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wrigley field from right bleachersRemember that time the Chi-Feds lost in humiliating fashion to the Packers at Weeghman Park? Good thing that has absolutely nothing to do with today’s game between the Cubs and Diamondbacks.

The Chicago Cubs will today go for their first series win of the year (coming into the series, there’s no way you wouldn’t have gladly taken a 3-1 win, right?), and they’ll face rookie Mike Bolsinger, who actually is a local Chicagoan. It’ll be a really nice moment for him, and one that the Cubs hopefully crush immediately. He’s making just his second big league start, and the Dodgers put it to him pretty good in his first.

For the Cubs, Edwin Jackson takes the mound, and you know the story with him: he needs to throw strikes early, and stay down in the zone. That’s the simplistic version, but it’s also pretty much true. The Diamondbacks are throwing him a serious bone with their lineup today, so hopefully Jackson takes advantage.

The Cubs’ lineup sure is interesting: with a righty on the mound, Mike Olt gets his third straight start. Luis Valbuena also gets the start … at second base.

Game Info

Arizona Diamondbacks (6-18) at Chicago Cubs (7-13), 1:20 CT on WGN.

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

Mike Bolsinger (10.29 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.17 xFIP; 2.67 K/BB)

versus

Edwin Jackson (5.40 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 4.46 xFIP; 1.46 K/BB)

Arizona Diamondbacks Lineup

1. Gerardo Parra, RF

2. Martin Prado, 3B

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Miguel Montero, C

5. Aaron Hill, 2B

6. Roger Kieschnick, LF

7. Cliff Pennington, SS

8. Tony Campana, CF

9. Mike Bolsinger, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Luis Valbuena, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Mike Olt, 3B

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Ryan Kalish, LF

9. Edwin Jackson, P

  • ssckelley

    It will be interesting to see how Olt does as he is getting a rare start against a right handed pitcher. Evidently they have come to the conclusion that a right handed Olt is better than a left handed Sweeney.

    • 70′s Cub

      Just not starting Barney’s Bat!

  • Thomas

    This should probably be our “everyday” lineup.

    • ssckelley

      Possibly, but they need to keep finding ways to play Lake. Perhaps keep the Lake/Kalish platoon in tact?

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

        Rotate Kalish/Lake/Bonifacio/Valbuena

        • ssckelley

          Just use Barney as a late inning defensive replacement? I know his bat sucks but he has made some incredible plays in the outfield. I wish those hits he takes away from opposing hitters counted towards his own batting average.

          If the Cubs only had a better offensive outfield I would want Barney playing every day. On a good offensive team Barney can still be an asset.

          • Medicos

            ssckelley: I know Barney is an outstanding defensive player but what “incredible plays in the outfield” have you seen him make???

            • ssckelley

              aw crap I meant infield….well I suppose I could say short right field. I was thinking outfield with the crappy offense.

              • Medicos

                ssckelley: With all these defensive shifts MLB teams are utilizing these days, Barney someday could possibly wind up played a short center-right field. This might why there are not as many singles as in past seasons.

      • Thomas

        Kelley I agree about the Lake/Kalish platoon. Keep that one going unless someone emerges as a regular.

    • J. L.

      Yeah, that’s my favorite lineup of the year so far. I almost feel like it could be actually competitive if only we had some actual starter-caliber guys in the outfield corners. I’d already be happier with Vitters instead of Kalish right now. As for Schierholtz’s replacement, it would probably have to be… Stanton.

      • ssckelley

        I want to see Vitters as well but Kalish is on a mini tear right now having hit 4 out of his last 6 and has gotten on base 5 out of his last 7 plate appearances. The guy has incredible speed and has a good defense, again I think the Cubs win if he was in right yesterday in the 9th inning. If Bonifacio ever gets traded I think Kalish could be a pretty good centerfielder.

        • J. L.

          I like Kalish. I’m just not crazy about the idea of him going straight to the big team after such a long layoff, especially since he had amassed less than 400 PAs in AAA and put up just okay numbers there before getting injured. Vitters may never amount to an average starter in the majors, but at least he has played longer in AAA and has already showed he can hit there.

  • candyland07

    100 year anniversary tough loss , The plan (LOL), came across a cute read about the Cubs in 2114 enjoy the link – I guess the plan worked!

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2014-04-23/wrigley-field-100-200-years-cubs-2015-world-series-champions-javier-baez

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    If we can nail this one down it will take the sting out of yesterdays loss. The question is which Edwin Jackson will show up today? As soon as I saw Strop throw something like seven balls in a row I knew we were in for trouble. But that combination of the blown double play and the freaky hit where the ball hit the bag and the poor defense in right field all contributed to the loss. Hopefully Roscup and Sanchez will shine with this opportunity. Unfortunately we have some dead weight to carry in the bullpen. Need I name them?

