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

  • Spoda17

    Thank God we continue to sac bunt, cuz it works… NONE OF THE TIME!!!

  • Nate

    The bunting is getting really infuriating. Killed that inning.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    So, is Renteria’s goal to demonstrate why Gene Mauch never managed a pennant winning team? He (RR) certainly is doing a damn good job of that.

  • ssckelley

    So you bunt with Castillo and rely on Kalish and Barney to drive in the runs.

    Very dumb!

    • willis

      Completely dumb. And he hasn’t learned that it’s just not a good strategy. If it was the 8th or 9th, maybe, IF the guy batting isn’t that great. But taking the bat out of Castillo’s hands there? No excuse.

  • cubmig

    ….a risp opportunity turns into a squandered one. What else is new? ……….shit.

  • willis

    It was said earlier, but wouldn’t we all rather see Castillo with two on, no out, in the 5th, swing away there? And if he fails, then you are still two on one out.

  • Spoda17

    These stupid lineups and the damn bunting.. and the poor use of the bullpen… wow… glad RR is bilingual…

    • jp3

      In all fairness the lineups are really his fault… I don’t know if we have enough good players to make a passable MLB lineup but these freaking bunts are killing me

    • cubmig

      you’re right……….always look on the bright side of things…..

  • willis

    About time the wonder twins have a chat with their manager.

  • willis

    Here come the Yankees with a big inning shaping up. Lord have mercy.

  • cubmig

    Wood is good……except when he has to be tonight…..sad……cuz he IS good.

  • COWA

    Top 10 Rationalizations For Cub Failure

    10). Our loses look more competitive lately

    9. Yes, they’re getting outs, but they’re taking aggressive swings

    8. If the wind weren’t blowing in, 3-4 of our fly outs would be home runs

    7). We have the best Minor league system in baseball, watch out

    6) Did you know that Wrigley turns 100 years old this year?

    5) He pitched a hell of a game except for that one mistake

    4) When our bats, pitching and defense is on, we are tough to beat

    3) It’s the rooftops fault

    2) The “Dusty Baker” excuse

    1) 2 Haley Comets have come & gone, but anyone can have a bad Century

    & Our guys are trying too hard to win, they battled and came up short. We will be at it tomorrow.

  • candyland07

    The team that this front office has sucked these past two games – They got two hits by bunts in the first game .In the second game Cast drops a sac bunt and the players behind cant do a damn thing and everyone want to blame the manager. Blame team Epstein for having a Kalish on the 25 man roster and hitting what a buck 93 and Barney well everyone know what barney does .

    • Soda Popinski

      I blame grammar.

      • candyland07

        Rizzo hits a triple and gets stranded . I guess that RR fault as well.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          If RR didn’t give away the out with Castillo, then there is about a 30% chance that Rizzo’s triple is with 1 out instead of 2 outs, and thus another 25-30% chance that Rizzo gets driven home.

    • ssckelley

      I have no problems with Kalish being on the roster, at times he has been great.

  • candyland07

    blame the people that create the 25 man roster and not the damn Manager!

    • willis

      It’s a dumb strategy with a good roster. So the blame can go all around. The owner and FO give not a shit about putting a competitive team on the field and the manager makes bunting mistakes all the time.

      • candyland07

        The roster sucks – keep keeling and praying to Team Epstein like a zombie. The roster stinks and all of baseball knows it.

        • willis

          Oh trust me, I’m not kneeling to the FO. I’m extremely disappointed in them to this point, this will be year three of 100ish losses, with year four not looking any better…unless by miracle the owner actually opens his wallet. I agree the roster is terrible. No doubt. But I also think you can’t bunt in the 5th with one of your better hitters so the 8 and 9 guy get to swing away. Just not smart.

        • Jon

          They will never stop kneeling…they will die drinking the kool aid with Him

          • ssckelley

            You’re gawd damn right! I will die a Cub fan no matter who is running the team.

    • jp3

      YEAH (Torches lit pitchforks up)!!!!!

    • ssckelley

      Your shit is getting old Candyman….find something new to bitch about.

  • Soda Popinski

    I will say- just to bring some positives in this thread- that I’m enjoying watching Rizzo and Castro again.

  • COWA

    I think they will put it together soon. They are getting valuable experience. Lol

  • COWA

    I enjoyed Rizzo’s triple :)

  • Medicos

    GENTLEMEN: It’s not the sac bunt attempts that are the problem. It’s the AAA type players that are in lineup following most of the successful bunts. If we think this bad now wait until Hoystein begins “flipping” pitchers in July, Then just like what occurred in Aug-Sept 2012-2013 is going happen in 2014. Fewer well pitched games on top of low RISP.

    • Drew7

      “It’s the AAA type players that are in lineup following most of the successful bunts.”

      Then why give away a ton of outs?

      • MichiganGoat

        Precisely and if you had great hitters in your lineup bunting is even stupider than bunting with a bad team. I can’t wait till this stupid “old school” thinking that is continually proven finally goes away. Luckily the next wave of coaches have been working with sabermetrics for a while and it should go away soon.

    • MichiganGoat

      Having good hitter helps but bunting is NEVER a good gamble regardless of what hitters you have coming up. Of all the things to discuss why are we still discussing when you should bunt? The answer is almost NEVER, it doesn’t help it only lowers the chance to score. This is not difficult science, this is not fancy saber stats, its not magic, its a pure simple fact. Bunting is bad it lowers run expectancy.

  • cubmig

    ……will somebody explain to me what it is that makes the Cubs so miserably bad in risp situations? It’s sickening to watch that over and over and over and……

    • Soda Popinski

      Lack of bellyfire.

      • HislersHero

        Should have kept Campana and Fuld. All kinds of bellyfire there.


    • DocPeterWimsey

      What makes the Cubs so miserably bad with RiSP is the same thing that makes them bad in the other PAs. The Cubs are hitting only 0.248 without runners in scoring position and 0.220 wRiSP. Ah hah! you say: that means that they are hitting much worse in the clutch! Um, no: they are 22 for 100 wRiSP when we expect them to be 24 or 25 for 100 wRiSP. We’d expect a team hitting 0.248 to go 22 for 100 *or worse* 30% of the time.

      Indeed, Castro, Rizzo, Castillo and Schierholtz all have more hits wRiSP than you’d expect given their overall averages! (All are batting 0.294 or better in ridiculously small sample sizes.)

  • COWA

    You know,

    When the weather starts to get warm, the bars will soon follow, and the Cubs will be in the thick of it. Lol

  • ssckelley

    Bunt Castro to second!

  • jp3

    Let’s see if we do some more terrible sac bunting to kill this inning since we got the lead off man on

    • willis

      Oh boy, here we go again. Get it RR!!

  • cubmig

    Castro singles. What fate awaits him at first? His base-running life to be determined.

  • ssckelley

    Now he lets him swing away…….odd managing skills.

  • blublud

    Should have sacrificed.

    • Soda Popinski


  • ssckelley

    Did Kalish just say wtf is happening?

    • cubmig

      I read “wtf happened”……..we both could be right.

  • cubmig


  • willis

    When are the Barney days going to be over? He is a pop out machine and took two hittable pitches there. Maybe pinch hit Lake there, move Bonafacio to 2B and put Sweeney in CF?

  • spearman

    Wow, I bet Travis Wood would have liked to bat for himself tonight.

  • willis

    Speaking of Lake, even facing a right hander, he’s a better option than Kalish.

    • ssckelley

      Right now, yes.

  • waittilthisyear

    well, this stinks. the only nright side is that if the cubs stink bad enough, 3 dollar beer wednesday might be implemented early in the summer