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miller parkThe Cubs will try to stave off the sweep today, and Jason Hammel will try to continue his great start to the year.

Hammel will get a gift in the form of the Brewers playing today without both Ryan Braun (intercoastal strain) and Jean Segura (Ryan Brain bat to the face strain). There’s still some offense in that lineup, though.

On the Cubs’ offensive side, it’s another new lineup, with Ryan Kalish getting a shot at leading off, following by Junior Lake (who is playing center field). Perhaps today is the day John Baker gets his first hit on the year.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (7-16) at Milwaukee Brewers (18-6), 1:10 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

Jason Hammel (2.60 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 3.66 xFIP; 4.00 K/BB)

versus

Wily Peralta (2.19 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 3.47 xFIP; 3.17 K/BB)

Milwaukee Brewers Lineup

1. Carlos Gomez, CF

2. Scooter Gennett, 2B

3. Jonathan Lucroy, C

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Khris Davis, LF

6. Lyle Overbay, 1B

7. Jeff Bianchi, SS

8. Elian Herrera, RF

9. Wily Peralta, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Ryan Kalish, LF

2. Junior Lake, CF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Mike Olt, 3B

7. John Baker, C

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jason Hammel, P

  • mjhurdle

    Lake’s swing just doesn’t look good right now

    • JasonP

      I remember reading a scouting report last year where the guy basically said that Lake is really inconsistent with his timing and step at the plate so when he’s synced up he crushes the ball but he’s going to be prone to having wicked slumps too.

  • cubmig

    yep………..Junior and the ball are not cooperating…….OUCH!!!!!

  • ssckelley

    Cubs runners need to start hitting the front part of the bag when running down the line. Heck we teach that in little league.

  • Jason P

    I’ve got to give Theo credit. He’s become pretty darn good at snatching up cheap veteran starters who produce. Unfortunately, quality hitters aren’t so easy to come by without spending money or producing them internally.

    I’m glad the Cubs farm system is heavy on hitting and medium-light on pitching rather than the other way around.

    • ssckelley

      I think we are going to be pleasantly surprised with the amount of quality arms the Cubs have in the minors by the end of the year.

      • JasonP

        Starlin is crushing. A lot of hard hit outs too.

        • JasonP

          Oops was supposed to be a reply about the pitching.

          I want to see Pinyero and Leal pan out. Just the idea of getting meaningful return for Hairston and Campana is ridiculous.

          • Brocktoon

            Shades of Kevin Hart ever producing anything when we traded Freddie Bynum for him.

  • KHRSS

    CASTROOOOO!!!

  • willis

    Wow, Castro again. The kid is having himself quite the day.

    • Jason P

      So nice to see. He was slipping a little bit before this series.

      • willis

        And he’s been squaring about everything up this series. Very good to see.

  • FortyFour

    I guess having Castro hit in the 4 hole is the right spot for him in the lineup.

  • JasonP

    With the way the bullpen has been going, I’m a little disappointed that RR pulled Hammel there.

  • Darth Ivy

    Really disappointing that the no-no was broken up. I was starting to.get excited about. Obviously, the last Cubs no hitter was in miller

    And castro castro castro. Yesssss

    • JasonP

      The trajectory of Big Z’s career after that no-no kind of tempered my excitement about seeing a Cubs pitcher do it again.

      • Darth Ivy

        Interesting point of view. Maybe that risk wouldn’t apply to a flip candidate

  • cubmig

    Strop induces…….Rizzo – Castro produces. Nice timely DP.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Strop in the 9th?

  • willis

    Good question. Normally I’d say no because he pitched last night and today. But, he threw what, 4 pitches that inning? I bet they PH for him anyway.

    • http://BN Sacko

      Hard to say, I think Happy was thinking Rondon all the way. But if Strop wasn’t up, I don’t know with the way it’s been going with closing, do we stay with the hot hand in the 8th with a low pith count?

  • Medicos

    White Sox !B–JOSE ABREU—9HRs—–27RBIs

    Not sure but I think those might be records for a rookie in month of April!
    This Cuban can hit. Hope Hoystein has a scout checking the talent in Cuba.

    • Jon

      10 HRs

    • ssckelley

      Cubs had no place to put him!!!! Did not want!