  • itzscott

    If Mike Bolsinger grew up a White Sox fan he probably hates the Cubs and will be motivated to do his Cy Young impression much like Mark Buehrle growing up a Cardinal fan and hating the Cubs always did.

    • Brocktoon

      Career ERA: 3.81
      Career ERA Vs cubs: 4.05

  • itzscott

    >> As soon as I saw Strop throw something like seven balls in a row I knew we were in for trouble. <<

    You and 99.9% of the fans following the game.

    I get the theory about a relief pitcher not being able to find the plate in a close game and a manager & pitching coach sticking with him because they just KNOW he'll suddenly find his slot and be lights out from there….. but it rarely (if ever) plays out that way.

    So I've always wondered why a manager/pitching coach who sees that his reliever doesn't have it just leaves that guy in until it's too late? Just seems like a really dumb thing to do.

    Also, you'd think there'd be some tell tale signs when a reliever is warming up that would indicate it ain't gonna happen for him….. so why even bring him in?

    • Edwin

      Maybe it’s just tough to know when a guy is really off, and when he just needs to work through something. I mean, how many innings did Marmol have where he’d walk 1 or 2, and then strike out 2 or 3? Strop (and Veras, for that matter) is similar. Good K%, lousy BB%. I think some of it just goes with the territory when a bullpen has that type of reliever.

    • Picklenose

      To quote an old song, “Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.” Warm up two relievers before the ninth. If the first one can’t find the plate, tell him its just not your day and replace him before he blows the game completely. At least until we find someone who can come in and throw strikes (o get outs) pretty much every day.

      • itzscott

        Agree!

        In a late game win or lose situation, that seems like an easy one for me. In spite of it being part of the territory for guys like Marmol, Strop, etc…. why would a manager even risk it?

        I’d bet that most of the time when these guys implode, they couldn’t find the plate when warming up either. You’d think a good bullpen coach (Les Strode) would relay that info to the manager to try to steer him in the right direction.

    • cubmig

      “I get the theory about a relief pitcher not being able to find the plate in a close game and a manager & pitching coach sticking with him because they just KNOW he’ll suddenly find his slot and be lights out from there….. but it rarely (if ever) plays out that way.”

      It’s the “gambler’s” blood in the veins at work……..

  • Patrick W.

    I kinda think they should move Castro up to cleanup in this lineup.

    • DarthHater

      That would give him the “protection” of Schierholtz’s left-handed *ahem* “bat” behind him.

      • jp3

        Scheirholtz as protection;). Ha! I liked the ahem in there as if a cough could disguise you saying scheirholtz😉

        • DarthHater

          Although combining the sarcastic *ahem* with the sarcastic quotation marks felt a little like unfair piling on to me. :-P

          • jp3

            I def knew you were kidding and it was the perfect amount of sarcasm you used:)

  • smackafilieyo

    Think of it this way guys!! We won’t be able lose the series today, lmao

  • DarthHater

    The screw-ups of those stoopid Chi-Feds should not count against us in the standing.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Len and J.D. just said that C.J. Edwards is out with a shoulder problem. That sucks!

    • jp3

      That’s not a surprise they said that, it’s very vague if that’s all they said. Nothing else?

      • jp3

        That’s actually what I meant by saying that was vague they didn’t say anything else since Ace reported those basic facts at about 9:30a.m. Surprised they don’t have any other details at this point.

    • bbmoney

      Brett….you’re clearly publishing too many stories each day since people are missing your first one from the day.

  • ThePope

    Love the lineup! Just move Nate to #6 and shift Olt and Castro up one spot?

  • WilliamGlass721

    Our announcers need to stop sounding so somber! That loss doesn’t have to be a dagger if the players do not want to be one! It’s all about mentality! :-)

    • jp3

      Some would disagree and argue talent has something to do with it. We’re drastically lacking in that department

      • WilliamGlass721

        What I am saying is the players do not have to feel sorry for themselves if they do not want to. :-)

    • DarthHater

      [img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7316/12126432166_04dd027043_n.jpg[/img]

      • Picklenose

        This is a perfect description of how I felt after watching the ninth inning yesterday.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    That wasn’t a bad pitch Montero hit.

  • itzscott

    Looks like Jackson is off & running again with his usual suckiness

  • cubmig

    Bonafacio……..safe or out? Hope it’s safe……just because of his hustle.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      There’s good hustle and bad hustle – that was the latter.

