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wrigley field from right bleachersThe home opener was not kind to the Cubs’ bats (or anyone sitting in the teeth of the wind), and today might not be any more kind, as the team faces Phillies ace Cliff Lee. He had a rough first start in Texas, but thinking he’s going to duplicate that today would probably be a mistake. In other words, the Cubs could use a little luck, and a great start from Jeff Samardzija.

With another lefty on the mound, familiar right-handed bats return to the lineup, including Mike Olt, Junior Lake, and Justin Ruggiano.

Game Info

Philadelphia Phillies (2-2) at Chicago Cubs (1-3), 1:20 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. 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

Cliff Lee (14.40 ERA, 6.02 FIP, 5.64 xFIP; 1.00 K/BB)

versus

Jeff Samardzija (0.00 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 4.28 xFIP; 1.50 K/BB)

Philadelpia Phillies Lineup

1. Ben Revere, CF

2. Jimmy Rollins, SS

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Marlon Byrd, RF

6. Domonic Brown, LF

7. Wil Nieves, C

8. Cody Asche, 3B

9. Cliff Lee, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Justin Ruggiano, RF

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Junior Lake, LF

6. Mike Olt, 3B

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • gocatsgo2003

    DARWIN BARNEY… RABBLE RABBLE!!!

    • TimBeam

      Hey he did the ol’ “get hit by a pitch/foul ball and turn it into a base hit and then score” thing yesterday. Maybe he can duplicate that?

      • gocatsgo2003

        Forgot to turn on the ol’ sarcasm font.

  • cub4life

    I love this…everyone knows what is going to happen with the line up against a LHP and yet they still get overly mad when it happens. to funny

    • DarthHater

      To funny or not to funny?
      That is the question.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        But does it BEG the question.

        • cub4life

          Well its not funny that we have to go thru this (even though the way this team is set its the correct way) but it is funny to see the reactions of people when we already know how the line up will be. Now the line up against the RHP is tougher to figure out.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    This lineup whining is getting rather old. It is a team with 3 everyday players, and multiple platoons. Seems to work ok for the Oakland a’s. This ain’t the big red machine boys, deal with it.

    • cub4life

      +1

    • TommyK

      The Cubs have three everyday players? Oh, you mean everyday for the 2014 Cubs, not everyday for a real major league baseball team.

      • cub4life

        no we have 3 guys that would start on most teams, Castro, Rizzo and Castillo (even though they are all strugling right now).

  • ssckelley

    SSS but Barney already has 3 walks in 12 plate appearances for a .417 OBP. Not sustainable by any stretch of the imagination but he was walking more during spring training and had a .393 OBP. If Barney can have a career year in walks and OBP (his highest was .313 in 2011) teams might be interested in him. But this is why he needs to start every day until Baez or Alcantara are ready to come up, he is worth nothing sitting on the bench.

  • TonyP

    I’m thinking about buying the Milb tv package for the first time. Pros/Cons??? I remember last year there was some negativity about who you were able to watch, but I think that was because the bigger prospects were at the lower levels.

    • GoCubs

      It’s a great deal…Worth it.

  • Voice of Reason

    Thank god renteria is platooning at several positions.

    Its evident by our record and runs scored early on that it is working. We’ll certainly stay in the division race which is the goal. Screw letting the kids play all the time so they can be evaluated for the future. Its.about winning games now and this platoon formula is our ticket to at least a wild card this year. Otherwise why do it?

    Go cubbies!! This is our year!!

  • Diehardthefirst

    2-7 have potential of 20 HR each 2014. Bryant has potential of same by himself

    • gocatsgo2003

      120 HRs?

  • http://kempfintl.com pfk

    I wish someone could explain Renteria’s thinking on the batting order. Ruggiano 3rd…Olt 6th?

    • Voice of Reason

      In the cubs case the batting order is irrelevant. Pull names out of a hat.

    • Jon

      It’s possible, that at both points in their respective careers, Ruggiano is the better hitter?

    • gocatsgo2003

      Ruggiano has a career .498 SLG and .821 OPS against LHP. Might have something to do with it while facing Cliff Lee.

      • Medicos

        Thanks Northwestern for info on Justin R. I noticed he’s got some power with 31-HRs in the past two years in Miami. I’d still like to see Olt wind up hitting cleanup, but for now Ricky will have Ruggiano in the 4th hole.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Taking pressure off Olt- 2-7 of this order should account for 5 runs a game

  • SenorGato

    I like Barney. Never understand animosity, or the opinion that Watkins is some kind of upgrade.

    Watching Rodon against Clemson. Not impressed. Theres at least two draft pitchers I like more in Beede and Aiken.

    • Jon

      McDaniels report was that Rodons stuff falls off dramatically after 2-3 innings… Did you notice that?

