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pnc parkThe one day between the first and second games of the season is neither literally nor figuratively as long as the offseason wait between seasons, but it sure feels like a long time. Especially when the Cubs are coming off of a punch-you-in-the-nuggets loss.

The 2014 Edwin Jackson Positive Regression Tour (or “The 2014 Edwin Jackson Totally Fixed a Whole Bunch of Things Even Though We Can’t Quite Say What They Are But He Must Have Because How Else Is He Suddenly Better” Tour) starts tonight. He doesn’t have to pitch quite like Jeff Samardzija did, but a quality start would be, well, a quality start.

As for tonight’s lineup against righty Charlie Morton, I am exceedingly pleased with Ricky Renteria’s willingness to immediately use his roster’s flexibility. Which is to say, he’s loaded the thing with lefties. Emilio Bonifacio (switch-hitter) plugs in for Darwin Barney (although, technically, since Bonifacio was in the Openign Day lineup, it’s actually Ryan Sweeney’s bat that replaces Barney’s), Ryan Kalish plugs in for Junior Lake, and Luis Valbuena plugs in for Mike Olt.

I know that the last one is going to bug some folks, but keep some things in mind: this isn’t necessarily a strict platoon, Olt is probably still dealing with his shoulder thing, and you do have to get Valbuena in there sometimes. Also, Charlie Morton has become something of an *extreme* groundball pitcher. And, one of the best ways to combat a sinkerballing righty? Lots and lots of lefties. In this context, I’m very OK with Valbuena getting the start.

Speaking of which: Morton’s career splits are staggering. Righties have hit just .251/.316/.345, whereas lefties have hit 327/.410/.497 off of him. Hell, maybe John Baker should be starting, too.

My only lineup gripe? If you’re going to have Kalish at the bottom of the order anyway, I’d rather see him batting 9th, rather than 8th.  Yes, I went there.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (0-1) at Pittsburgh Pirates (1-0), 6:05 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 lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson (4.98 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 3.86 xFIP in 2013, 2.29 K/BB)

versus

Charlie Morton (3.26 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 3.69 xFIP in 2013, 2.36 K/BB)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Travis Snider, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

5. Russell Martin, C

6. Neil Walker, 2B

7. Travis Ishikawa, 1B

8. Jordy Mercer, SS

9. Charlie Morton, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Ryan Sweeney, CF

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Ryan Kalish, LF

9. Edwin Jackson, P

  • willis

    Would love to see Edwin Jackson get off to a positive start. His last Spring outing was magnificent.

  • Voice of Reason

    This is why we’re the Cubs.

    Here we go, messing with Olt in game #2. Olt should be playing everyday. I don’t care if the pitcher is left handed, right handed or goes both ways like Elton John…. Olt needs to be in that line up so we can see if he will be part of our future. Let’s not be the same old Cubs and not develop minor league talent. The last position player that the Cubs developed that stuck with the team for an extended period of time is Mark Grace! Let’s let the kids play every day. In fact, why not trade Schierholtz? He’s taking away at bats from a young outfielder who could be part of the future. Schierholtz certainly isn’t.

    VERY FRUSTRATING!

    Valbuena? Really?

    Fucking Cubs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Kiiiiiinda feels like you’re doing the “taking too much from one game” thing … and the game hasn’t even been played.

      • willis

        In almost all cases I’m with you on this opinion, especially with someone who can really be a big piece to the future like Olt. But, with the splits against Morton, I can’t fuss too much about this game.

        • willis

          By with you on this opinion, I mean the extreme handedness of a lineup. I want the best players to play.

      • J. L.

        What’re you talking about, dude? That is the Voice of Reason.

    • mjhurdle

      so, to recap:

      - The Cubs are the Cubs because they platoon fringe roster players
      - Olt should be in the lineup, injured or not, because we need to see if he can play (even if injured)
      - Castro is not a player that the Cubs developed
      - We should trade Scheirholtz because he is stealing time from…..Ruggiano?

      and all of this is very very frustrating to you.

      • Voice of Reason

        mjhurdle,

        Why would I have to give a caveat that if Olt is injured he shouldn’t play? I think even you would get that without me having to spell it out for you.

