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costanza yankees steinbrennerTanaka, Tanaka, Tanaka.

Tanaka.

TANAKAAAAAAAA!

Ok. There. You’ve heard it enough.

Today the Cubs kick off their interleague slate with a doubleheader in New York with Jason Hammel on the mound as bridesmaid, opposing the bride. Masahiro Tanaka has pitched well for the Yankees in two starts so far, and there’s very little reason to doubt he’ll do it again today – he has fantastic stuff, a wide range of pitches, and the advantage of facing guys who’ve never seen him before. Hammel will have to keep things close.

It’s tough to win both legs of a doubleheader, so a split today is a pretty safe bet (and a pretty OK outcome for the Cubs, given that they’ll be facing two dominant pitchers).

On the offensive side, the Cubs get to use a DH today, and the honor goes to Mike Olt in the first game. Otherwise, it’s a mix of righties and lefties, which is what you’d expect on a doubleheader day against two righties. Can’t quite do the same lineup in both games.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (4-8) at New York Yankees (7-6), 12:05 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

Jason Hammel (2.63 ERA, 4.82 FIP, 3.74 xFIP; 5.50 K/BB)

versus

Masahiro Tanaka (3.21 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 1.80 xFIP; 18.00 K/BB)

New York Yankees Lineup

1. Brett Gardener, LF

2. Carlos Beltran, RF

3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

4. Alfonso Soriano, DH

5. Brian McCann, C

6. Yangervis Solarte, 2B

7. Kelly Johnson, 1B

8. Dean Anna, SS

9. Scott Sizemore, 3B

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Justin Ruggiano, CF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Junior Lake, LF

7. Luis Valbuena, 3B

8. Mike Olt, DH

9. John Baker, C

  • Bixler51

    Somebody said Shark deserves an EJAX contract? Huh? Shark is worth around 18 million per year on the open market. Have you seen what pitchers are getting paid? Shark is clearly better than EJAX on his worst day. We better start spending money somewhere on top pitching. I would rather 1) trade Shark, 2) use some combination of Cubs surplus of eliet prospects for Stanton (Stanton and Bryant on the corner OF spots for 8 years sounds nice to me), and 3) go NUTS on FA pitching- Scherzer- 25 million for 8 years and Shields 17 million for three or four.

    • JasonP

      That was me.

      Go compare EJax’s game logs, and his season stats in his contract year, to what Shark did last year. Maybe with inflation he deserves another million per year.

      Fact is that Shark is and average pitcher who eats innings and flashes brilliance, but on aggregate performs fairly average.

      If he puts it together and avoids the horrible stretches, then yes he has more value.

      Shark is not always the pitcher that he has been through is first three starts this year. Last season he had and ERA and FIP both over 5.00 in 100.1 IP after the ASB. Edwin Jackson is marginally preferable to that, and it’s across half a season so no SSS arguments to be had.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Hendricks had 9K’s in his start at Iowa today. Not bad for the soft tossing righty

    • Edwin

      That’s great news.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Yep, only 1BB too. But also gave up 3runs and 5 hits. I assuming some of those 5 hits were some hard hit balls

        • Edwin

          5 hits isn’t that much over 7 IP. Even with the walk, that’s a WHIP less than 1. Looks like he suffered more from unlucky sequencing.

  • BlameHendry

    Tanaka must be thinking to himself, “man, thank GOD i did not sign with the Cubs this offseason” during the game today.

    • WilliamGlass721

      Will he be saying that in a couple of years when we are consistently making the playoffs? I would rather be on a rebuilding team that has promise than on an overpriced third place team that has reached it’s peak. It doesn’t matter if you have a couple more wins if you still miss the playoffs.

      • brickhouse

        WilliamGlass – When does this team start making the playoffs consistently ? You have really fallen for the Theo plan and his talking points.

        • WilliamGlass721

          My point is still valid. All that matters is if you make the playoffs and win the World Series. Would you want the Yankees payroll if it meant finishing third and still missing the playoffs? If you have lots of debt to payoff and a neighborhood being ridiculous by not allowing us to maximize revenue, you have to rebuild and depend of prospects. What’s so hard to understand?

