costanza yankees steinbrennerIf at first you don’t succeed …

… hope that Tanaka can’t pitch both halves of a doubleheader.

Not that it gets much easier for the Cubs, with big, young righty Michael Pineda going for the Yankees this evening. He’s been on the shelf with shoulder issues for a long time, but, he’s back now, and he’s looked great. (Insert pine tar joke.)

Travis Wood will face a lightened Yankees lineup, with some guys getting rest after the earlier game (Derek Jeter returns from a few games off). Hopefully Wood takes advantage, and continues the solid start to his season.

The Cubs load up on a few more lefties in this one, though Darwin Barney slots in at second base.

The players will be honoring Jackie Robinson today, wearing number 42. Yesterday’s rainout was unfortunate in that regard, but, whatever: you can celebrate Jackie Robinson any day you please.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (4-9) at New York Yankees (8-6), 6:05 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

Travis Wood (2.92 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 2.75 xFIP; 2.92 K/BB)


Michael Pineda (1.50 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 3.54 xFIP; 5.00 K/BB)

New York Yankees Lineup

1. Brett Gardner, CF

2. Derek Jeter, SS

3. Carlos Beltran, DH

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Yangervis Solarte, 2B

6. Ichiro Suzuki, RF

7. Scott Sizemore, 3B

8. Kelly Johnson, 1B

9. J.R. Murphy, C

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Ryan Sweeney, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, DH

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Luis Valbuena, 3B

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Ryan Kalish, RF

9. Darwin Barney, 2B

  • bobdawg78

    1st and 2nd, no outs again, and NO CHANCE for us to score a run. Anyone surprised Barney hit a lazy fly ball to the outfield again? I would have bet my house that he was going to do that VERY THING.

    Frustrating when we have NO CHANCE.

    • cubmig

      With the number of pop-ups the Cubs have hit, they must be thinking golf uppercut is the way to go…….

  • salesguy

    Can’t tell all of you how much I’m going to miss watching Barney hitting short lazy fly balls in key situations next year. Dude, you’re a player whose very much on the bubble, bear down and act like you care, this is why you’re losing starts.

  • willis

    Well, here comes Rosscup in a high leverage situation. Hey dude, welcome up for one night…now go face Ellsbury with two on and one out. No pressure. :)

    • ssckelley

      He looked good! He got the job done.

      • willis

        He struck Ellsbury out twice. Good movement. So much more crisp on his FB.

        • ssckelley

          I agree, perhaps it is time for the Cubs to find a new home for Russell so they can bring this guy up.

          • willis

            Honestly, even if they wanted to, could they? His value is absolutely nothing right now. Saying that I’d be fine trading him for a PTBNL or cash considerations. Just get rid of him and let this kid pitch where he should be pitching.

            • ssckelley

              They could package him with Ruggiano and Barney for a box of balls for all I care.

              • willis

                Hell I’d trade the box of balls with them.

  • ssckelley

    Soooo, we blame that one on pitch framing?

    • Drew7

      I thought it looked like he pushed the pitch down a bit.

      • ssckelley

        Good, now we can blame one of these 2 runs on Castillo!

        • Drew7

          Is that sarcasm? I honestly can’t tell with you anymore.

  • willis

    Bosio kicked for arguing balls and strikes. Awesome. Protect your pitcher, especially your young pitcher.

    Rosscup, as expected was nails.

  • cubmig

    whooooaaa……Rosscup !!! NICE K…..nice closing of that inning.

  • willis

    Those of you watching the game, you got to see his stuff from the left side is so much more electric than the two stiffs on the roster now.

  • cubmig

    now if the offense would only show up.

  • ssckelley

    Not sure why I am still watching this. No way they score a run unless someone hits a solo home run.

  • COWA

    Any coincidence that Jameson Irish Whiskey is advertising on this site?

  • Rebuilding

    Hey, the bullpen isn’t going to blow either game!

    • jp3

      Well in all fairness they were never given a chance to blow it seeing we never scored a run.

      • Beast Mode

        I think that was his point.

  • cubmig

    My wife just said: “You know how to say ‘stupid Cubs’ honey?”

  • jp3

    If we keep this up we’ll have scored 1 run in the last 23 innings…. Fantastic

  • ssckelley

    Lmao, the kid has some balls to come in on the Yankee Pride like that.

  • willis

    “Thanks for your 1.2 of scoreless, no hit ball Zach. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. We’re going to let two awful pitchers keep the spots above you. Thanks for comin'”

  • augiepb

    I know it’s been beaten to death but I couldn’t help but laugh when I realized our entire starting OF was DFAd within the last year…and 4 of the starting 8 position players…

  • cubmig

    This is an embarrassment of a team. I hope the FO is getting some stinging criticism from influential quarters about the dismal hitting performances on display– along with admonitions to do something about turning that state of affairs around. I can’t buy into –let alone stand for–having a team waste away a season the way this team is. For the Cubs the season is not early; it’s already a coffin awaiting their expected collective corpse.

    • willis

      The FO is perfect and flawless, the smartest in the game. Don’t you know that?