        Castro hasn’t been for the Cubs for an extended period of time.

        Yes, trade Schierholtz to see what we have in Ruggiano and the other marginal outfielders. Whoever plays right field we still lose 90+ games. I could care less about Schierholtz. He’s a fourth outfielder on a good team.

        • Noah_I

          Every outfielder we have is a fourth outfielder on a good team, or at best a platoon player.

          • Funn Dave

            Yeah, VoR seems to have gone off the rails a bit today.

      • cubzfan23

        LoL

    • Noah_I

      This is a huuuge overreaction. I looked at the schedule and immediately saw that Olt would sit today. First, the Cubs have said they’re going to sit Olt some extra days early in the season to try to get his throwing shoulder some added rest. Second, the Cubs face 3 LHPs in the first 5 games. Olt will start at least those 3 games, and I would bet will also get a start against either Hernandez or Burnett (I’d guess Hernandez, with Valbuena facing the tougher Burnett).

      Regarding Schierholtz, you don’t improve a player’s trade value by sitting them. The market for Schierholtz will develop. Neither you, nor the Cubs can force that.

    • Alan Griffin

      Also, there’s the shoulder issues referenced by Brett in the article. That may have something to do with it. Not to mention that there are 160 games after this in which to “see what he’s got”. Plenty of time to get a decent sample size. I do agree that, injury/rest notwithstanding, Olt shouldn’t be platooned.

    • Jason P

      Platooning Olt until he proves he can hit major league pitchers *with* the platoon advantage is not a bad thing. It’s not like not playing against tough righties of for a little while is going to significantly hinder his development.

      • Voice of Reason

        But, playing him against tough righties will help us determine what he is capable of.

        Why start Valbuena at all this year at third? It makes no sense at all.

        Olt needs to play every day AS LONG AS HE IS HEALTHY!

        • Funn Dave

          The FO already knows what Olt is capable of. They scouted him heavily and have access to tons of batting sessions, film footage, etc. that we cannot access. Less than a month ago, we didn’t even know if he’d be in the lineup. Let’s lighten up a bit.

        • Lou Brown

          That was my first reaction as well VOR, but looking at Morton’s splits, along with the upcoming schedule, today is a good day for Olt to rest. I don’t think Olt is platooning after the first game.

        • Jason P

          He doesn’t need to play everyday for us to know what he’s capable of. Do we know what Schierholtz is capable of? How about Sweeney? They don’t play every day.

        • ssckelley

          Not if Valbuena gives the Cubs the best chance to win. Make Olt earn his at bats and put him in the situations that give him the best chance to succeed.

    • Jon

      posted this in the other thread but

      Last year lefties had a .844 OPS against Morton with a .425 OBP

      Righties… .552 OPS .264OBP

      Morton can’t get lefties out! But don’t let facts get in the way or your rant VOR

      • Jon

        plus, Olt could even come in later today after they run Morton’s ass out the game.

        • EQ76

          anyone else hope Valbuena goes 4-5 now?

          • CubFanBob

            yes bat flip in effect

            Like having the speedy higher on base book ends of boni and kalish at 1 and 8.

          • Funn Dave

            Very much so.

          • Voice of Reason

            Valbuena could go 6 for 5 and become the first player to get two hits in one at bat and it wouldn’t matter. Olt should still be playing third base.

            • ssckelley

              It sounds like to me that you don’t care if the Cubs win or lose.

    • itzscott

      >> Here we go, messing with Olt in game #2.<<

      Couldn't agree more…

      If the guy earned the job in spring training, then PLAY the guy and give him a chance until he shows he can't hack it.

      If you're going to do the strict righty/lefty thing bench Rizzo against lefties too.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        Give me a break man. Olt didn’t neccesarily win the 3rd base job, he just made the team. He will get his chances. But he has the opportunity to hit lefthanded pitching at the present time, which he failed to do on opening day. If he is hitting lefties then he gets the chance to face righties. I think that to ease him into the lineup against bottom of the order righties is the best course of action. He will have plenty of time to prove he belongs there everyday. To me the more important thing to take away from this lineup is that Barney is sitting on the bench. If Bonafcio continues his ways then Barney may be in a permanet platoon.

