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miller parkLast night’s game never really felt like the Cubs were in it, despite the fact that it wasn’t really a blowout. With Travis Wood on the mound today, at least there will be a potent bat at the bottom of the lineup.

Mike Olt is back in the lineup at third base, and, once again, Luis Valbuena slides over to second base against righty Marco Estrada.

Can Wood improve upon his .333/.429/1.000 batting line? I say yes. As in, yes please.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (7-15) at Milwaukee Brewers (17-6), 6:10 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

Travis Wood (2.52 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 2.83 xFIP; 7.00 K/BB)

versus

Marco Estrada (2.66 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 3.99 xFIP; 3.17 K/BB)

Milwaukee Brewers Lineup

1. Carlos Gomez, CF

2. Jean Segura, SS

3. Ryan Braun, RF

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Jonathan Lucroy, C

6. Khris Davis, LF

7. Mark Reynolds, 1B

8. Rickie Weeks, 2B

9. Marco Estrada, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Luis Valbuena, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Mike Olt, 3B

7. Ryan Sweeney, LF

8. Welington Castillo, C

9. Travis Wood, P

  • renegade4196

    I’d honestly bat Wood 5th or 6th. And I wish I was joking.

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

      Travis Wood, outside of an amazing game the last time out, is a terrible, terrible batter.

      • Karl Groucho

        Fun with stats: his career OPS of .546 is only .023 lower than Barney’s 2013 OPS! Though by wRC+ (39 v. 51) he doesn’t fare as well.

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

          Darwin Barney, is a terrible, horrible batter.

          • Karl Groucho

            [img]http://www.thesportsbank.net/core/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/barney.jpg[/img]

  • NorthSideIrish

    Veras to the DL with a extreme case of Marmolitis.

    • Jason P

      Ha. There’s the phantom injury many were calling for. Hopefully it does him some good.

      • baldtaxguy
        • Dustin S

          I liked that one. It may be another 15 days before we need a closer anyway, baboomching…

          With the frequent losing it’s easy to pick on the worst of the bunch and Veras has been one of them, but I think he will turn things around. He’s won’t be a Kimbrel, but he’s pitched way better over the past 4-5 years than he’s shown the past few weeks. Once in a while there’s a guy with Ankiel-itis that just plain loses it all of the sudden, but with him there has to be something either personal or mechanical causing him to be as off as he has been. So hopefully he comes back from the DL pitching more like what we all expected.

  • Medicos

    Bleacher Nation: Put on WGN TV: History of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Order a deiicious Ron Santo pizza and watch all the memories!!!

    HEY!!! HEY!!!—-Jack Brickhouse

    • Darth Ivy

      Good call!

  • nakedman1664

    Not sold on Castro batting cleanup. And that’s even if he goes 4-4, with a single, two doubles, a homerun, and 7 RBI. Though I certainly wouldn’t hate if he did.

  • Darth Ivy

    did anyone else see that ridiculous umpire during the Angels-Mariners game?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWY9S-uKU-4

    • HislersHero

      All umpires should strive to be like Leslie Nielsen. The game is about them and not the players. It is time they learned that.

      And on that note, I think I will watch The Naked Gun tonight instead of the Cubs game.

  • kgd

    The Brewers have fewer losses than we do wins and more wins that we do losses. Maybe its the whiskey but that made me laugh. Win or lose I still wear my Cubs shirt to work when it’s clean.

  • Titan

    At this point I’d rather see Kalish in the line-up than Sweeney. He’s come on a bit as of late and offers a little more speed on the bases than Sweeney. Also, maybe consider moving Olt to the cleanup spot. I know he’s not providing much OBP right now, but his power would be more useful with people on base in front of him.

    • aptssp

      I agree about Kalish. I’m not sure why Sweeny is getting all these starts over Kalish. Kalish has more upside than Sweeny. The best Sweeny will be is a career 4th outfielder albeit a good 4th outfielder, but still. Sweeny out- Kalish in.

