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wrigley field from right bleachersThe thing that stinks about the Cubs finally playing a team with a dramatically losing record? It’s a team that, on paper, should be much better than it has been. Turning it around in Chicago would be completely understandable for the Diamondbacks.

Instead, hopefully the Cubs turn their own season around just a little bit, and keep Arizona on the skids.

Travis Wood faces Bronson Arroyo, who seems to pitch well whenever he faces the Cubs, regardless of the personnel. Fortunately, the Cubs are stacking the lineup with lefties to face a guy whose career splits (and it’s an enormous sample size) are about as pronounced as it gets:

  • Arroyo versus righties: .241/.293/.389
  • Arroyo versis lefties: .290/.345/.490

In short, righties have always struggled against Arroyo, and lefties have always crushed him.

Game Info

Arizona Diamondbacks (5-16) at Chicago Cubs (5-12), 7:05 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

Bronson Arroyo (9.95 ERA, 7.42 FIP, 4.79 xFIP; 1.50 K/BB)

versus

Travis Wood (3.00 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 3.13 xFIP; 4.75 K/BB)

Arizona Diamondbacks Lineup

1. Chris Owings, SS

2. Aaron Hill, 2B

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Martin Prado, 3B

5. Cody Ross, RF

6. Mark Trumbo, LF

7. Miguel Montero, C

8. Tony Campana, CF

9. Bronson Arroyo, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Ryan Sweeney, CF

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Ryan Kalish, LF

9. Travis Wood, P

  • JulioZuleta

    I’m calling Tony Campana’s first career over-the-fence HR tonight.

  • Jon

    SSS of course, but righties have been hitting Arroyo well this year(hasn’t everyone?). I’m not saying so much play Olt and Lake, but I’m really tired of seeing Sweeney out there.

    • peoriadude

      Me too, on Sweeney. Worthless so far. I’d give Vitters a chance as a lefty OF this year instead of wasting more time on Sweeney. Starting to lose hope on Kalish too.

      Could Valbuena have potential flip value this year? That could explain Olt’s playing time.

      • DarthHater

        I think Vitters already has enough to work on without trying to become a lefty.

        • peoriadude

          oops, my bad, was thinking Vitters hit lefty and his early stats aren’t bad this year. Nevermind. The next lefty OF option is then Chris Coghlan, then Brett Jackson, which I’ll pass on both. The Cubs suck, which sucks.

        • arta

          lol, yeah I noticed it too.

    • craigp

      Sweeney blows! At least Barney’s not in the lineup

  • Spoda17

    RR is an idiot… I just don’t get this… Even the effen numbers don’t support this stupid lineup.

    • Satch

      Agreed with the idiot part…but that’s not his fault it is GM’s for hiring him.

    • JasonP

      You could argue he’s an idiot for bunting too much, you could call him an idiot if he expected to win games with this team. He is, however, not an idiot for playing to the platoon advantage with a roster full of fringe big leaguers and only three established, legit starters as position players.

      • FFP

        This.

  • Spoda17

    Okay, RR is not an idiot… I am just so damn frustrated with this stupid ineffective platoon approach. News flash… it ain’t working…

    • roz

      Lefties hit Arroyo to a tune of .290/.345/.490 and you’re pissed that Renteria is stacking the lineup with lefties?

      • Spoda17

        So winning 75 games versus 70 games is what will make you a happy Cub fan? What about learning what players we actually have for the future. Sweeney and Valbuena should not be starting… period.

        • JulioZuleta

          Sweeney has looked bad so far. I’d rather not see him in the lineup. That said, he had the highest OPS in 2013 of any guy in the lineup…

          • Spoda17

            Its not 2013

            • JulioZuleta

              So, the 20 or so ABs he has had in 2014 are more indicative than the season’s worth in 2013?

              • Patrick W.

                Excuse me, but he said “period” which means end of discussion.

                • mjhurdle

                  i think punctuation is BS, therefore stop using it.

        • renegade4196

          Winning 70 games? What planet are you on?

          • Spoda17

            you’re right, I should have said 60 games

            • DarthHater

              Optimist.

            • Patrick W.

              Plenty of time left for this team to win 65 more games.

              • renegade4196

                Plenty of time left to lose another 100. I’d love to believe that the Cubs will come back and surprise people, but they look god awful right now…

                • Patrick W.

                  Yeah that kind of proves my point. It’s too early to say clearly that the Cubs will lose 102 games or lose 92 games.