      • SenorGato

        Hes been 88-91 way more than anyone wants to admit over the past two years. Hes supremely confident in his slider, but no one drafts a pitchrr at the top on an off speed.

      • Picklenose

        I haven’t seen him pitch, but if he has great stuff for a few innings wouldn’t that make him a good candidate for a closer?

        • Jon

          Yes and a bad candidate for a top 5 Pick

          • Picklenose

            So he has an upside, just not enough for a top pick. I can agree with that.

            • nkniacc13

              Plus at 4 heaving been thought of as no1 he may choose to go back into draft if the bonus isn’t right

  • E

    It’s still way too early to judge Renteria but so far, I’m definitely not impressed with his choice of lineup construction. Hopefully he comes around.

  • candyland07

    Cubs batting line and ranking after 4 games : 201/276/279/556 translate to 25/25/29/29 out of 30 teams .

    Well that certainly is at the bottom of the barrel .

    Team slump or those platoons match up the computer sends sux.

    • gocatsgo2003

      …or it’s four games.

  • Jon

    Don’t get though Lake above Olt in the order. Would like to have seen Olt with those 2 men on

  • willis

    Shark’s stuff has been impressive thus far. That HR wasn’t a great pitch, but Utley is just a great hitter, especially in Wrigley. I feel like he always hits well there.

    • willis

      Of course as soon as I say that, he gives up a hit to the pitcher. FML.

  • Jon

    Castro has had some good ABs so far today. The strike zone Lee is getting today is fuggin ridiculous

  • ssckelley

    *sigh*

    Cannot get a hit with RISP, 0-3 so far today.

    • ssckelley

      0-5 now, this is awesome!

      • ssckelley

        What are we up to? 0-6 now I think

  • Diehardthefirst

    I know I know – its not towing the BN party line to criticize baby Castro – but c’mon

  • ssckelley

    Did Olt touch third?

    • Picklenose

      neighborhood play at 3rd?

      • Diehardthefirst

        More like Rooftoppers play

    • ssckelley

      Lol, nope

      • Picklenose

        Umpire sympathy for Cubs?

        • ssckelley

          I guess, the ump was standing over the play and had a much better view than I did watching it live on TV.

  • Matty Ice

    Leadoff walk scores, weird

  • wkranz

    Man, these games are just tough to watch. Love my Cubs but this boring offense is brutal.

  • Jon

    lol, Howard. He really needs to be a DH

  • wkranz

    Out two power hitters just hit the ball a cumulative 12 feet on their outs.

  • Medicos

    Chase Utley is exactly the Jeter-type player that the Cubs desperately need. A ball player who does all the little things correctly and knows how to win ball games. He’s a team leader.

    • ssckelley

      The one position the Cubs don’t need right now is 2nd base, especially a 35 year old veteran.

      • Medicos

        ssckelley: I didn’t mean a 35-yr-old Chase Utley. I meant a team leader like Chase Utley. If u think our Cubbies don’t need an everyday 2nd baseman, u haven’t been watching the first 5 games of this season.

        • Rebuilding

          Baez will be the everyday 2b by June

        • ssckelley

          When you mean leader you mean someone who can hit the ball right?

    • Rebuilding

      Chase Utley is good not because he “does all of the little things”, but rather because he can hit the baseball really well, like MVP caliber well when healthy, as a 2b.

  • Jon

    I know the offense stinks but holy crap is this home plate ump a bum
    Lee has a 10 foot strike zone in all directions

  • Picklenose

    Last night DJ Augustine got hit in the ‘nads during the Bulls game. I was waiting for Stacy King to say he was hit in the Welingtons.

  • Kyle

    Lake’s ability to suck at everything but somehow get good results has continued for four games. I hope he continues forever, or stops sucking. I’ll take either.

    • Picklenose

      You do realize that the definition of sucking is that you do not get good results?

      • Kyle

        That’s part of the magic.

        • college_of_coaches

          Dude, I thought you were going to the game. Also, what did he do? (I’m unable to watch the game on TV.)

          • Kyle

            Kid got sick.

            Lake’s day so far includes dropping a ball without realize he dropped it, and a hard hit ball right through the 1b for a double, continuing his .500+ BABIP.

  • Picklenose

    Man, that was close, much closer than the third base play.

  • baldtaxguy

    Thought Barney was faster than that.

  • baldtaxguy

    Castro looks more comfortable at the plate.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Castro is afraid of the ball – that is only explanation for baling hay on every swing

    • ssckelley

      Keep dogging Castro! The more you do the more he hits. He is 2-3 so far today.

      • Kyle

        He looks awful at the plate. He squared up on one good pitch for his first single, but the rest of his day has been the parade of bad swings and bad pitch-decisions we’re used to over the last year for him.

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