      • Edwin

        I think the Yankees will be closer to winning a world series in a couple years than the Cubs.

      • johnnyfootball

        holy crap dude get real. The Yankees are better than us by a wide margin. A couple prospects isnt gonna change that. Tanaka made the right call considering the Yanks are a better team and offered more than us. Theo shouldve offered 6 years 170-180 mil, this guy is worth it.

        • WilliamGlass721

          Missing the playoffs is still missing the playoffs. You can call me on it if the Yankees make the playoffs. The Yankees trade for Soriano was pointless last year because they still missed the playoffs.

  • HislersHero

    2 hits? 2 god damn hits? Fucking terrible.

    • KHRSS

      2 bunt singles

      • johnnyfootball

        f**king pathetic display of offense. Absolutely sickening.

  • Pat

    You will almost never see me question bullpen usage, but what the hell is Grimm doing in there in a game we are likely to lose anyway? You’d think they want to save him for higher leverage situations. This could be bad if we end up with a lead in the later innings of tonight’s game.

    • KHRSS

      Agree and I just posted the same, throw veras out there this game is lost anyway. Bad decision.

  • KHRSS

    I don’t agree with using Grimm here, this game is lost. It would be better to have him available for the second game.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Lot of similarity between Jackson and Tanaka. Well, they both throw right handed anyway. Except one is a pitcher who changes speeds with pinpoint control. And the other can throw hard in the general vicinity of home plate.

    • JasonP

      So you’re saying Ejax has way more in common with Rick Ankiel. Minus the ability to hit and play in the OF

  • DarthHater

    Okay, I am now getting banner ads for underwear and Mormonism. Coincidence? :-P

  • Kyle

    Sure am glad we got Olt a start against a righty.

    • Edwin

      Only 500 more PA to go before we know what he can do at the MLB level.

  • WilliamGlass721

    People act like Tanaka is the best pitcher in baseball. Get back to me after the baseball becomes use to him and he has to adjust once they stop waving at his pitches in the dirt. Would I love for the Cubs to have him? Of course because we need more young pitching talent!

    • Jon

      Someone two years ago probably said the same thing about Yu Darvish.

      • WilliamGlass721

        Very true, but not me. I knew Yu Darvish would be the real deal with his dominating stuff. I wanted him on the Cubs like crazy! Tanaka is very good and I wish we had him. I am just saying do not assume he will be a Cy Young award winner just yet.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Toronto’s record: 8-4 currently a top AL East. How shuld my rooting interest go for them if I want to get the greatest return for the Shark. I want them to be desperate but just do I want them to lie in the middle of the pack? Idk, to me the shark is as good as gone (unfortunately), so really my rooting interests right now is for Rizzo, Castro, Wellington (core pieces) to do well, and also rooting for the Shark, Emilio B, barney, Russell, Veras (mission impossible) to have good first halfs so we can flip them for a good return of prospects.

    • johnnyfootball

      How about your rooting interest is for everyone on the Cubs if your a fan you dumb f**k

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Wow johnnyfootball: Troll much? I root the team everyday but I’m a realist

      • CubsFaninMS

        He didn’t slap your mom dude. Seriously. Would you please install a webcam in your vehicle? I’d love to see how you react in traffic situations.

    • itzscott

      Cubs have more flips than a karate match

      • Professional High A

        Wouldn’t that be Judo, not karate?

  • JasonP

    Tell me I’m crazy for saying Ejax (when the Cubs signed him) and Shark have similar value.

    WAR tells us that EJax is more valuable. In his 3 seasons preceeding his signing with the Cubs he put up 2.1, 2.9 and 2.0 WAR. For Shark, 1.8 and 1.0 the last two seasons, he’s off to a blistering 1.0 already this season, but he won’t sustain that and end up with an 8-10 WAR. Aside from WAR, go look at BB/K rates, the fangraphs WAR are more similar between the two, but still no advantage for Shark.