      • blublud

        Like Handyman said, you could have played him at SS for all I care, his bat is valuable. He or Rizzo could have handled left field, and the offense would be much better.

        • ssckelley

          Did you not notice my sarcasm font?

          I’ve been pretty vocal about the Cubs going after Abreu.

      • Jon

        With a bat like that they could have shoved him up my ass

        • ssckelley

          You like things shoved up your ass?

          • blublud

            Hey, equality. He has that right!!!!!

    • mjhurdle

      To be fair, I don’t think anyone thought that he would be this good.
      No NL team was in the final bidding for him. I don’t think the Cubs said “hmm, he will be a 30HR, 300 BA a year guy, but we don’t want to move Rizzo, so we are out.” It seems that either a LOT of scouts were wrong, or the league hasn’t adjusted yet.
      I am very interested to see how he performs the rest of the season. the key to being an elite hitter are the adjustments. Will he be able to adjust after the league changes their approach to him? if he can he has a chance to be really really special.

      • blublud

        He’s not hitting .300, only has a .320 OBP and yet still has a .930 OPS. And a .390 wOBA. All this with a .242 BABIP. A little more luck, and we might be looking at a poor man’s Miguel Cabrera.

  • willis

    Barney now hitting .108.

  • BlameHendry

    I wanna see Strop bat for the S&G. Couldn’t possibly be any worse than Baker and Barney *barfs*

    Wonder who gets to pitch the 9th today though?

    AND – fuck yes castro. fuck yes. So happy to have a threatening shortstop again!

  • nobrains

    the hyenas have been in full throttle since the season began, and some of us are no longer allowed to post under our old names, but i have to say that things are even worse than many of us predicted.

    only a certain stratification of cubs fans would disagree with every major news source, every other cubs fan, player, and statistic about what’s happening here. this board was nearly completely cleansed of player-centric posters, in favor of rabid administration-followers. honestly i mostly understand. good business is good business. but this season is making me crazy, and all build-up was leading up to this obvious result all along.

    ok i’ll go back to my hole now.

    • ssckelley

      “ok i’ll go back to my hole now.”

      Best part

    • BlameHendry

      Yes the season is utter dog shit, worse than even the low projects many people predicted. But anyone still paying any attention to the Cubs doesn’t give a damn about the record or the team’s collective performance. Most of us are just watching for individual player performances, like Castro, Rizzo, Olt, Shark, Strop, Grimm, Lake, and any other youngsters that have big potential. At least that’s all I care about.

  • cubmig

    The R56-Man shuts the door to win it for his teammate Hammel. That’s what it’s all about. .

  • ssckelley

    There is your closer.

  • Seabee

    How about the relievers. No runs given up all series.

  • ThatCubsGuy

    Hopefully Rondon takes this and runs away with it. Dominatiing

  • BlameHendry

    Wow. Rondon slamming the door by striking out the side. I’m still not 100% sold on him but watching him fire it up there at 98mph is fun to watch.

    • blublud

      Rondon is the truth.

      • jp3

        I like we’re all having the knee jerk reaction that Rodon is end all be all now *ducks*

  • http://BN Sacko

    No guess work for who get’s the next opportunity to close. HOLY!!!
    RONDON! KKK

  • willis

    I don’t remember Rondon consistently throwing this hard last year, and he was knocked around quite a bit. But since about Augustish of last year and into this year, he’s hitting high on the gun and locating his pitches very well. The job is there for the taking young man, grab it.

  • mjhurdle

    great job by Rondon

  • Darth Ivy

    I can’t wait until veras comes back

    Hahahahaha, oh man, I should do stand up

  • Medicos

    Wish I could cease looking at the CUB’s W-L record ( 8-16) as wthey continue to lose 2 out of every 3 games. Got to begin concentrating more on the individual improvement of the younger players on the roster.

    • JasonP

      There’s always their pythagorean record (11-13).

      The 2003 team had a stretch where they went 6-14. So it’s not impossible that a team that wins around 30% of their games over a stretch of 20-25 is not actually a decent team.

      And now I’ve exhausted my reserves of optimism for the next week.

  • baldtaxguy

    Let’s get that Castro trade going that everyone wanted in the offseason….now that he’s hitting.

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