              • Satch

                I hold firm at 59.

                • baldtaxguy

                  TMI

        • ssckelley

          Spoda, it is still April so I cannot blame RR for stacking the lineup with lefties. I say put the best lineup out there that gives the Cubs the best chance to win. Obviously Olt and Lake are struggling right now against right handed pitchers. They will eventually get their opportunities.

          • Spoda17

            Im not going to kill this argument again and again.. so I’ll just agree to disagree

        • cubbiehawkeye

          You shouldn’t be commenting. …period.

        • TWC

          “So winning 75 games versus 70 games is what will make you a happy Cub fan?”

          Um, yeah? Do you *not* want your team to win as many games as possible?

          “What about learning what players we actually have for the future. ”

          Good thing we have 162 major league games (and all the players’ MLB/MiLB histories) to figure that out, huh?

      • Voice of Reason

        We have been platooning and playing the splits so far this year.

        Is it working? Nope. Nothing will help this team win games. And, it really doesn’t matter.

        Olt should be at third every game. We lose 100 games no matter what do might as well see if Olt will be part of the future.

    • JulioZuleta

      Small sample size this year but here are Olt’s OPS’s

      v lefty= 1.080
      v. righty= .390

  • Medicos

    BLEACHER NATION: We’d better get used to it, RR is going to platoon OLT-VALBUENA at 3rd base.

    It’s become obvious that the Cubs can’t win a 3-game series. Maybe the Cubs can at least split this 4-game series. Last time they accomplished that was in Arizona last July.

  • Spoda17

    Olt, Lake, and Kalish should start at least 20 games in a row. It’s not just me… I read all over, just like you guys (and gals) do… and most of what I read is the same thought. Ricky is becoming a joke. Sveum didn’t lose the job because of wins and losses, but RR may because of this just damn nonproductive approach (and learning your players is productive). Platoons, bad use of the bullpen, crazy substitutions, sac bunts… It’s like Quade all over again…

    If we were even close to being productive I would entertain the platoon thing for a millisecond… but we are not producing crap. So to say the platoon thing is the right approach is BS.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Good grief. Olt and Lake have been FAR from inspiring in the games they have played in . And Kalish is a 27 year old nobody. Ricky is PLATOONING guys out of necessity…desperate necessity to get offense anywhere it can come from.

      Some of you really need to get over yourselves. When / if Mike Olt and Junior Lake prove they can contribute and deserve more playing time, THEN THEY WILL GET IT.

      • blublud

        I have no problem with the platooning right now, as I thought this team could be competitive, and call me crazy, but I still do.

        However, another month or so of this, and hopefully Kalish, Lake and Vitters will be the starting OF, and Olt will start everyday at 3rd. If we are going to suck, lets play the young guys and see if they can develop into something. If only one of those 4 improve, that’s one more guy than we were previously counting on.

        • blublud

          That we weren’t previously counting on.

        • cubbiehawkeye

          Fan is short for fanatic which is sort of like saying you’re crazy. My point…call me crazy as well because I also think they can still be competitive. I guess thats why we’re fans.

        • Voice of Reason

          Blublud when you say the cubs can be competitive what do you mean?

          Compete for the division? Compete for the wild card?

          • blublud

            Competitive mean compete with other teams. I still think these Cubs can win 75 games.

            • Voice of Reason

              75 wins doesn’t get us in the playoffs and a 75 win team is not a competitive team.

              Its a waste to say this team can compete this team sucks and 75 wins means nothing.

      • Spoda17

        How can you prove anything if you don’t play..? And if you actually think Valbuena is the future of the Cubs… really… What are we learning in a loss with Valbuena in and Olt on the bench?

        We know what Valbuena has, and so does the league, so to say we are building trade value is BS as well…

        • Patrick W.

          Is there anything you don’t agree with that isn’t “BS”? Or is just the stuff you think not “BS” and the stuff other people thing may or may not be “BS”?

          Said differently, is it that you think “everything I think is true, and everything else is BS” or do you think “specific things are BS, and I don’t believe in BS”?

          • Spoda17

            Nice argument Patrick. Focus on my use of “BS” and not the point. Good deflection. You must be a politician.

            • Patrick W.

              No man, it was a legit question.

              You see, if you dismiss any counter point of view immediately by saying “don’t say this because that’s BS” you are kind of negating any discussion and seeming like you aren’t willing to hear a counter to your point.

