan haha..I grew up in iowa but went to college in Chicago and now live out here after college

      • Funn Dave

        Worth it.

    • DarthHater

      Where’s Marmol when we need him?

      • On The Farm

        He is pitching much better on the West Coast purely because he isn’t working with that oaf of a pitching coach Bosio anymore.

        • cubsfanforever

          Surely you do not mean that comment

      • Headscratchin

        Never fear, we have Gregg

      • Funn Dave


  • Soda Popinski

    C’mon now, Gregg…

  • macpete22

    Why is Gregg closing?!?

  • Soda Popinski

    Those three fastballs were amazing! Go, cubs, go!

  • Bill

    And people wonder why he is going to be fired.

    • wvcubsfan

      All the while other people assume they know what the Front Office is telling the coach in private in regards to player development and what roles they would like to see certain players in.

      • ssckelley

        I honestly don’t think the FO interferes much with the manager decisions. I think Sveum is playing the guys that he feels give them the best chance to win. I think this is why we’ve seen Watkins ride the pine in favor of Barney (stfu Jon!), McDonald playing, Gregg finishing games, ect ect. If the FO had input in the starting lineup then you would think we would see more players being used that could help the Cubs long term.

  • MightyBear

    Stupid Cubs. They better not blow the 4th pick.

  • Soda Popinski

    I can never bring myself to root against the cubs. So here’s to rooting for a Twin victory tonight! Go Twins!

  • Aaron

    Jake Arrieta…welcome to the 2014 Cubs starting pitchers club!

  • http://bleachenation Sacko

    DALE is screwed either way anyone can look at it. If he was playing players according to what the FO wanted to take a look at….well we saw those results. If he was really being in charge of putting the best available players in his mind and giving them the best chance to win everyday..well that really sucked….If you look at what happened to Castro Rizzo and Shark…Holy, I think he’s gone. Will see Monday. I won’t miss him.