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wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs will try to keep their winning ways going tonight against Brandon McCarthy. It’s lame to think this way, but I can’t help but feel that tomorrow’s 100th Anniversary Game at Wrigley will have just a little more zing if the Cubs have won a couple in a row, and they’re going for their first series win.

Jason Hammel makes his fourth start for the Cubs, following Travis Wood’s all-universe performance last night. You know what, Jason? We’ll all settle for just the pitching part.

But, hey, Hammel does have a homer in his career. He also has a .117/.137/.158 career line.

Emilio Bonifacio gets the night off, and it’s Luis Valbuena – not Darwin Barney – who replaces him at second base. Valbuena and his robust OBP also lead off.

Outside of that, though, the lineup is actually stacked with a number of righties – Olt, Lake and Ruggiano get starts – plus John Baker subbing in for Welington Castillo. It’s kind of an odd mix, but McCarthy has no platoon split to speak of, so it makes a lot of sense to do it on a day like today.

Game Info

Arizona Diamondbacks (5-17) at Chicago Cubs (6-12), 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

Brandon McCarthy (7.11 ERA, 5.57 FIP, 3.33 xFIP; 2.67 K/BB)

versus

Jason Hammel (3.05 ERA, 4.74 FIP, 3.84 xFIP; 3.20 K/BB)

Arizona Diamondbacks Lineup

1. Tony Campana, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Eric Chavez, 3B

5. Cody Ross, LF

6. Gerardo Parra, RF

7. Chris Owings, SS

8. Tuffy Gosewisch, C

9. Brandon McCarthy, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Luis Valbuena, 2B

2. Justin Ruggiano, CF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Mike Olt, 3B

7. Junior Lake, LF

8. John Baker, C

9. Jason Hammel, P

  • MightyBear

    Brett on fire today. Multiple posts on a vast array of topics and traveling to Chi for the big shindig tomorrow. Well done young man.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks MB. I credit the dozens of monkey interns I have chained to typewriters.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Meaning his kids are hard at work ;-)

        • MightyBear

          Now I’m even more impressed. Get those kids working early and often.

        • Funn Dave

          hahahaha

      • DarthHater

        Perhaps that explains Diehard’s recent absence from the chatboard.

        • college_of_coaches

          I’m actually a little concerned by his absence. I mean, Diehard is crazy and all, but he was part of our community.

          • DarthHater

            I am, too. I sincerely hope he is well and probably should not make jokes at his expense until any uncertainty is resolved. But, hey. I’m a Sith Lord. Evil is what I do.

            • Drew7

              Due to budget cuts, Shady Oaks has been forced to shut off it’s internet service.

              • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                Okay that’s funny

        • Drew7

          You know how I know you’re old? You called it a “chatboard.”

          • DarthHater

            I’m going to call you a name, just as soon as I can find my teeth…

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I wish Kalish was getting the start instead of Ruggiano. But I realize it is early so all of these guys need a chance. But Kalish has a lot more upside than Ruggiano IMO. I like our chances with Hammel on the hill, but it will all boil down to whether nor not we can get to McCarthy.

  • cubmig

    Just a side note. Anyone experience not be able to link onto the mlbtraderumors site? It was a headscratcher for me yesterday. I actually thought the site owners had just dropped out altogether ….but I find out they were a victim of a DDoS (Distributed-Denial-of-Service) attack by flooding the site and making it crash.

    some people just have too little to do nowadays.

  • johnnyp

    Serious question. Why are the cubs playing this many night games in April? Can they not save them for August? Is there some contractual obligation to only play so many night games per month?

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      I blame the rooftops

    • Dave

      Not sure if this was fact or conjecture when I heard this, but allegedly they play more night games during the school months (April, May, September) because children in school can’t go to day games. Because baseball is family entertainment playing evening games earlier in the year allows parents to take their kids to the games, propping up attendance numbers and therefore concession sales.

      If that is true, then it comes down to money. If it isn’t true then wherever I heard it from long, long ago wasn’t a reliable source, so the real reason is something else, possibly the team not wanting to interrupt the mating rituals of the lizard people who live underneath the outfield.

  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

    Remember when we all wanted McCarthy?

    • DarthHater

      That was because of his Twittering and his wife, wasn’t it? :-D

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Yeah I think so his TAR (twitter above replacement) is 120+

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Mostly his wife, same reason I wanted DeJesus to stick around

        • Medicos

          3-2TOMMY: U R correct. I saw Kim DeJesus walking out of the library in Wheaton. Gorgeous smile. PLUS10+++++

  • fromthemitten

    When do we all accept that last year was a career year and that Schierholtz is more of a 6/7 hitter?

    • Jon

      Most of us accepted that last year (which is why I was befuttled when they made no attempts to upgrade the OF)

    • Jason P

      He was a 6/7 hitter *during* his career year last year. The rest of the time he’s a platoon outfielder.

  • Jon

    We can put the Olt not playing pitchforks away for the night

    • mjhurdle

      is it too soon for us to dust off one of the old ‘Watkins must start’ pitchforks instead?

  • Jason P

    I’m glad it’s Valbuena and not Barney. Barney and Baker cannot play on the same day, lest we be forced to watch a Barney-Baker-pitcher 7-8-9.