              If instead you said “I’ve yet to be convinced in X, maybe you have some new way to convince me” then you get a discussion. I’m fine with posting something and not wanting a discussion about it, but you seem to want a discussion, but only if nobody counters your opinion.

              • Spoda17

                I didn’t dismiss a counter point. My point was if the Cubs are playing Valbuena to build trade value… then IMO, and I think I can still have that, it is useless. Valbuena can be lights out (and oh btw, he isn’t) the trade value is not going up.

                I am fine to discuss, but you did not post a counter point. Please tell me how Valbuena is the best option. I am open for it. And, my point with Olt, Lake, and Kalish is not about production, or lack there of… it is about giving them an opportunity to succeed or fail… with some actual data…

                • Patrick W.

                  Well, Valbuena has been getting on base at a world class rate, but that’s not what will increase or decrease his trade value. There’s also this idea: If I’m trading for a guy, and he’s so important to you that he’s getting at least half the plate appearances at his position, I know he’s very important to you and your team (in that he’s getting a lot of playing time) and so I have to adjust my offer in the trade. If you have a guy sitting on the bench for 20 straight games, you can’t ask for much in return, because obviously, you don’t want him anyway. Playing him a lot makes sense when he’s A) getting on base A LOT and B) will be more valuable to the acquiring team if they know he can keep that pace up with regular playing time and a large enough sample size to prove it.

                  You can have your opinion. I don’t think it’s BS. I wouldn’t say that to you without hearing some supporting evidence.

                  • Voice of Reason

                    Patrick you will get nothing in return for valbuena. Many teams went into the season needing third basemen and second basemen. Why didn’t they check the availability of valbuena? They didn’t check because he is below average. He is a utility infielder on a good team. On a team that will lose 100 games like the cubs he gets 300 at bats. And, that’s why were the cubs.

    • cubbiehawkeye

      Valbuena has 11 walks in 32 AB with a .419 OBP…how is that not productive?

      • cubbiehawkeye

        I messed that up 43 plate appearances not 32 AB…my bad

      • Spoda17

        Olt is tied for the team lead in HRs… those are actual runs… how is that not productive.

        • cubbiehawkeye

          It’s productive but if you actually sat down and legit watched a game you would see that the dude has horrible at bats most of the time. I want to see Olt play more as well but not at the cost of benching a more productive Valbuena. A more intelligent way you could’ve went about this would be to say more Olt at 3B and slide Valbuena to 2B.

          • Spoda17

            … This is actually not about production, it’s about giving all of these young players time to actually prove whether they can play or not. I looked at all of the numbers, and I do watch almost every game… Valbuena is a serviceable MLB player. This is not about Olt, or Lake.. or Valbuena… this is about how can the Cubs evaluate what they have for the future. IMO, they need to play…

            That is all… over and out

            • mjhurdle

              I think that the 400+ plate appearances that Olt is on pace for is more than adequate for the Cubs to evaluate what they have in him.

              • TWC

                I’m pretty sure that Random Internet Commenter knows more about what it takes to evaluate major league talent than anyone else does, thankyouverymuch.

                • blublud

                  According to peoples comments from earlier, yes.

                • Patrick W.

                  Perhaps Spoda is Chris Volstad.

                  • blublud

                    Nah, I’m pretty sure he’s Wellington Castillo.

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

                      Well then, no wonder why he sucks at framing.

              • Voice of Reason

                Then get Olt to 400 at bats as soon as possible. That way if he doesn’t cut it then we can move on and bring up one of our other third base prospects to see if one of them will be our third baseman of the future.

                We know it isn’t valbuena. Stop wasting valuable at bays by playing him at third.

            • cubbiehawkeye

              This is very much about all those players since they are all platooned and you said yourself that platooning is garbage. Basically you just want to hand players a position…unearned? Olt has an uphill climb and rightfully so. He has to prove something.

        • Kyle

          All of his home runs have come against left-handed pitchers. He can’t hit righties at all.

      • Voice of Reason

        Who cares about valbuena?

        You do understand the cubs are out of it this year?

        Let Olt play everyday so we can see if he is our third baseman of the future. Don’t waste valuable at bats playing valbuena. If Olt is not the answer then bring up one of our other third base prospects.

        Its absolutely stupid that valbuena plays at third.

    • Kyle

      You’re all wrong.

      It’s not Renteria’s job to appease fans by indulging fans’ fantasies that 25-year-old bit parts are “PROSPECTS!”

