miller parkFresh off two frustrating (ok, one frustrating, and one soul-crushing) losses to the Diamondbacks, the Cubs head up to Miller Park to face the heretofore best team in baseball.

And it’s an old friend! Matt Garza takes the mound for the Brewers tonight, which means, among other things, the Cubs should be working on their bunting skills. With apologies to Garza if it’s considered a jerk move, but, if I’m Ricky Renteria, I command Emilio Bonifacio, leading off the game, to try and bunt the ball right back to Garza.

Just see what happens. Maybe this happens:

Was that entire setup mostly just so that I had an excuse to post that GIF again? You bet. Incidentally, that came against the Brewers.

The lineup undergoes some additional changes tonight. Mike Olt is back on the bench, and Luis Valbuena is back at third. Starlin Castro climbs to the cleanup spot, with Nate Schierholtz batting fifth. I don’t really think their placement really much matters in this lineup, at least in the 4/5/6 range, so whatever. Fine by me. Breaks up the lefties a little bit, too.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (7-14) at Milwaukee Brewers (16-6), 7:10 CT on CSN+2.

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

Carlos Villanueva (10.93 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 3.81 xFIP; 13.00 K/BB)


Matt Garza (4.50 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 3.72 xFIP; 2.71 K/BB)

Milwaukee Brewers Lineup

1. Carlos Gomez, CF

2. Scooter Gennett, 2B

3. Ryan Braun, RF

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Jonathan Lucroy, C

6. Khris Davis, LF

7. Lyle Overbay, 1B

8. Jean Segura, SS

9. Matt Garza, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Junior Lake, LF

7. Ryan Sweeney, CF

8. Welington Castillo, C

9. Carlos Villanueva, P

  • http://BN Sacko

    We are not the Pirates and Zambrano is gone..that analogy did nothing for me.

    • Jason P

      That was my point. We aren’t the 1993-2013 Pirates. And that’s a good thing.

      • Medicos

        JASON—We knows what the future holds. The Cubs must wind up being worse than the Pittsburgh teams of the past.

        • DarthHater

          I hope you meant “might wind up” and not “must wind up.” 😀

          • Medicos

            Yes Darth: I meant to say “might wind up”

          • Brocktoon

            No we must. It’s the only way to rebuild is by being terrible forever

    • DarthHater

      It wasn’t an analogy, it was completely conclusive factual proof that saying that the Cubs have been badder for a longer period than other teams is a f-ing moronic statement.

      • http://BN Sacko

        Pirates have won a WS..Moronic?

        • DarthHater

          The discussion was not about time since winning a WS. It was about how long a team is uninterruptedly bad. The Cubs have had many, many good teams since 1908 and, while they have also had extended periods of badness, those periods–including the present period–are not longer and badder than the long/bad streaks of plenty of other teams.

          So, to answer your question, yes, moronic.

          • http://BN Sacko


          • Pat

            No, the statement was about being bad for a long period of time and not really seeming to care (it’s acceptable because we meant to suck). You can’t just skip part of sentence and pretend you’re refuting an argument.

            • http://BN Sacko

              The reference was the Pirates which are a small market team that took 20 years to have a winning team. I disagreed with that analogy. Zambrano was on a winning team. So I disagreed with that also.

              • http://BN Sacko

                I didn’t make this personal by disagreeing you make it personal by telling me what I can’t do.

              • Jason P

                It doesn’t matter what size market they are. You’re completely missing what I’m saying. I’m not arguing that the Cubs current ML situation is good, nor am I arguing they should be given the same leniancy in terms of the timeline of the rebuild as the small market Pirates.

                All I’m saying is that there have been teams worse than us for longer than us. Were bad, but not the worst. That’s all.

                • http://BN Sacko


                • Brocktoon

                  And you’re arguing a point that nobody was making

  • Jon

    White Sox just rallied in the 9th for a win over the Rays. I wish we could have a team that was somewhat exciting

    • Jon

      Walk off grand slam by Abrue. With a bat like that defense be damned , I would have stuck him in LF

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Look at the difference. Abreau with a walk off grand slam, 2nd of the night. Sox went out, spent money, made some moves, got some legit players.
    Meanwhile, the Cubs have Starlin batting cleanup tonight. In April.
    I am at the point I wish Ricketts would take their creditors advice and sell the team. The financial situation is destroying this franchise.

    • Jon

      Cubs had the $$$$ to sign Abrue. The Messeih passed

      • gocatsgo2003

        And put him where exactly? As I believe you’ve pointed out before, Rizzo is one of the few bright spots on the roster thusfar.

        • ssckelley

          Put him at shortstop for all I care.

          • Jon


        • DarthHater

          Put Abreu at 1B. Let Rizzo sell meatballs in the concourse.

          • hansman

            It’s illegal to buy/sell humans.

            There must have been some pretty serious concerns about Abreu’s defense if he drew no NL interest. Then again, with a .900 OPS, I wouldn’t have cared.

    • ssckelley

      Abreu would have been nice, the Cubs did not even try to sign him. They were committed to Rizzo they said, to hell with that, they could have found a place to play both.

