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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

  • JasonP

    Valbuena clearly not getting the start for failing to bat flip his HR last night

  • willis

    There may not be as much pop as normal in the Brewers lineup, but look at the cubs’ lineup. Kalish leading off with Baker and Barney also in there. Ouch. That is the definition of crap.

    • Diehardthefirst

      Mgr Rick needs to get thrown out of game in first inning to spark team?

  • Diehardthefirst

    Theo must still be on safari? Castro cleanup again

    • KHRSS

      Sadly, it’s an upgrade from who he had batting 4th before him, it was Schierholtz.

    • JasonP

      I mean, he is now like 20 feet away from having 3 HR in 1.2 games as the #4 hitter

  • Diehardthefirst

    Well why is Rizzo sacred at 3 ? Flip em at least

  • JasonP

    I hate that WGN is showing platoon splits for players at this point of the season — So misleading.

  • cubmig

    What?!!!!!! A lead-off man change???? Holy shit! The FO has sent word to RR that they ‘re determined to shake things up!!! YIIIIIIPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

  • willis

    Dizzam, Castro to dead center for a bomb. Great looking swing.

  • mjhurdle

    Castro really looking good this series. Finally gets one over the wall after two really close ones yesterday.

    • KHRSS

      Yeah. Even though his average has gone down he has hit the ball well and looks much better than he did last year and at the start of this season. I also like that he is attacking good pitches to hit early in the count.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Batting Barney 8 puts him further behind 8 ball– won’t see any good pitches- would put Castro there who hits bad pitches and Barney lead off to see better pitches

    • JasonP

      Having Barney almost guaranteed to get 1 more PA than Castro is not a good idea

  • ssckelley

    I wish Olt had taken a hack at that 3-0 fastball.

  • willis

    Two on, no out for…Baker. And then Barney. Hooray?

    • JasonP

      Seems to illustrate how adding just one or two quality could really make the lineup a lot better.

  • ThePope

    Just got a good laugh from the TV audio. You could here a Brewers fan: “Hey Jon, me and you are hitting the same!” – to Baker before his at bat.

  • willis

    The cubs really have to make Peralta pay here.

  • JasonP

    Incredibly bad decision by Aramis there.

    • ssckelley

      I can’t figure out why the runners did not advance on that play.

      • willis

        Exactly. It’s not like that was a bobble or a block, that ball raced way away from the catcher. Have to move up there to stay out of the DP.

  • cubmig

    What’s the line on how long the 2 run lead will last? No. No pessimism, just a reality check.

  • willis

    Dammit that was pathetic for that situation. I guess I should be happy with one run, but really it should have been more. Oh well, 2-0, let’s see if Hammel can hold it.

  • Rebuilding

    Man, I really like Hammel. Throwing 94 with late movement. Really interested to see what we can get for him

    • willis

      I was about to say, don’t go falling in love with him too much. But I agree, to this point this year, he’s looked very strong on the hill.

      • Rebuilding

        Yeah, his BABIP is low. But I’m just far more impressed with his stuff than I thought I would be

      • David

        Think we could trade him, then sign him in 2015? 3 years/ $28M??

    • Karl Groucho

      In general I’m impressed with the FO’s bargain-bin SP shopping. Obviously they’ve had a lot of tries at it, but Maholm, Hammel, Feldman — all solid gets. The Jackson situation shades that a little, but it’s good to know that they’ve in general got a good eye for bounce-back SPs; should serve us well when we need to plug a hole in a competitive rotation some offseason in the future.

      • Rebuilding

        It’s the one area they’ve been excellent in. I wish they were having the same luck with the bullpen

      • willis

        But I don’t compare Jackson with the rest. He was a long term, big (for this org) money signing. It’s funny though, Maholm, Feldman and Hammel were bargain one year signings, and have all performed much better than the only big signing this FO has had.

        I do like Hammel’s stuff more than I expected. Definitely agree there.

  • ssckelley

    We were due for a dumb error by Castro.

    • mjhurdle

      i actually am not as disappointed in that error.
      An error is an error, and shouldn’t happen. But i will take a deep throw that just sailed a little on him over some of the errors that he used to make that just seemed to be the result of his head not being in the game.
      but again, shouldn’t happen.