      • Norm

        “If you’re going to do the strict righty/lefty thing bench Rizzo against lefties too.”
        What right handed 1B do you suggest playing?

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          The only way it would work would be Olt at first, Boni at third and Barney at 2nd

    • CubsFaninMS

      Pretty sure Elton’s going one way at this point, dude.

      • itzscott

        Ellen too….

        But I think Miley’s a switch hitter.

    • Joshua Edwards

      Voice of Reason, that’s, like, just your opinion, man.

      (No charge for the irony.)

    • Wilburthefirst

      Your response doesn’t seem to be very reasonable …

  • JakeMac

    Wow, didn’t know Tony LaRussa took over this blog post.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As much as it pains me to say … Tony knew some things.

      • Nate

        What’s the advantage to having a position player bat 9th?

        • JakeMac

          If your 9th hitter is a “second lead-off guy” at the bottom of the order, he likely would be someone with a high OBP, giving more RBI opportunities for the 2-3-4 hitters, who should be the best hitters in the lineup.

          Or at least something to that effect.

        • ame1908

          Basically what Jake said. Plus, the additional ABs in the 8th spot as compared to the 9th is also quite small over the course of the season. So the reasoning is slightly different than moving your best hitter up to 2nd as opposed to 3rd, where the difference in the number of ABs is a bit greater and your best hitter will get more plate appearances. Moving the pitcher up simply creates another “table-setter” for your best hitters.

      • Joshua Edwards

        I think the overall strategy works well when you’re opposed to giving away outs. #8 hitter may have as many Sac Bunt/Move Him Over opportunities as #9 anyway but if you don’t plan to do that…

        I’m with Brett. I think Kalish at 9 makes more sense than Kalish at 8, too.

  • 70′s Cub

    Benching Barney’s bat helps big time! still three righties plus a switch hitter

  • http://www.w2wn.net Cerambam

    My brain realizes that Olt would split time with Valbuena, that Valbuena has to get in there sometimes, and that the lefty righty match ups are useful, but my heart says it’s the second game of the year and Olt isn’t in and this inclines me to believe he won’t be the 70/30 starter I really want him to be. Much like Rizzo was in there on opening day against one of the toughest lefties in the game, I hoped Olt would be there today.

    • Noah_I

      Remember, it’s a RHP with a SEVERE split, the Cubs face 3 LHPs in the first five games, and the Cubs said they’re going to get Olt some extra rest considering his shoulder was not in great shape to start the season.

    • Voice of Reason

      With Olt the thinking is we have a kid who could club 20+ home runs a year and hit .260 or so and play a decent third base. If that’s going to happen then he needs to play every day. We won’t know if he will become that type of third baseman by letting Valbuena play third 1 out of every 2 games.

      What Renteria should have done before the season started is pull Olt aside and tell him to go out and have fun and he is the third baseman every day. Ripken played short every day for how many years? As long as Olt is healthy, he can surely handle the position for 162 games for a kid his age. Show the kid you have confidence in him. No matter who the pitcher is or what the situation is… give Olt the opportunities to develop!

      • TWC

        “We won’t know if he will become that type of third baseman by letting Valbuena play third 1 out of every 2 games.”

        Holy shit, man, it hasn’t even *been* two games.

        And the only way Olt “could club 20+ home runs a year and hit .260 or so and play a decent third base” is if he plays 162 games?

        Sure. Sure it is. Of course, if Olt could do the same in even *fewer* games be becomes more valuable, but I get the feeling that that concept is gonna be lost on you.

      • Alan Griffin

        I agree that Olt should start almost every game. But don’t ignore the shoulder issue. It’s early and I would be more upset if RR overused him and turned soreness and fatigue into strain and inflammation. Also, Cal Ripken is Cal Ripken. Would be nice if that’s Olts future, but I doubt it.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Haven’t seen anybody hit the pitcher in the eight spot since Tony LaRusa retired. I like the idea though. Kalish really impressed me this spring. Lets hope these guys can put up a crooked number againsy Morton and knock him out of the game. Especially considering that the game could be called early because of rain.