    Those were Jackson’s age 26-28 seasons. Shark’s 3 years as a starter will be his age 27-29 seasons.

    Both guys have flashed brilliance and both can be a disaster. I’m not saying we know for sure that Shark will follow the same trajectory, but with the info on hand when Ejax was signed, his value has to be somewhere in the same ballpark as what Shark’s should be based on his last couple of seasons.

    Of course, if Shark puts together a 4-6 WAR season, and avoids his horrible stretches, then his value goes into a different bracket. I just don’t see where you don’t have to be wearing rose colored glasses to say that Shark is worth a whole lot more.

    I want someone to make and objective argument that Shark is worth way more than Ejax; I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong – I just can’t find an objective measure that says Shark is worth a big contract.

    • Kyle

      You’re crazy because you think a three-year stretch that doesn’t encompass the last two years defines Jackson’s value, and you’re crazy for using bWAR.

      • JasonP

        bWAR is a measure, I’m using it as a single example there like I said go compare all the other measures including fWAR, FIP, BB/K rates, whatever you choose.

        I’m comparing EJax’s value at the time of his signing to Shark’s value as he approaches his contract, so yes those years are the exact appropriate comparison.

        If you want to talk about EJax’s current value, then yes this year and last matter, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I don’t think I can be convinced that EJax hasn’t underperformed relative to his contract – it is a separate question though.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    damn, the Dbacks are terrible this year…yikes. 4-13 record! Looks like 4 team race for the 1st overall pick in the draft next year. Us, Dbacks, Astros, and Marlins.

    • candyland07

      The Dbacks will play better . They play 4 against the Cubs soon, The Marlins are already better And the Astros will improve. The Cubs ,even money that they capture 1 st place for the 1st spot in the draft.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        All I want is to see development from our core and minor leaguers, and then flip our short-term assets for prospect midseason. If we are going to suck which we do… I want to have the worst record but be able to take the positives of guys like Rizzo and Castro having better years

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        We should be a lock for that number one pick. Especially after we trade Shark and Hammel we will lose a ton of games.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Hopefully this is the last year picking in the top 5 for a while. I don’t know if I could stomach another 95 loss season

  • candyland07

    Wow either the Yankees are very confident in their bullpen OR they know to rest Tanaka . He did throw many pitches – that happen when a team whiffs 9 times.

  • JasonP

    Totally unnecessary jump by Ichiro there. Must be some sort of advanced technique from the Alfonso Soriano-hops are cool- school of playing in the outfield.

  • Medicos

    Watching this Cub lineup try to get on base is absolutely boring. it’s been the same 4 the past 2 years. Thank goodness the Bulls play their final game tonite and the playoffs begin this weekend. Start growing your beards for the NHL playoffs tomorrow. Sayonara: Tanaka San!!!!!

  • cubmig

    Even though he lost, Hammel did well. The offense?……..well……it never showed up. Hope the FO learned something from this game along with all the others. What must they be thinking?

  • Funn Dave

    It’s tough to win both legs of a doubleheader…unless you’re playing the Cubs. I don’t hold out much hope for tonight.

  • candyland07

    Cubs new enhance 2014 Motto Last place is First place……. In the draft ! All according to the Plan.

  • candyland07

    As Tanaka walk off the mound he bows his head and mutters Makeinu.

  • BlameHendry

    Tanaka with 8 shutout innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, and 10 freaking strikeouts. What a big fucking kick in the balls for Cubs fans today.

    I hope Theo cringed today.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Yes he had a good day, but come on guys its against the Cubs lineup. There are career minor leaguers who could probably throw a quality start against this lineup

      • Funn Dave

        I believe that’s his point.

    • JasonP

      Can we even guarantee that the Cubs weren’t just leverage to up Tanaka’s market price? Assuming that the FO could have signed him if they just paid a bit more is a bit flawed.

      It’s kind of like saying the Cubs should have drafted Chris Sale, Bryce Harper, or Matt Harvey instead of Hayden Simpson in 2010

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