      • renegade4196

        I honestly think neither of them belong on the team. Picking between starting Kalish and Sweeney is like choosing a heart attack or a stroke. I would, however, pick Kalish, simply because of his speed.

        • DarthHater

          I’ll take the stroke.

          • JasonP

            I’ll take death by fiery crash in some sort of vehicle powered by jet fuel and nitrous.

    • JasonP

      Ryan Sweeney’s OPS of .772 across 212 PA in 2013 is nearly identical to Kalish’s OPS of .771 across 151 PA in the minors in 2012 (his last healthy stretch) in which he also posted a meager .532 OPS in 103 MLB PA.

      Kalish is younger and may pan out to be better, but it not like Sweeney is horrible or Kalish has done anything to suggest that he’s going to be much more than a fourth OF as well.

      Kalish is also getting about 4 PA for every 5 that Sweeney is getting…. so they’re both getting a decent look.

  • renegade4196

    Time to fire Epstein and Hoyer. They really just called up Brian Schitter? This organization really is the laughing stock of sports.

    • jp3

      So how many pitchers do we have now? 14 or 15???;). Who is going down, Veras DL stint I guess?

  • JasonP

    JD talking about Estrada’s platoon splits being reverse based on 90 or so PA this season, when his career splits across 1700 PA are almost identical against Lefties and Righties.

  • JasonP

    I think Gomez should have just served his suspension against the Cubs.

  • Voice of Reason

    That cub lineup is so bad. The worst ever.

    If you didn’t laugh at it you would start to cry.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Except that there are at least two NL teams that are routinely trotting out even worse lineups (the Pads and the Mets: and, no, ball park effects don’t account for all of the differences).

      What is really ridiculous is that both the M’s and Astros’ are routinely trotting out worse lineups: and they get DH’s!

      None of this is to say that the Cubs aren’t bad: they just aren’t the worst.

  • cubmig

    shot of the Brewer’s dugout showed Segura (was up second) being help out of the dugout as he was covering his nose……..?????? something happened….

  • http://kempfintl.com pfk

    So, the Brewers pitcher is a right so we have the lefty lineup. Only problem that lefties barely hit .150 against him and, are you ready? Righties hit over .300. So clearly RR never looked at the statistics.

    • JasonP

      See my comment above. SSS this year, over his career the splits are pretty even.

      • mjhurdle

        clearly pfk never looked at the (career) statistics ;)

        • JasonP

          Or JD, he keeps harping on this.

          The splits aren’t identical. Holds lefties to a little lower BA, but walks them a lot more. OPS ends up the same, and similar SLG.

    • DarthHater

      If RR was stupid enough to make lineup decisions based on stats from a sample size of only 4 starts at the beginning of a season, then he would deserve to be fired immediately.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        But RR’s employment situation would be fine because that makes him extremely well-qualified for sports-talk radio.

    • DarthHater

      Anyway, even if you like small sample sizes, who should be playing who isn’t? Barney? Are you ready? He’s 0-10 lifetime against Estrada. Valbuena is 1-4 with a HR. Clearly RR looked at the statistics.

  • cubmig

    let’s see if ARam still remembers how to hit into a DP……

  • cubmig

    ………..shit……well at least he made an “expensive” out for his team

  • mjhurdle

    dang, Castro just missed that

  • mjhurdle

    ha, Segura hit with a bat by his own player in the dugout.
    very Cub-like freak occurance, though because they are not the Cubs it will be nothing and he will pinch-hit in the 9th. If it was a Cub that would be a career-ending injury.

  • cubmig

    LOL……..1-2-3 and Olt bows in wonder where his at bat went.

  • JasonP

    Hot Corner.

  • JasonP

    Nice play by Welly, now if he could just throw out a runner or two.

  • cubmig

    …….didn’t we play this game yesterday?