      Lucky to have “inconclusive” replay on that one, and a terrible throw from Campana.

  • Picklenose

    Holy cow, Bonifacio hustles his way into a run!

  • jp3

    Ha they said that was a risky send of Bonifacio this early… That’s funny, he doesn’t realize how hard runs are to come by for this team

  • Pepitones wig

    This guy should be meat for Olt if he is going to be anybody

  • Picklenose

    Bonifacio is everything we all hoped Campana would be. (and more?)

    • Brocktoon

      If he could run the bases like Campana he could actually resemble an everyday player

  • Pepitones wig

    Hanging curve should have destroyed it

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Eh – that was actually a pretty nice curve. Up at his face, buckled his knees, and it broke over the upper inside corner. Not an easy pitch to handle with that much break.

      • Pepitones wig

        we can agree to disagree. The breaking pitch up should be easy to handle. Granted, that one was at the top of the zone, but I see a lot with this team letting the hangers go by for called strikes only to swing at the good ones in the dirt. The knee buckling is just an indication he didn’t pick up the spin. If he did, he could have hung in there and hammered it, or take one for the team.

    • ssckelley

      He should have slaughtered the pitch before. Olt strikeout is looming large right now not getting that runner at third home.

  • Medicos

    Our Cubbies desperately need a player like Paul Goldschmidt:

    2 1/4 seasons: 64 Hrs—233 RBIs—.294 BA—98 Doubles—.385 OPB—.533 SLG—.933 OPS—10.7 WAR

    Chris Bryant should be in the lineup by June of 2016

    Can’t depend on pitchers, like Travis Wood, driving in runs to win their own games.

    • andyb

      I would be utterly shocked if Kris Bryant wasn’t up by mid season next year.

      • jp3

        I think barring us holding him back for financial reasons I can’t see a possibility that kris Bryant isn’t on the big league team by mid season next year.

  • cubmig

    The Olt moment is here….

  • CubsFaninMS

    At this point in time, sticking Scheirholtz in the number four spot is the equivalent of a Greek army challenging another Greek army to a one-on-one matchup using a one-armed teenager as their selection.

    • KHRSS

      Iv’e been saying it all wee. I don’t get why RR is batting Schierholtz 4th. Especially with how bad he has been at the plate this year.

      • Brocktoon

        What’s the alternative?

        • KHRSS

          Anyone else? Castro and Rizzo are the best hitters right now so I would put them in those spots. If not Lake or even Olt, at least they have HR power.

          • Brocktoon

            Olt or lake are fine vs lefties Nate didn’t all a sudden become Campana with the bat, he’ll be a cromulent hitter vs righties eventually

        • CubsFaninMS

          Your point is valid.

  • cubmig

    ….and passed…Did you blink?

  • waittilthisyear

    man edwin jackson stinks something fierce. at least he…eats 5.2 innings every 5th day?

    • ame1908

      Here’s a new plan for each of EJax’s starts:

      Offer the opposing team a 4-0 lead through 6 innings. I think that might actually give us a better chance of winning.

  • J. L.

    How I hate Edwin Jackson.

  • Rebuilding

    I’m not sure how Bosio keeps his sanity with Jackson. Lead off walk – check – Nibbling to Tony Campana – check – Hit by Pitcher – check – Double play – check.In Jackson’s last 2 “good” starts he’s given up 21 baserunners in 11.2 innings

  • cubmig

    EJ…………………………………….wtf?

  • waittilthisyear

    brett- i remember last year you wrote an article that relayed information from a study that declared edwin jackson had top 10 (i want to say 9th) best stuff in the league. watching this diamondback hitters saunter up to the plate and take healthy hacks at the first pitch batter after batter, im forced to wonder if there is something else going on, like lack of deception in his delivery or tipping pitches

  • CubsFaninMS

    Edwin, unfortunately you have turned into our lemon contract. We can use sabermetrics to say “Edwin has been very unlucky.” But, at what point does it no longer matter? Is Edwin the Martin Short/Pure Luck pitcher in the MLB? It looks as if he is falling off the waterfall. Let’s forget about “talent”, “luck”, and “capabilities”. The results suck, no matter what it is attributed to, in a large sample size. I actually believe he would work well as a middle reliever and, at this point, can BARELY imagine Chris Rusin being any worse.

    • Edwin

      your a lemon contract.

      • CubsFaninMS

        For a marginal improvement on your cut-downs, I’d recommend you contact Pee Wee Herman for advice.

      • Funn Dave

        Ha.

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