    • Rich H

      Unless Wood is pitching then it is Barney-Baker-Kalish 7/8/9 with the pitcher batting cleanup.

  • Zoolander

    Now it’s time for Jason Hammel to pitch a great game and be tonight’s leading hitter as well. We learned last night is that the Cubs’ starting pitcher needs to hit a 3 run homer and an RBI double to have a chance to win.

  • WernerT

    19 comments in and nobody has mentioned how we have no chance playing against the mighty Tuffy Gosewisch? (Who the heck is Tuffy Gosewisch? Can I find another way to say Tuffy Gosewisch?)

    • Dave

      You have no idea how disappointed I was when I Googled him and found out that “Tuffy” is a nickname and not the name given to him when he was born.

      • DarthHater

        He’s overcompensating for his given name: Sissy Gosewisch.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          badum…CHING

  • cubbiehawkeye

    This is probably my favorite lineup…obviously I would rather have Castillo in there but other than the catcher position I would say this is RR best lineup. IMO

    • KHRSS

      maybe but Schierholtz is still batting 4th which I just don’t get.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Baez had two hits including a triple in Iowa’s win today. Alcantara went yard again.

    • Spriggs

      Very nice.

    • Jon

      2Ks too /doom boner

  • KHRSS

    Schierholtz batting 4th, he’s been having a pretty bad season but I think it’s been worse with him batting 4th. I really don’t get it. I know there is little to chose from but at least put someone in there who has some HR power.

    As for Schierholtz I really hope he starts to play better so there at least some chance of the cubs trading him this year.

  • CeeDeeVee

    I don’t get it either. He should be swapped with Olt. Atleast Olt hits some homers.

  • COWA

    I hope the giveaways tomorrow include a handwritten apology from ownership

    • DarthHater

      [img]https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3789/12860319963_cf4c0a7834_o.jpg[/img]

  • cubsfan08

    Chances of seeing a bat flip walk out of Valbuena today?

  • mjhurdle

    nice AB by Valbuenba, even with the out.

    Why wasn’t that ruled a hit/error seeing as how Ross didn’t complete the transfer?

  • Funn Dave

    I swear they just did the “MIKE OLT!” Arrested Development thing on WGN.

    Kid’s got some instincts.

  • Medicos

    Mike “BROOKS ROBINSON” Olt!!!!!

  • waittilthisyear

    2 notes: jr lake should calm down on that vicious cut of his with 2 strikes, and (i should probably check how he is doing before posting this), but kottaras may have been the pick over baker

    • mjhurdle

      well, Kottaras is sporting an impressive .067/.125/.067 in 17 PA for Cleveland’s AAA team. :)

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        1 hit and 1 walk in 17 PA. With 9 strikeouts. Not such a great start.

        • waittilthisyear

          ha i knew i should have checked. still marginally better

  • mjhurdle

    well, the first inning looked good with some quality ABs against McCarthy, second inning not so much…

  • Kenny Lofton

    John Baker is not a very good hitter. That is all.

    • DarthHater

      [img]https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3803/10296214514_c880b9e07d_n.jpg[/img]

    • Tommy

      In fairness, John Baker was not brought here for his hitting, he was brought here for his…in fairness, John Baker was not brought here for his hitting.

      • Jon

        They could have had Kurt Suzuki

        • DarthHater

          You don’t know that. Suzuki is starting in Minnesota. He wouldn’t get that chance here.

          • Jon

            Suzuki was signed to be the backup to Pintmo

            • DarthHater

              Who’s DHing while Suzuki gets the bulk of the work at catcher. At any rate, the availability of the DH in the AL means more potential opportunities for a guy like Suzuki.

              • Jon

                Well the Cubs were gaga over Koterras this offseason (whoops!) so I guess it’s a moot point

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

                  I wonder how he is at the rumored pitch framing myth.

                  • Tommy

                    Pitch framing statistics were invented by pitchers.

      • jp3

        On the nights wood is pitching you can play baker but he can’t play the other 4 starters days… We can’t have 2 auto outs with a pitcher and baker’s spot every time through the order.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          my sentiments exactly.

  • mjhurdle

    Nate comes through. He must have a little TWIW and Clutchiness tonight

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    That’s great recognition by Olt to get rid of that ball as quickly as possible to throw out Campana. Mike really flashing the glove so far tonight

  • Medicos

    Mike “BROOKS ROBINSON” Olt

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    A waste having Lake in the seven spot. Baker hasn’t impressed me at all.

  • BlameHendry

    Valbuena bat flip!!!

    • BlameHendry

      bat flip single*

      • Funn Dave

        Aw, I missed it.

  • willis

    Well, Schierholtz is “cleaning up” tonight.

  • Funn Dave

    MIKEOLT!

    • Jon

      Haha! Fuck you Kyle!

      • ssckelley

        Ditto

      • Kyle

        I hope he hits 35 more this year.

        • ssckelley

          Attaboy!

        • Patrick W.

          Yeah but f u anyway just because. :)

          • DarthHater

            Looks like we finally found something everybody here can agree on! :-D

        • Drew7

          Bet you wish you hadn’t gloated after the K in his 1st at-ba…wait, you didn’t?

      • DarthHater

        [img]https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2898/13973945652_7f56a39bc3_o.jpg[/img]

  • Chris

    OLT!! Oppo!!

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