  • cubmig

    The sorry-ass thing here is that Wood cannot afford to be even a little worst than his last outing cuz those guys behind him ain’t comin’ through with runs for him……………sad……..

  • KHRSS

    Baez 1-7 with 2K’s
    Bryan just homered. 2-3 with a single and HR (no K’s so far)

    Alcantara 5-7 with a triple, Vitters 0-6 4K’s yikes…

    • KHRSS

      *Bryant

  • cubmig

    Anyone noticing how behind the WGN telecast is from Gameday? —-incredibly slow by a batter.

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    Bryant is unbelievable. He may be the best all around hitter in the minors.

    • jp3

      We can’t keep him in AA too much longer. He needs to be in AAA learning because nobody should be dictating when he gets promoted in front of him short of if Baez played the same position.

      • cubbiekoolaid2015

        I think 10 more games and if he doesn’t slow down you call him up to Iowa.

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

          Give him until the end of may.

          No player has ever been negatively impacted by taking it slow.

    • David

      Best all around hitter on a few MLB teams?

  • jp3

    Anyone know why Almora hasn’t played the last couple games???? What now with him? He’s had some terrible luck

    • cubbiekoolaid2015

      I think he has been with his dad the last few days which has been the cause of his absence. He posted a pic on twitter of him as his dad in the hospital. Apparently his dad beat cancer.

      • jp3

        Ah, that sucks, hope he’s doing well

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Hmm, if someone is in the hospital for cancer treatment, then they are years away from saying that the “beat” it. (Of course, as one morbidly amusing cancer survivor I know put it, she’ll officially “beat” cancer when/if she dies of something else….)

        • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

          Hmm, maybe they see things a bit more differently and with an actual insight into the disease than basing it on such morbid statistical calls to what constitutes beating it. They have enough to remind them of the finiteness of life. Stick to baseball, “Doc”.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Well, my wife does everything based on statistics, much like I do. When you have to spend the rest of your life getting a full workout once a year, that sort of gallows humor can be invaluable.

            • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

              The humorous part was not problematic – as that was relating another’s opinion from actual experience; as they were so inclined to feel justly in their own situation.

              The first sentence, however, was not so delicate – it seemed to point to, or draw towards some ‘unique’ conclusion as to what someone is to think about statistically; or trying too hard to find erroneous labeling of their condition, as “beaten” or otherwise.

              To “them” they have it beat – their opinion. Their choice. You seem to believe your thought was really was the “bright and right” point to make. I don’t believe it is, nor is it your place to correct them. (It just didn’t need to be said, doc. You could have said everything you needed with the 2nd statement. Notice the parenthetical.)

              I too consider options with statistics, if you read the link below to the piece on my mom, you’ll see I had to make those hard choices for my mom – as her dementia and brain cancer reduced her ability to make those choices. She was considered terminal before her emergency brain surgery. Thus, quality of life versus quantity of life had to be considered. And it was.

              At one point, while at Loyola University in Chicago, during a checkup on things, she asked. “Am I going to die?” out loud to the Doctor. He didn’t respond. He, with his multiple degrees, one indeed from Harvard Medical School, didn’t answer that question. Didn’t offer a “hmm” or label it. Nor give a statistical probability to a suffering person.

              So, why should you offer statistics or make such statements? Are you so right, so often, no one else is able to have an opinion?

              NOT everyone sees things they way you, or your wife does. They just don’t. And they are not wrong for that. They just value things differently. In fact, most of the world likely values things differently – some are very long-term oriented, very structured, others fit in all sorts of characters, that are not on a statistical basis. Maybe too, they joke at times, and I’ll concede that can be just your “Instant” case, but don’t extrapolate and demean what others term for their instances, as beating cancer. It’s their right to see how they see it.

              Beating cancer can be just living one more day – to say whatever it is that needs to be said. Or a month. Or a year.