  • Medicos

    I haven’t watched many White Sox games down through the years, but this year’s Sox team, filled with young players, is much more fun to watch than our Cubs . The 12-12 Sox just don’t quit and continue playing exciting ball games.

    • Jon

      In the meantime we are told the only way to build a team is to tank for 5 years and pray the prospects work out

      • gocatsgo2003

        No. We’ve been told that the front office believes that is the most likely way to build SUSTAINED success.

        • Jon

          And just like the Peoples Temple , plenty keep drinking that Kool Aid. Trust us , we’ll be decent in 3 years …we promise !!!!

          • KHRSS

            The way to sustained success is to tank for 5 years?
            Plenty of teams have been good for a number of years and are still able to have a good farm system. And plenty of teams have sucked had high draft picks and continued to suck.
            No one is asking for a WS team or even a playoff team, but at least attempt to improve the team.
            It would be nice to see some improvement from last year, at some point you have to change the losing culture the cubs currently have.
            The biggest FA signing has been Jackson. They can’t even fix the bullpen which is one of the “easier” parts of the team to fix and shouldn’t cost that much.
            The timeline to be good keeps getting pushed further, what is it now, 2017-18?
            It will take at least a couple of years for the young players to establish themselves and that’s assuming they even make an impact.

            • P.Fronts

              Saw on another site someone say that the Cubs plan is to be three years away in perpetuity. When they took over the target date was 2015. Now 2017. Next season, 2018…
              What’s three years, when you’ve waited this long? God, I hate when pull that one out.

        • renegade4196

          Yeah the FO is on a short leash. There’s no reason they shouldn’t have signed Abreu. Our MLB club is a joke and is the laughing stock of sports. Relying on prospects to be saviors doesn’t work.

        • Kyle

          You can’t call it “sustained success” when there’s no actual success. Cramming in a bunch of losing years at the beginning disqualifies it from being sustained success.

          This team in the majors isn’t any closer than we were two years ago. We’ve got Rizzo, Wood and Samardzija as reliably above-average players, and that is absolutely it.

          The first wave of prospects will help, but even they aren’t likely enough given the depth of the hole we’ve put ourselves in. This team is still probably at least two years away.

          • Spriggs

            At least 2 years away… Unless they change course now

      • http://BN Sacko

        Not to sure about Abreu Jon but I sure do like the Peoples Temple. + and a *

  • Mike F

    The Pirates are a piss ant organization, a piss ant team in a piss ant market. Why are we comparing ourselves to piss ants. And we don’t get competitive sandwich picks….

    Maybe if Bud wants to help he can give us a special handicap pick at the top of each round and call it a piss ant pick.

    I will say this in all seriousness, there is no fit in Theo’s past to tie this to.I have to believe he is as unhappy and being the good soldier, but as Boras points out consistently, this is on the owner, he’s the one along with CK doing this……

    And I want to give Theo one more point, He has been consistent all along minor league development is not linear. Today, although that can change, that who not linear thing is kind of scary. The Cub top prospects aren’t setting things on fire with the exception of Bryant and even he has some holes.

    • Jon

      The Cubs payroll sits 2 million behind the White Sox, Theo had the cash resources to sign Abrue.

      • Ron Swansons Mustache

        To play what position? Don’t say OF as that’s idiotic.

        • Don Eaddy

          1st base? We could use one of those

          • Drew7

            No, they’ve got that covered.

    • Jason P

      People are taking this Pirates comparison ridiculously out of context. I’m just going to copy and paste what I posted above.

      I’m not arguing that the Cubs current ML situation is good, nor am I arguing they should be given the same leniancy in terms of the timeline of the rebuild as the small market Pirates.

      All I’m saying is that there have been teams worse than us for longer than us. Were bad, but not the worst. That’s all.

  • Don Eaddy

    Imagine if we didnt have to go get one of “Theo’s guys” and we kept Cashner. We coulda signed Abreu. Such a shame.

    I could get excited to watch Cashner, Samardzija, Wood, etc.

    Abreu at 1st, Bonifacio at 2nd, Baez at SS in a few months, and Aramis resigned to play 3rd.

    All I know is that I’m sick of watching Rizzo and Castro combine to go 1-8 with 3 K’s. Reminds me of 2013. I thought they had it turned around. I fell for it.

    #TradeCastroForPeanuts #TradeRizzoForMeatballs

    Oh wait…..we cant because we signed them to long term deals. Such a joke. Being a Cubs fan is a 8 month kick to the groin.

    Dont forget about our “top prospect” either. 1 for 5 tonight with 1 K and I was actually encouraged by that. Aint that sad? lol

    ///Sorry just needed to vent. I know we Theo knows what hes doing. It takes time. Etc. Its just frustrating to watch at times. The ML level is a joke though.

    • Jon

      Te FO and a good portion of this media wants “obedient” fans. How dare you criticize anything they do.? They are not to be questioned. This is the only way to go about this.

      • Don Eaddy

        I hate to be so negative about the Cubs because I really want to see Theo and Co. succeed, but so far it looks like were gonna suck for a while.