  • Darth Ivy

    Fun with misreading:

    “…use the comments on this post for your in-game obituaries”

  • Spoda17

    I know this is game two, and I am trying to be optimistic… but I am very disappointed with this lineup… First impressions are important, and I am trying to be open to RR after the sacrifice bunts from Monday… but this lineup is giving me agita…

    • Noah_I

      So you’re saying that Renteria should not put the lineup together that will best win the game, but instead always the lineup with the youngest players? Olt will get a significant majority of the starts at 3B to start the season, and, if he proves himself, will get nearly all the starts there soon. But Morton’s platoon splits are huge. By loading the lineup with as many left handed bats as possible, Renteria has increased the Cubs’ chances of scoring enough runs to win today.

      • Funn Dave

        +1

      • Voice of Reason

        uuuhhh… i understand the splits thing there, Noah_I, but a team destined to lose 90+ games should only care about splits if it involves a stripper in a night club.

        Splits… for God sake… we’re developing a team for the future, not today. Who cares if we lose? It’s about getting the kids ab’s and seeing which will be with us when we are ready to win a World Series.

        If Olt’s shoulder is bothering him, then sit him. If it is not then he needs to get his ass out there. Play every day as long as you’re healthy.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          It is the front office’s job to worry about the future.

          It is the manager’s job to give the team the best chance to win each and every game.

          • Voice of Reason

            That’s not true, but nice try!

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              That is true, and if you think otherwise, you’re even more ignorant than I already thought you were

            • Funn Dave

              It is absolutely true. Your above post sounds more appropriate for a little team than an MLB ballclub.

            • Wilburthefirst

              I also think the manager must in almost every case play to win every day regardless …

              Obviously a topic open for interpretation, but as a fan of bad, mediocre or good team I want to see the Cubs coming out of the clubhouse looking for a win.

        • Noah_I

          Olt will end up with at least 450 PAs this season, and probably more than 500. Really, there should be no concern about him not starting one game early in the season.

          And, despite the fact that on an organizational basis I want the Cubs making the best moves for the future of the team, I’d be hugely disappointed if on the second game of the season the manager wasn’t trying to put the best lineup of the 13 position players he has available to him on the field.

      • Spoda17

        Noah First of all I did not say play the youngest players at all. I don’t think this is the best lineup, because it’s not. Nothing to do with splits. It’s got everything to do with over thinking your lineup. Just because the “book” says play the lefties, that doesn’t automatically mean that is the “best” lineup. I think RR is over thinking it, and I think he over thought the sacrifice bunts Monday as well.

        My opinion. If you never drive in the city, you will never learn to drive in the city…

        • Noah_I

          This isn’t “the Book”, whatever you think “the Book” says. This is instead looking at a pitcher with nearly 600 IPs in the Majors who gives up an OPS .250 points higher to left handed batters than right handed batters. That’s not any book, that’s his own stats telling you that he’s a sinker/breaking ball pitcher without an effective change up or splitter to use against left handed hitters.

          Let’s use an extremely simplified example. I’d say Olt’s legitimate ceiling for this season is something around .260/.350/.450, so an .800 OPS. ZiPS has Valbuena at .241/.325/.376, so that’s a guess at his likely performance, not a ceiling. That’s a .701 OPS. And let’s say Morton’s .250 points in OPS difference between left handed hitters and right handed hitters is even split. Left handed hitters on average gain .125 OPS against Morton, right handed hitters lose .125 OPS. That means that, on a typical day, Olt’s ceiling against someone like Morton is a .675 OPS. While Valbuena’s most likely result in an .825 OPS.

          Do you know who else uses match ups like this really well? Joe Maddon. Joe Maddon loads up opposite handed hitters against fastball/breaking ball starters, and loads up same handed hitters against fastball/change up starters (who tend to have reverse platoon splits).

          Hopefully Olt and Lake (I have far more hope for Olt than Lake) eventually prove themselves to be worthy of facing 95% of same handed starting pitchers, but neither of them are there at this point. The left handed loaded lineup clearly gives the Cubs the best chance to score a bunch of runs against Morton based upon his career splits.

