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wrigley field from right bleachersTravis Wood closes things out today against young stud Gerrit Cole. Each team is looking for the series win, but, for the Cubs, it would be their first of the year. So, they need it more (hashtag narrative).

Check out that lineup, which features both Mike Olt and Junior Lake in there against a righty. Now, before you go claiming that Ricky Renteria is overreacting to a couple homers last night from Olt and Lake (or before you go saying, “See! RR understands that you’ve got to play the youngsters no matter what!”), keep this in mind:

  • Gerrit Cole career versus righties: .251/.299/.341
  • Gerrit Cole career versus lefties: .251/.301/.330

The sample is sufficiently small that it could be a fluke, and he’s pretty much been great against everyone (keep that in mind today). But, as you can see, Cole has no platoon split. If you’re going to pick a day to start the young righties against a righty, today’s the day. This is contrasted strongly with some of the righties the Cubs have seen already this year who are particularly tough on righties and susceptible to lefties (like Charlie Morton, twice).

Today is also the debut of Junior Lake in center field for the Cubs. He looked rough there last year (but was brand new), reportedly played well there this Winter, looked good enough in Spring, and then looked fantastic defensively in left in the first week of games. Medium-term, I still really would like to see what Lake could do in center, though I completely understand why he hasn’t started there yet this year.

My only gripe about the lineup is that I don’t love the consecutive lefties up there and consecutive righties down there, but it’s a pretty minor complaint when you consider that the goal is to score runs early, making the bullpen games later on less effective (and it’s not like RR doesn’t have bench options of his own).

Today’s lineup is emblematic of what I love about this roster: I hate not seeing Luis Valbuena in there against a righty … but I couldn’t tell you where I would start him. There’s no spot for him today, and that’s a great sign.

Game Info

Pittsburgh Pirates (5-3) at Chicago Cubs (3-5), 1:20 CT on WGN/MLBN.

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

Gerrit Cole (2.57 ERA, 5.10 FIP, 4.16 xFIP; 1.50 K/BB)

versus

Travis Wood (4.26 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 2.48 xFIP; 8.00 K/BB)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Jose Tabata, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B

6. Tony Sanchez, C

7. Neil Walker, 2B

8. Clint Barmes, SS

9. Gerrit Cole, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Ryan Kalish, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Junior Lake, CF

6. Starlin Castro, SS

7. Mike Olt, 3B

8. Welington Castillo, C

9. Travis Wood, P

  • WilliamGlass721

    Cole gets a very undeserved win!

  • benjamin

    If Valbuena puts a swing on that ball instead of bunting it the game is probably tied. Sigh.

    • Funn Dave

      For it to be “probable” that Valbuena’s at-bat ties the game up, he would have to be an above – .500 hitter, and would need to hit at least a very long single. So, no, it still isn’t “probable.”

  • Medicos

    Thought we almost had another Bill Buckner moment!!!

    Every team is gonna win 60 and lose 60. it’s what the team does with those other 42 games that determines a team’s final record.

    Cubs on a pace for a 54-108 record.

    • Kyle

      What about all the teams that have won or lost fewer than 60?

      • Medicos

        Kyle—Since MLB went to a 162-game schedule few teams have won 100 games and even fewer have not won at least 60.

        • Kyle

          But they do exist. Which negates the cliche entirely. It’s a pointless saying that doesn’t really mean anything.

    • TWC

      “Every team is gonna win 60 and lose 60.”

      You keep repeating this platitude, but that doesn’t make it correct.

      “Cubs on a pace for a 54-108 record.”

      Yeah, and Emilio Bonifacio is on pace for 342 hits. Bet that doesn’t happen either, Mr. “On Pace Guy”.

  • cubmig

    A 4-0 lead pissed away down the drain. Thank you, you ff’en’ Schlitter & Russell. Dumb Shits.

  • Jason P

    If there was ever one game that perfectly signified everything that is Cubs baseball, it would be this one.

    • Kyle

      If we fielded this exact roster but wore Cardinals uniforms, we’d be 7-2 right now.

      Sure am glad we started Olt and Lake against a righty. 0-for-6, 4 Ks, 1 GIDP. 7 outs and no production between them. Wonder if that made a difference in a one-run loss.

      • TK

        . . . because the alternative would’ve had such better results, right? Do you ever think before you speak?

  • WilliamGlass721

    Bunting is highly overrated!

  • ssckelley

    Tough loss, very disappointed the Cubs could not add any runs the last 5 innings with the wind blowing out. I hope everyone complaining about the platoons enjoyed Lake and Olt’s 0-6 with 4 strikeouts against a tough right handed pitcher.

    Another ruined quality start by a Cubs starting pitcher.

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