      • Patrick W.

        Wait, are all of us wrong is one person all wrong?

        • Kyle

          Yes.

          • Patrick W.

            Dang it.

  • Jon

    You know who is an idiot ? Ventura let Sale throw 127 pitches Thursday, and now has been scratched from his next start

    • renegade4196

      That’s a vintage Dusty move.

    • Darth Ivy

      Sale was dealing that night. I think both pitchers, Sale and Lester, took no hitters into the 6th or something like that. Maybe Sale should’ve been pulled earlier, I don’t know. Just pointing out that it was a fantastic game (I have Sale, so I was enjoying it)

  • mjhurdle

    All the freaking out about Olt and Lake is hilarious when you look at how many ABs they actually have.

    Lake has the 6th most ABs (8 more than Sweeney) and Olt has the 8th (2 more than Valbuena).

    For commotion, they are both getting good playing time as it is.

    • Spoda17

      Olt has 40 PA and Valbuena has 43… so recalculate

      • mjhurdle

        sorry, was looking at ABs instead of PA.

        I think the point remains though. It isn’t like Olt and Lake are languishing on the bench. They are getting good playing time.

  • Scombs

    what are the odds of actually getting this game in tonight? Weather looks pretty bad…

  • KHRSS

    Schierholtz again batting 4th?

  • Blackhawks1963

    Mike Olt and Junior Lake have been FAR from good. Again, when or if they demonstrate the ability to contribute then there is a big fat nothing getting in the way of them playing more. It’s on THEM as individual players. Ricky is putting them in a position to succeed and it is totally 100% on each of them to seize opportunity and run with it.

    • willis

      You say that but, Lake has been ok, and ok is heads and shoulders above anything Sweeney and Kalish have given this team.

    • Spoda17

      FAR from good… Olt is tied for the team lead with HRs in a platoon… so to say far from good I would disagree with

      • JasonP

        3 HRs, small numbers problem.. Even more variance than small sample size problem.

        • JasonP

          We can be 90% confident that if Mike Olt is the same hitter all season, he’ll hit between 11 and 98 HRs.

          What we know about 3 HRs in 37 ABs, is that he has more power than Darwin Barney, but potentially only about Grudzielanek HR hitting ability or potentially Sammy Sosa + Mark McGwire HR hitting ability. Or in simpler terms, nothing we didn’t know from his minor league numbers.

  • cubmig

    “Maybe the Cubs can at least split this 4-game series.”

    Hope you haven’t just jinxed the Cubs. They’re having a rough, tough time getting a run to make that winning difference. AZ has a worse “L” record than the Cubs…..still…..the up hill challenge is still there.

  • Spoda17

    I have a new outlook. I think we should keep running out there other teams castoffs and think they will perform differently than in the past. Yeah, good plan. Didn’t someone once say that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

    I acquiesce… I now think that all of the platooning will win the Cubs the World Series.

    • TWC

      I’m not *calling* you a pouty little baby, I’m just saying you *sound like* a whiny little baby.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Lets see if things go as they do around here, the next step is to call you out for hurting peoples feelings, then a brigade of posters will jump on and call you mean and bad. Give it a few minutes

        • waittilthisyear

          i hesitate to do this goat, but here goes nothing.

          youve been around here longer than me, though i was here in the good old days. you are one if the posters that made this board such a terrific community to be a member of. but i think you were a bit more of a dick the other day than you needed to be.

          *ducks*

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            GOAT HOOF TO THE HEAD!

            And that was very amusing, humor is good, laughing is better, and calling an idea stupid is not a big deal.

            • waittilthisyear

              cheers my friend. in the name of mutual interest, and i know you love your michigan crafts, there is a good chicago craft i recommend to you. im sure youre familiar with two brothers, and their most recent brew, called two brothers domain dupage, should be consumed by you

              • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                Yup the two brothers do great work and cheers I’ve been doing beer reviews on Saturday on my blog so I’ll have to see if I can get dupage.

                • BT

                  It’s ubiquitous down here. You can get it at Costco. It’s also very good.

              • MaxM1908

                I just had some Domain Dupage the other night. It’s quite good.

      • Spoda17

        Dude, ha… if you think this blog will hurt my feelings… lol… It is funny, those who start a discussion are lambasted by those who judge. I will always start a discussion. I will leave the armchair quarterbacking to the rest.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Oh I know you are good sport Spoda

        • Spoda17

          That was for TWC… not you Goat

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            I know and I also know you can roll with the punches and jabs, that was my greater point.