          • Spoda17

            Dude, instead of regurgitating numbers… read my post. And it is about winning. The best option to win is not on the field. You have to factor in skill as well. You are using average numbers, and not factoring in skill.

            • Noah_I

              That makes absolutely no sense. How do you judge the skill of the players if not by their numbers?

              So explain this to me: how is Olt better right now than Valbuena? What has he done at the Major League level that lets you know he’s a better player, right now, and particularly against a player that shows a severe split in favor of opposite handed hitters?

              Quite frankly, the only thing you’re saying is that the players YOU find interesting are the ones who are most likely to win the game. You have absolutely no backing for this.

              This isn’t removing Evan Longoria for Luis Valbuena.

              • Funn Dave

                And it isn’t even about whether Olt is a better player than Valbuena. It’s about Valbuena having a higher likelihood of success in this particular instance.

            • Funn Dave

              We read your post, and it does not make sense. Certain players pair better against certain-handed pitchers regardless of their overall skill levels. It’s feasible to say (though we have no solid evidence thus far) that Olt is a more skilled player than Valbuena, overall. In this instance, however, he is the less skilled player, because this instance happens to be a weakness of his. There is a reason nobody goes out and puts the exact same lineup on the field day after day. Each game offers its own quirks, and you have to take advantage of those quirks in order to win.

              • Spoda17

                How did this turn into Olt v. Valbuena? I gave an opinion… and my opinion is this lineup is not a good line up… Numbers..? Check Valbuena’s ,,, 218 last year. No matter what split you pick… that is not good. So you are actually arguing that Valbuena is a better option because of his numbers..? I never pointed out Olt v. Valbuena.

                My original point was about RR trying to make a decision because of what he is “supposed” to do… my original post was about his over thinking, and not about Olt or Valbuena… So yes, when I say read my post that is my point. So if, I did not express my opinion clearly before, I apologize,,, here is my point again…

                Ricky is over thinking already… Sacrifice bunts and a lefty heavy lineup.

  • Spoda17

    … I don’t even want to watch the game now…

    • Picklenose

      Maybe if you hold your breath until you turn blue, Renteria will play Olt for you.

      • Spoda17

        Again… please actually read what I post. I never said anything about Olt.

        If you opine, please actually read. When you assume, you make an ass out of you…

        • Picklenose

          Excuse me, maybe if you hold your breath until you turn blue, Renteria will play the lineup you want.

          • Spoda17

            Well played… well played… you’re a winner.

  • 70′s Cub

    I also like getting the whole roster valuable reps in the first week! Valbuena had a good winter season and a good spring.

  • 70′s Cub

    Valbuena has out played Barney since he has been on the Cubs. Gotta think the FO throws Barney in on the next trade.

  • Darth Ivy

    WOW, anyone see the replay in the Sox game? How in the world was the runner on first given second?

    • Darth Ivy

      De Aza throwing Plouffe out at the plate was JUSTICE.

      Damn, what a sweet play. Baseball makes me happy

    • nick5253

      Listening to the game…. How does he not get second? If you start to allow the – tag every base and runner just in case the play is overturned – it will lengthen the game even more and make it more complicated. I think if a catch is ruled a drop (on replay) then you have to allow the runners to move up a base. Conversely (a drop is ruled a catch), the runners should have a free pass back to their original base.

      • Darth Ivy

        Then they should make that a rule. Right now, its not. That’s just too subjectional. I don’t think the umps should have that kind of discretion. At least on overthrows and groundrule doubles, there are rules that dictate where runners should go. The umps should’ve just let what happened happen based on the fielder dropping the ball. Plouffe stayed at first, the batter is out for leaving the basepath when he walked half way back to the dugout. I know it may seem harsh, but its objective. Plouffe went back to first and the hitter left the basepath.

        If they thought eating caught the ball, that’s their fault for misjudging the play.