        Even if every prospect pans out (which wont happen) what do we have?

        Baez is gonna strikeout 30% of the time
        So is Bryant and Olt/Lake already are.
        Rizzo is still inconsistent. Castro is a joke.
        Almora cant even draw a walk.

        Geez….I really dont think we have a single guy who can be trusted to get on base consistently. Rizzo has walked more lately, but who knows how long that will hold up…

        And we cant sign anyone in Free agency because “we arent ready to compete” hahaha

        this organization is a joke. We might be a wild card team by 2017. Not exactly what I was hoping for in 2011

        • Drew7

          1) Baez has always had SO issues – not like that’s a new issue. We also know he has historically adjusted after a while (i.e. more than 50 PA’s). After what he did to AA pitching last year after an equally-bad start, I can’t believe he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.

          2) There’s no good reason to think Bryant will carry a SO rate of 30%.

          3) Lake and Olt are bad at baseball. This is also something we’ve known for a while.

          4) Almora has raked at every level while carrying a well below-average K-rate. Hard to take issue with a guy making solid contact and producing good results at his age.

          5) Rizzo has *always* walked quite a bit. I’m sure whatever % increase he’s seen so far is well within the expected range, given the tiny sample.

          • Don Eaddy

            1) I do think Baez has the best chance out of any of those guys because of the bat speed. I think he peaks as a .260 average, .310 on base guy who hits 40 bombs a season. Thats great, but he will also strikeout 30% of the time. Overall, Ill take it, but Id rather he make a little more contact.

            2) Bryant was the 2nd pick in the draft, so I would hope he can play a little bit. I think he will be good too. But him and Baez arent gonna take a team to “sustained success” alone. There isnt much to be excited about after them.

            3) Yeah, they both suck. Neither is a long term starter.

            4) Almora doesnt get on base as much as a leadoff hitter should. He doesnt steal bases. he doesnt hit for a high average. He doesnt have power. What does he do? He fields?

            5) He is walking more right now than he has in the past. He doesnt have enough power to account for the contact issues. He will probably be good for a .350 on base and 25 homers. He doesnt do much else.

            • Drew7

              1) OK…

              2) Damn goalposts. They’re always moving around.

              3) Right. Nor were they expected to be.

              4) Nobody said anything about Almora being a leadoff hitter, and I don’t give a hot damn if he can’t steal bases. Yes, he fields and yes, he’ll likely hit for a high average.

              5A) I acknowledged the higher walk rate. Take 1or 2 of those away and I’d imagine he’d be right in line with his career norm.

              5B) Rizzo doesn’t have contact issues.

              • Don Eaddy

                what do you consider to be a high average? .290? cause thats where i see almora ending up. right around .280-.290, 10, maybe 15 homers…

                and with rizzo, whatever his walk rate is, he still isnt a very impressive player.

                basically,if everything goes to plan we will have a good 2B/3B in Baez, a good 3B/OF in Bryant. What else? Rizzo and Almora? Maybe Soler gets his act together…thats not a competitive team

              • Don Eaddy

                forget it, im just pissed with the way we our playing right now and im not too impressed with our approach going forward to fix it

                i dont mean to be negative, its just hard to find positives.

      • Drew7

        I’m sure that sunny disposition of yours is a hit with the ladies.

        • Don Eaddy

          I guess I cant be realistic about the situation..

    • Drew7

      1) this isn’t Twitter, so the hashtags, well…never mind.

      2) How could you possibly want to see the 2 most talented position players traded for nothing, and Bonafacio(!) starting at 2B?

      • Don Eaddy

        You think Castro and Rizzo are talented?

        I guess thats a nice thought…

        and who besides Bonifacio? Alcantara? Gimme a break

        • Drew7

          I wasn’t addressing your disposition.

        • hansman

          “You think Castro and Rizzo are talented?”

          God forbid Rizzo have a bad night.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Hey I feel sorry for Castro and Rizzo to wake up everyday and wonder about a Possible win. They are young and learning how to lose as that’s what happens most of the time. Where are these Veterans to protect these kids. They are thrown to the dogs on a daily basis. Think that had something to do with Castro’s error the other night.. damn right cause they don’t know how to win.

    • spearman

      good point. the mental aspect gets lost in all this stat stuff.

      • http://BN Sacko

        The other thing I don’t understand about the plan is why are they around with Shark and try to retain him and make a move on Wood? Maybe they aren’t 1 2 pitchers on a good team but they are our best pitchers going 1 2. So we don’t retain our best players….who the f… is gonna sign with this HS. Tanaka? What a joke.

        • http://BN Sacko


          • Spriggs

            Ruggiano is the answer. Sweet dreams.

    • Drew7

      “damn right cause they don’t know how to win.”

      You can’t honestly believe that, can you? What, Castro got too close to winning and got some weird tingling or something?

      I can see it now: Cubs sign a proven winner to play 2B next year, and when that exact situation is about to occur again, that player looks at Castro and says, “FYI: if you field this, we will win.” And BOOM – winner.