      • ssckelley

        Other than a couple of meathead errors Castro has been good at short so far this season.

  • willis

    Pierce Johnson has walked 8 batters today, and only (thus far) given up 1 run. That’s all kinds of amazing and scary.

    • ssckelley

      Wow, I just noticed his pitching line. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before while only allowing 1 run.

  • mjhurdle

    Lake looking very frustrated.

  • cubmig

    Ole’ Junior is having a rough time at the plate. He’s overdue to connect.

    • willis

      Not the way he’s swinging and pulling his head like he is. I’m pretty disappointed to this point in him. I still say play him a little more to see if he can get out of this mess. But it’s looking ugly right now.

      • cubmig

        Haven’t taken note of the head movement you’re seeing………..will pay more attention to that. Am wondering though how you feel that impacts on his swinging….

        • willis

          He jerks his head when he swings hard, and he’s always swinging hard. He just has a rough time with plate discipline and I think if he would bear down a little and stay on the ball vs. coming off of it like he does, he may make better contact. He’s got strength in his bat and some good speed, but if he’s K’ing like this, he’ll never get to take advantage of it.

  • cubmig

    ……Cubs leading and still afloat on a calm sea………

  • Medicos

    BULLSEYE

    WIZARDS—-98 BULLS—-89

    Washington jumped out to a 14-0 lead and now lead the series 3-1. Wizard’s Trevor Ariza scored 30-points. Taj Gibson 30 points off the bench for the Bulls.

    • JasonP

      Could Derrick Rose stay healthy as a baseball player?

      • Medicos

        Maybe next year Rose will be able to spend an entire year playing with Noah-Gibson-Boozer-Butler. Bulls are one of top defensive teams in the NBA, but one worst offensive teams. They certainly need more scoring!!!

        • blublud

          They were actually first in defense and dead last in offense. So yeah. I doubt Rose will play the whole season with Boozer,, Gibson, Noah and Butler, because Boozer is gone, and Gibson and Butler could be trade bait to clear up some more salary to add free agents.

          I know it sounds crazy, but if the Bull could trade Rose, they should consider. They would be sick next year with Melo, Greg Monroe and Kyle Lowry. Just saying.

          • Jason P

            1. Melo isn’t coming if Rose is gone
            2. Why would the Raptors trade Lowry?
            3. Monroe is an awful, awful fit for Thibodeau’s defensive system

            • blublud

              Memo would come for Noah. Lowry is a free agent. Monroe cant be any worse defensively than Boozer, and that has worked out fine.

              • blublud

                Also, Monroe adds offensive value, something we all know the bulls need.

              • Medicos

                Paxson will never give up Noah. Too valuable to this team. He has improved most of his stats each year he has been in a Bulls uni. He became the team leader this year. Boozer is probably history after the next loss to the WIZ..

                • blublud

                  No one said get rid of Noah, I said Melo would come to play with Noah.

            • blublud

              And if Melo came to Chicago, I would have to pull for them.

            • blublud

              I hope people aren’t thinking Rose is still a super star. He can be a good player, but his day of being a super star, unfortunate even though I hate him, are long gone. It happens. Injuries have killed a lot of careers.

              • ssckelley

                The odds are stacked against him now. I also doubt he will be that player he was before he got hurt.

    • blublud

      One more til the Bulls go home. Only thing I hate about that, it’s not Miami sending them home.

  • willis

    Oh Len, you just jinxed the shit out of this thing.

    • willis

      Told you. Damn.

  • cubmig

    ……….Len has that much power?…….or is the flock just nervous?

  • cubmig

    wow……..NOW that’s what ‘d like to see more often than not Rizzo and Castro with back to back hits!

  • willis

    Hell yes, Olt.

  • willis

    And not only has there now been a hit, but everything is falling apart for Hammel. Go figure. This is so Cub it’s unreal.

    • cubmig

      It’s all about Hammel right now………….AND…….getting over his “hiccup”….it remains that way!!!

  • mjhurdle

    Well done Hammel. Well done

  • WilliamGlass721

    Did anyone else here a fan yelling “Barney, go home?!”

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