        • Darth Ivy

          Eating = eaton

        • Darth Ivy

          I mean, if an OF looks like he’s about to catch the ball, so a baserunner goes back to his base, but the OF drops the ball, the baserunner is automatically awarded the next base? That’s so stupid. The play should simply stand as is. The baserunner stays where he is and the defense can throw him out. And the hitter gets himself out if he walks out of the basepath by going back to the dugout. Why can’t they just follow the rules? Why must the umps change the play to fix the players’ mistakes. What’s next? A baserunner doesn’t see a.flyball caught, is doubled off, but the umps rule that he can safely go back to the base because he didn’t see the ball was caught?

      • Darth Ivy

        Oh, and I thought it was originally ruled a drop. If it was ruled a catch, then I take back everything I wrote.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I kinda get tired of people ripping Valbuena. He was one of the more valuable players we had last year and has some power. Like two, two homer games this spring. I like this lineup for this game.

    • terencemann

      Yeah, he’s not a bad player. He’s not a great player you want to build around but he’s very consistent. There are a lot of teams in baseball who had worse players at 3rd last year.

      • Rich H

        OK Valbuena is a good player to have but he is far from consistent. His Ba was .165 the second half last year. You may say he was banged up or what ever but he still was not anywhere near consistent. My personal opinion was he was exposed last year and his 2nd half stuggles are an indicator that needs to show what happens when he plays everyday. But like I said he is a good guy off the bench with limited looks.

    • Fishin Phil

      Agreed that Valbuena does not get his due.

    • Funn Dave

      Me, too. I’ve always like Luis.

    • itzscott

      >> He was one of the more valuable players we had last year <<

      Are you nuts?

      The team lost 90+ freaking games last year…..

      How do you even come close to designating a "valuable player"???

      • Fishin Phil

        It’s like being the Tallest Puppet. It doesn’t mean you are tall, it just means he is not the major reason for the 90+ losses.

      • TWC

        “How do you even come close to designating a “valuable player”???”

        Um, maybe *factually*?

        B-R: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHC/2013.shtml#players_value_batting::13

        Fangraphs:
        http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=17&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

        In both places, Valbuena was in the top 4 in terms of “worth”.

        But, that’s, like, just *facts*, man.

        • Fishin Phil

          Well, that is just crazy hippie talk right there!

        • itzscott

          Hey Statman,

          Try this on for size….

          The team lost 90+ games last year. Valbuena was there for all of those losses.

          There couldn’t possibly be a “valuable player” unless your criterion would be something like designating the least rotten apple out of 25 rotten apples.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            So by your logic, there is no such thing as a valuable player on a bad team???

            • Fishin Phil

              Remember when Dawson won the MVP on a last place team?

              Yeah, well according to itzscott that never happened.

              • itzscott

                >> Remember when Dawson won the MVP on a last place team? <<

                You know you've lost an argument when your last bullet is wasted comparing Luis Valbuena to Andre Dawson.

                • Fishin Phil

                  It has now digressed to trying to reason with a brick wall. I’m out.

                  • Funn Dave

                    Good call.

                • DarthHater

                  “You know you’ve lost an argument when every fact in the history of baseball is so totally contrary to your idiotic statement that you have to resort to utterly irrelevant straw men.”

                  FTFY

                • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                  Man you are really missing the point here and the puppet is right no further need to have something called rational and factual discussion.

                  ***not even the second game and the tomfoolery is in full effect.***

                  • DarthHater

                    To be fair, it’s hard to see the point when it’s on top of one’s head.

            • Brocktoon

              Mike Trout on last year’s Cubs = no value.

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                I really really hope this is sarcastic

                • Brocktoon

                  Noooooooooooo

                • gocatsgo2003

                  He clearly would have had “value” on the team, but not necessarily in terms of what that incremental value would have done for the team — his 8.9 WAR could have moved us from 66 wins to 75 wins… but that would have gotten us over all of Milwaukee for second-to-last in the NL Central.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            The Angels lost 84 games in 2013, does this mean that Mike Trout can’t possibly be a valuable player???

            • Coop

              Not most valuable, apparently…

          • Funn Dave

            So? Pretend we had Mike Trout playing for us last year, and through some Cubs-like stroke of extreme misfortune, our infielders played even worse than they actually did, negating his contributions and leaving us still with 90+ losses. Is he not still valuable? Your interpretation of “most valuable player” relies on that player’s teammates also doing well, which defeats the purpose.