              My mother “beat” it for nearly 7 years. She died at 59 – never smoked or drank or did anything aside from work hard for 40 plus years. Was she statistically seen as highly probable, or certain, to die based off that profile? Please give me your God Damn pareto distribution, your poisson distribution, chi-squared, normal, f-distribution, or binomial spread, to name just a sampling of ways to put cancer people under a curve, or in a box, to use “gallows” humor – like you.

              Please run your regressions or transformations of data to point to the significant p-values. Tell me the truth, “doc”. Give me the 44% likelihood I’ll reach a 5-year window. 10% I’ll reach 8 years. Or 1% its 15 years. Please enlighten ALL of us to the finite calculations you ran – the decision tree model you plugged in to find the greatest value and purpose of life based on a projected usage of this finite time we have.

              My mom and both her parents lost their battles to cancer at 59, 60, and 64. http://hosting-24975.tributes.com/condolences/view_memories/91817392#2851476

              So, they did not “beat” cancer. But they lived, and laughed, just as much as they could while they could. But they probably wouldn’t be smart enough for you to talk to – statistically speaking – being we all know how logical and statistically accurate you are.

              None of them had a college degree. Grandparents didn’t graduate high school. Grandpa served in the Pacific in WWII – and landed an LCVP at Okinawa. He statistically beat the odds – or rather – he was lucky, as his brother died in a drowning accident on the day he was to transfer aboard an LST bound for Guadalcanal. He instead, took leave to bury his brother born on the 4th of July, Harold Clark. That particular LST was torpedoed; all hands dead as they went down with the ship.

              If he’d been cold-hearted, single-minded brother, and stayed in training, he would have died, most probably. And my mom then doesn’t exist, and I don’t get to respond to you, Doc. My grandfather, William L. Clark, Jr. died the 4th of July, 1986.

              The statistical odds of him dying on the same day his brother was born after Harold’s death saved his life so he could produce a Marine Corps vet and a lone grandson is probably not particularly relevant enough for even you, oh mighty stat man, to respond in a thoughtful manner.

              Something tells me that’s just not in the cards….

              And so, my loss is real too. So I am glad your wife gets her treatments and has statistically weighed out her course.

              Good “luck” to her.

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

                This is quite the “poor me” post.

                • Brocktoon

                  How do you figure?

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

                    It was a whole lot of “here is bad shit that is happening in my world.”

                    Bad shit happens in everyone’s world.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Yeah he didn’t say otherwise. He’s telling doc to stop being such a reflexive pedantic robot

                    • mjhurdle

                      what right does Jason have to tell anyone how to live or view the world? Is it because he is the only person in the world that bad stuff has happened to apparently?

                    • Brocktoon

                      Is doc not doing the same thing by saying well technically he didn’t beat cancer?

                    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                      No hansman, doc brought in his wife to justify (his thinking) and to buttress the ability to make said rude comment. MJHurdle: I have my rights to call him out for thinking he’s able to offhand dismiss what another suffering person feels about their disease.

                      I NEVER said his wife didn’t have her right to say what she said. – I pointedly made that clear at the outset: “The humorous part was not problematic – as that was relating another’s opinion from actual experience; as they were so inclined to feel justly in their own situation.”

                      And hell no, bad things don’t just happen to me. They happen to all of us. Thanks for misinterpretation and misrepresentation, MJHURDLE. As I explained to doc, not everyone views the world as he does either.

                      So, I brought my own experiences with the disease right back at him – if he can relate about how his wife handles it, to support his case, why can’t I invoke my relatives plights, and results? Am I not worthy of that ability? Or are you BOTH just supporting Doc because you like him better, showing your inherent bias?

                      And thanks Brocktoon. I appreciate the defense.

              • mjhurdle

                So your response to unfortunate events happening in your life is to react to Doc in the same exact way you are mad at Doc for reacting to you (though for the record i think you simply created half of what you are offended by, because i definitely did not get what you apparently did out of his posts)?

                • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                  Exactly! As a victim of MS I get to say whatever I want to to however I want to and so does my wife who will care for if things get worse. Those that have contact with a disease should and do deal with it however they want. I have people be offended by the name TeamFUMS everyday… Well I’m offended by MS one should never trivialize a persons response to a disease. So FU MS!

                  • Pat

                    Maybe it’s because almost nothing offends me, but I love the FUMS team name. Can you repost the link, I’d like to donate.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      teamfums.org and thank you

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

            http://xkcd.com/931/

            There’s two options for everyone. Dying from cancer and dying from something else.

            My family history means I am either going to battle heart disease or cancer. Pleas God give me a heart attack.

            • Pat

              I hope to go in a bizarre gardening accident.

              • Head and Heart

                It will really one of those things the authorities say, ‘Well, best leave it unsolved.’

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              Well my friend hamburgers will make the choice for you.

            • Professional High A

              Love xkcd, I go over the “what if..” article every Friday with my class, it’s easily their favorite part of the class. Whenever we cover circuits I always give the ridiculously silly circuit diagram as an extra credit problem

  • cubmig

    Question: Why isn’t Ricketts in the stands to watch the “talented” team his bankroll has put together?

    • jp3

      Because he knows when to spend a dollar on a good investment and going to a cubs game as it sits is not a good bargain.

      • cubmig

        LOL—-jp3. that explains it. Question: Would you happen to know if he knows how he’ll use that dollar saved? Maybe if he owned a team he’d…….

    • DarthHater

      If you had a billion dollars, would you spend your weekend in Milwaukee?

      • jp3

        Hell yeah, I’d Over dose on cheese and beer💰💰💰🍻🍻🍕

        • DarthHater

          Let me rephrase the question: If you had a billion dollars and weren’t a lunatic, would you spend your weekend in Milwaukee? ;-)

          • jp3

            If loving cheese and beer as much as I do makes me crazy then I don’t want to be sane😜

            • jp3

              Plus if I was a billionaire I’d go to the brewers game because I’d order a punch in the jewels hit to the mascot after he jumps off the slide on a Hebrewer (Braun(saying courtesy of Dan Le Batard)) home run:)

      • Pat

        Tom Ricketts is not a billionaire. His dad might be if he could sell all his stock without it dropping significantly. It often doesn’t work that way though.

  • cubmig

    Lucroy will pop up—no problema

  • cubmig

    ground out is just as good Lucroy

  • Medicos

    We all know how Hoystein is using PLAN A to attempt to build the Cubs into a competitive, contending team. Back in 2007, the Brewers roster included many players from their own minor league system and all it produced were 2 NLCS losses:

    Ben Sheets
    Manny Parra
    Corey Hart
    Ritchie Cunningham
    Ryan Braun
    Rick Weeks
    Arthur Fonzarelli
    Shirley Feeney
    Yovani Gallardo
    Alcides Escobar
    JJ Hardy
    Laverne Defazio
    Bill Hall
    Prince Fielder

    Most of us diehard Cub fans are wondering just how effective PLAN A is gonna be?????

    • DarthHater

      In all fairness, they never gave Laverne Defazio much of a shot.

      Also, you left out Squiggy Squiggman.

    • David

      Part of the plan is that the cubs will have a few more $$$ to spend on free agents… in addition to the home grown dudes. We’ll see how that turns out.

      • Medicos

        David–I think the approach taken by the Rays and Rangers is the best way to build a present day WS contender. The Dodger franchise, even with its broadcasting rights $$$$, may be extremely sorry the FO made that monumental deal with Red Sox and then began signing high priced free agents

    • DarthHater

      Some teams that have focussed entirely on the ML roster have also not done well. Same for some teams that have tried a balanced, dual-front approach. So I guess those are bad strategies, too, right? :-P

    • Jim

      That team needed The Big Ragoo!

      • Medicos

        JIM: What about Potsy and Ralph Malph on the bench?????

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