      I fault the owner more than the FO. But both are disappointing and this era of Cubs baseball has been simply awful…not to mention only getting worse.

      • cubmig

        Don’t know if I should detect some sarcasm in you opening sentence, but say I accept that premise: Why is a perfect, flawless, smartest in the game FO letting itself be portrayed as stupid or whose trust is being flagged as incompetent? Something doesn’t make sense.

        • willis

          Yes, you should trust your sarcasm meter. I’m sick of people praising everything they do as if it is some type of mastermind greatness. It has resulted thus far in two of the worst seasons in team history and a third one that will be worse. So yes, I’m being sarcastic.

          Whether or not people who question “the plan” want to blame Ricketts more or the FO, either way it’s been a shit show and once they trade Shark this season, it’ll give them all the chance to move the goal posts even further and blow more bullcrap up fans’ asses.

          • cubmig

            There are two issue in what’s being said: One–Ricketts (imo) has split alliances. Business is the primary one and baseball operations is the second. The Business side, sadly, is the dog tail wagging the the dog. If the Cubs don’t fare as a winning team, the entertainment attraction of Wrigley, it’s new surroundings, the hotel, etc., are (imo) the protective shoulder the Ricketts can lean on. The modernization can ultimately be the thing they keep if the Cubs are ever sold off. So…..Business first, baseball operations second. To me, it sounds of fiscal practicality with safeguards if the risks of putting forth a winner fails.

            As for the baseball operations, it’s true Ricketts brought the Theo&Co on board to do what has eluded this franchise for decades—field a winning team that can compete consistently for years. There’s a plan (so we’re told) for that and for it to be realized we—the fans—are asked to be patient. No question the new FO deserve a honeymoon period to put their signature on where we’re going as a team and organization.

            That time is now in a “test” period. Fans like you and I are pissed too. We are wondering where the priorities are, given the rebuilding evidence (signings) we’ve seen. We know money and no-trade-clauses are also cramping big moves (if and should Theo&Co want to make them) but we’re pacified by the talk and by what coming up in the pipeline. I see it as more as a “be patient” talking point, nothing more.

            Somehow the org’s theology has to match its practice. That has not happened and it’s anybody’s guess whether “The Plan” will do that and pan out as a successful deployment of time and investment as herald. It may—yes. But, as things are unfolding it hasn’t, and the truth defining the status of where this team is heading is anything but reassuring to keep on keeping the trust in the leadership. At some point, the team those in charge put on the field HAS to be the one to put critics like “moi” to rest.

            While I don’t presume to be speaking for anyone beyond myself, I continue to wonder: How much shit must be scraped off before the top brass has the “AH-HA” moment their heads in the sand has hidden from them.

            The Cubs will go nowhere and “patience” will become code for STFU if some serious drastic change doesn’t take place to upgrade the composition of this team.

            My apologies for the winded response, but I hate what I’m experiencing with this team. I claim no expertise concerning the leadership mindset, only the passion and insights my own tracking has imbued me with.

            • willis

              Long winded or not, that was well said. I think “test” period is a good term now that we’re in year three and things are only getting worse at the big league level. Keeping the faith in “the plan” is becoming tougher to do for fans. There needs to be positive change, and fast, instead of managing an organization like it’s on welfare and losing is the only way to get to winning.

  • Jojo1691

    Right down the middle…popped up foul

  • Jon

    Castillo fn sucks

  • waittilthisyear

    anyone else prefer to see olt in this situation? (if he has been burned already, forgive my ignorance)

  • diamonddon

    Bring up the kids!!!!!!! Baez, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara. I would rather watch the kids of the future play!

    • P.Fronts

      Can’t do that. It would start the clock on the front office’s accountability.

  • P.Fronts

    The fact that there was no pinch hitter for the awful Ryan Kalish shows just how bad this roster is.

    • BT

      No, it means the guys on the bench were right handed.

      • P.Fronts

        If they have less of a chance to get on base than Ryan Kalish, they ain’t good.

        • BT

          They are right handed. No manager on planet Earth is going to insert a right hander off the bench to pinch hit for a lefty who started the game against a right handed reliever, unless the guy on the bench is Hank Aaron. It simply doesn’t happen.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Well there’s six hours of my life I will never get back..Good grief.

  • Jojo1691

    Sweeney, Barney and Kalish all are hitting under .175 after tonight, I know SSS but wow

  • diamonddon

    Ho many runners did Kalish leave on base? You could see him mutter to himself after his 2nd at bat “WTF just happened?” If he doesn’t know who does?

    • willis

      I think 6 total.

    • Jason P

      Kalish hasn’t even been a productive minor league player since 2010.

  • Jason P

    I think we definitely have something in Rosscup. But unlike most on these boards, I don’t have a problem with keeping him in AAA until mid-season. He legitimately has some control issues that he may be able to work out with more time in the minors.

    I think Wright will be fine as long as this velocity ticks back up to where it’s been in previous years. If it stays at 88, we could have a problem. Russell sucks and has sucked 4 out of his 5 big league years, so I wouldn’t mind seeing Rusin get his shot.

    If Kalish doesn’t heat up soon, Vitters should get the call. Our outfield desperately needs slugging.