          • DarthHater

            In 1999, 2000, and 2002, the Cubs lost 95, 97, and 95 games. In those same years, Sosa hit 63, 50, and 49 HRs. Man, that guy really was not a valuable player.

          • TWC

            The phrase you took objection to was “[Valbuena] was one of the more valuable players we had last year”. You even quoted it in your reply.

            Valbuena *was* one of the *most* valuable players the Cubs had last year based on, you know, facts.

            But keep digging, pal. It makes you look smrter.

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            This might be just be the MVP of stupid logic. So when talking about an Individual player worth you go use team record as your justification… really that’s a horrible and foolish way to look at a players worth. I’m guessing the first thing you look at with pitchers is W/L record?

          • Picklenose

            How about this, your logic is akin to saying Shark wasn’t valuable yesterday since the Cubs lost. He pitched a good game and contributed value in giving the team a chance to win. Unfortunately, the rest of team did come through.
            This is why pitchers (or any single player) should not be judged solely on wins and loses, but on their contributions to the possibility of winning.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Worth 1.6 WAR in just under 400 plate appearances, would have been worth about 2.6 WAR in 650 plate appearances. That would have been good for 3rd on the club behind only Castillo and Rizzo (He was 4th as it was)

      • Funn Dave

        Through any of the many statistical diagnostic tools at our disposal….

      • miggy80

        Ever hear of Andre Dawson? I’ll give you a hint 1987

  • Fishin Phil

    ““The 2014 Edwin Jackson Totally Fixed a Whole Bunch of Things Even Though We Can’t Quite Say What They Are But He Must Have Because How Else Is He Suddenly Better” Tour”

    That is gonna be one helluva big t-shirt!

  • ssckelley

    I like this lineup and I am encouraged by the fact that Renteria is using the flexibility of the roster to try and win games. If this was going to be a season of just building value and/or letting the youth get experience then Olt, Barney, and Lake would be in the lineup. Plus I like the idea of keeping Bonifacio in the lineup batting in the leadoff spot. If this keeps up we should see Bonifacio about every day.

    • TWC

      It’s almost like Renteria filled out the lineup card with the team he thinks gives the team the best chance to win.

      Totally weird, right?

      • ssckelley

        Right, the whole “we gotta play Olt everyday because he is the future” stuff is a bit ridicules. Olt is coming off an absolutely horrible season in the minor leagues, I think it is great that he even made the team. But player development is not all about sticking him in the lineup every day, make him earn the playing time and put him in the best situations for him to succeed.

        I think the worst thing for Olt right now would be to stick him in the lineup against a guy who is tough on right handers and he starts the season 0-8 with 4/5 strikeouts. There are a bunch of left handed pitching coming up on the horizon, give him a crack at those.

      • Darth Ivy

        obviously you’re not a golfer

      • DarthHater

        “It’s almost like Renteria filled out the lineup card with the team he thinks gives the team the best chance to win.”

        Crap. Somebody forgot to tell the manager about The Plan again…

  • Medicos

    What’s the attendance at the Twins-White Sox game??? I just turned on the game and it looks as if the Cell is nearly empty.

    Hope the weather is better for this week’s opener at the Friendly Confines.

    • nick5253

      Well… that’s an early season game in Chicago featuring a 4th place division team against a 5th place division team…. oh wait, ya that sounds familiar

  • E

    My gut reaction was that I was disappointed to not have Olt in the lineup. Afterall, Rizzo took over 1st base without a platoon. But then I remember that Rizzo was brought over and had a full season in Iowa to finish development. Olt hasn’t had that opportunity.

    • TWC

      My gut reaction is that anyone considering this a “platoon” based on the game 2 lineup card is probably a bit over the top.

      • E

        2nd game of the season after an off-day. It’s a platoon until there is evidence that it isn’t.

        • Jon

          I love this notion that Olt has earned the right not to be platooned!

          • half_full_beer_mug

            Who is this?? I’ve never agreed with the “real” Jon more than once a day.

            I totally agree with this. Three weeks ago there were probably about 10 folks that thought Olt would even make the 25 man roster, and probably more that weren’t convinced he wasn’t still blind.