            • Spoda17

              If you’re afraid to miss… don’t swing… ha

    • TWC

      “I think we should keep running out there other teams castoffs and think they will perform differently than in the past.”

      Kinda like Mike Olt, huh?

      • Brocktoon

        Or Ryan Kalish.

    • waittilthisyear

      if you engage in debate with everyone who thinks the platoon is the best way to handle things in april expecting to change their minds, then arent you “doing the same thing and expecting a different result?”

      if you are doing it not expecting a different result but just for the sake of disagreeing, then you and jon should get an apartment together.

      i take that back, jon is far far worse than you could ever be. ill offer my opinion, one that rests in the middle. although i think the platoon is necessary right now, i dont care and would like to see olt play because i want him to be good and i think he is the only unproven guy that could be good, even though th early results are uninspiring

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Sounds like the rain will delay the start of the game.

  • renegade4196

    Arrieta is getting lit up in his rehab start.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Getting lit up in rehab is never a good thing.

      • TWC

        Well, kinda depends on what you’re in rehab for, huh?

        • waittilthisyear

          “hurt my nose”

      • blublud

        IDK, yesterday was National Smoke Day. 4/20

        • TWC

          Hippie

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Should we call you blu-bud?

  • Medicos

    What channel is Cubs game on. LIve in Chicago. Hawks on 37, Sox on 10. Where is CSN PLUS????

  • cubmig

    I just finish watching the 100 Years of Wrigley……A shot of the 1914 –2014 numbers filling up the front of Wrigley Field’s front was shown with most of the numbers mostly hidden, except the “4″ in the 1914 and the “2″ in the 2014 to highly “42″ number the Cubs will be honoring…

    In the context of a film covering history…….just an observation that happened and wanted to share.

    • cubmig

      ^ *highlight* not highly

  • JasonP

    Sounds like 9:05 ET start.

    • Medicos

      Great by then the BlackHawks game will be in the third period.

      If the game gets called off, they’ll play a day-nite DH either Tuesday or Wed.

  • Stogie

    To those that think Lake and Olt are struggling, the whole team is struggling. How can they not struggle when they’re only playing every other day, if then? If we’re gonna lose, we might as well lose with them as opposed to Sweeney and Barney. They need to settle on a lineup and go. This would be mine:

    CF Bonafacio
    LF Lake
    SS Castro
    1B Rizzo
    3B Olt
    RF Schierholtz
    C Castillo
    2B Valbuena

    • mjhurdle

      Lake – played in 16 of the Cubs 17 games. on pace to play in 152 games this year with 475 PA.

      Olt – played in 15 of 17 games. on pace to play in 142 games with 378 PA.

      (note that with the amount of games each have appeared in, it is impossible for them to only have played every other game)

      Both players are getting a lot of time. Even Olt, who is really struggling, is getting a lot of time, and it will probably increase as his shoulder gets 100%.

      I just don’t see where the ‘they need to play more’ is coming from. You would just hand out full time 160+ game 500+ PA to a rookie that is not performing, just because somehow playing more makes them get more baseball playing ability?

  • renegade4196

    For the first time in a long time, I actually think this is a game the Cubs will win. I think Arroyo will continue to struggle and Wood finally gets run support.

  • mjhurdle

    good ab by sweeney there. tough luck

  • mjhurdle

    Castillo!

  • mjhurdle

    holy cow Wood!

  • MaxM1908

    I friggin’ love Travis Wood.

    • cubbiehawkeye

      I second this ^^^

  • Jon

    Travis Wood should play OF on his off days

    • ssckelley

      Lmao, that is not a bad idea.

  • Melrosepad

    Obviously if you want to get the win, you must drive in the runs yourself. :-)
    Go Wood!

  • cubmig

    Wood says “TAKE THAT!” and then runs the bases singing “Singing in the Rain”

  • Karl Groucho

    T WOOD!!!!!!

  • Head and Heart

    Platoons? What platoons. Righties are raking against Arroyo this season. Castro. Castillo. Wood all with hits. Too soon to get Olt into the lineup for the rest of the game?

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    The million dollar question is when are they going to lockup Travis Wood? He out pitched Shark last year and is kicking ass and taking names this year. WTF, it’s a no brainer.

    • Head and Heart

      xFIP and FIP were both better for Shark last season. Same WAR. (as per fangraphs)

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