            Fast forward to the second game of the year and he’s got to be in the lineup every day.

  • Medicos

    Sox Attendance: 10,625.

    • ssckelley

      Holy crap, that was PAID attendance? Pathetic!

      • itzscott

        It’s the South Side, it’s a weekday, it’s the Sox territory and the bars are open.

        I don’t care how loyal a Sox fan someone is…. if it’s a choice between going to a bar or going to a Sox game, Sox fans will choose the bar every time.

        • Funn Dave

          Wow. Way to stereotype, dude.

    • Brocktoon

      Shockingly you only have to go back to ’05 to find a lower attendance.

      • Brocktoon

        For reference, our low last year was 20,626 last season.

  • Lou Brown

    Want to watch tonight, but I have a feeling this team is really going to mess with my pledge to not drink on weeknights…

    • Fishin Phil

      Yeah, I think I would wait if I was you.

    • miggy80

      I hear ya man

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Go ahead and drink on weeknights we”ll save you a spot on the roster at rehab.

  • Cubs-Win

    I agree with you on Baker starting as well, considering the splits from Morton. Why not start Baker and leave Olt at third for a week or two? Does Olt have a tough time against righties?

    • ssckelley

      Castillo has had 3 plate appearances against Morton and reached base all 3 times with a hit, a double, and an intentional walk. Castillo had an off day yesterday so Renteria may be going with his regular starting catcher. Had the Cubs played yesterday he probably would have given Castillo the day off today.

      • Noah_I

        Castillo has also proven far more than Olt that he’s a legitimate MLB regular.

  • ame1908

    Renteria calling for sac bunts: 3 o/u

  • candyland07

    I find it humorous that people can complain about the roster on the field. Somebody please blame the cray cray computer . If i had to guess ,its the machine fault. ME i am just gonna enjoy the game and wait. If the Cubs do well – cheer if they get embarrass – get use to it ….. it all about the plan.

  • Kyle

    Class registration:
    Olt Playing Time Complaining 202 (Prerequisite: Looking not terrible in a competitive game)

    Prereq not meant, class will not float.

  • Spoda17

    Proof this is a bad lineup… I played this lineup in MLB14 The Show and lost. I changed to my lineup (Olt, Lake, Barney, kept Bona, sat Sweeney)… and WON.

    Proof!!! Can’t dispute the facts man!

  • candyland07

    This is what i am gonna do today. I will predict the Cubs will finish the season 58- 104 and the Cubs should lose today. The score 12-3

    Charlie Morton,is pitching and if the Cubs bat an exclusive right-handed order against him t Pirates will get on base more, Heck if The Cubs play more left handed batters the cubs might just score some runs since Morten tends to give left handers a better chance getting on base even if he hit them.

    But i see the Cubs losing bad and its not line up . Its the players..

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Maybe posting this before the almost exclusively left-handed lineup was posted would have made more sense

  • Blackhawks1963

    Voice of Reason…

    Olt is NOT considered a top tier prospect by the Cubs. He’s just not. He’s going to have to earn his way to keeping a roster spot and getting himself into the lineup. Valbuena is a good ballplayer and should play against Morton. Nuff said.

    The outfield? Well fact is all 5 guys — Lake, Sweeney, Schierholz, Kalish and Ruggiano — are fringy spare outfielders on a good team. And lest we forget, Ruggiano is already 31 years old.

  • Medicos

    What the hell is Bono doing. U just knew he was going to get picked off even before it occurred!!!!

    • Jason P

      His poor baserunning has basically cancelled out his good hitting thus far.

  • candyland07

    Emilio Bonifacio got picked off 1b again, game 2 of this young season. Has a player ever been picked off in consecutive games to start a season? i wonder what the record is for the most picked of plays to start a season. Shakes head in embarrassment..

    • WilliamGlass721

      I could pick someone off if I threw over eight hundred times, too! :-)

    • Sandberg

      He got picked off a 3rd time but the 1st baseman dropped the ball.

  • ThatCubsGuy

    Here we go again………….

  • Crockett

    And so it begins…

    Still don’t like the idea of Sweeney being brought back for significant 2014 at-bats.

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