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us cellular fieldThe Cubs will have to win today and tomorrow at The Cell in order to split the season series Crosstown Cup thing with the White Sox. That is a bummer. And if the Cubs want to ensure that the White Sox leave this series at no better than .500, the Cubs will have to win at least one of the next two. I really dread the vomitous narratives that will emerge if the Cubs get swept by a White Sox team that is then two games over .500.

Travis Wood starts for the Cubs tonight, but he is NOT in the lineup, despite his powerful right-handed bat, which could be well-used against lefty starter John Danks (who has been a shell of himself since his shoulder injury a couple years ago). I imagine there’s an element of health protection here – although he’s a great hitter, Wood is far, far, far more valuable to the Cubs as a pitcher – but, still, I’m not so sure he wouldn’t have been one of the three or four best bats in the lineup.

Because the Cubs have just four men on the bench, one of whom is the back-up catcher, they have to start a couple of lefties (Valbuena at third, and Kalish in right) … which is not really a big deal, because Danks actually has a slight reverse split for his career.

The bat that essentially replaces Wood in the lineup is Mike Olt’s, so, you know, no pressure, Mike.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (11-19) at Chicago White Sox (17-17), 7:10 CT on ESPN, CSN.

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

John Danks (5.00 ERA, 4.78 FIP, 5.48 xFIP; 1.05 K/BB)

versus

Travis Wood (3.35 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 3.40 xFIP; 5.29 K/BB)

Chicago White Sox Lineup

1. Gordon Beckham, 2B

2. Alejandro De Aza, CF

3. Jose Abreu, 1B

4. Dayan Viciedo, LF

5. Alexei Ramirez, SS

6. Paul Konerko, DH

7. Moises Sierra, RF

8. Marcus Semien, 3B

9. Adrian Neito, C

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Junior Lake, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Welington Castillo, C

6. Mike Olt, DH

7. Luis Valbuena, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Ryan Kalish, RF

  • baldtaxguy

    Ump’s zone is all over the place.

  • Jon

    If Barney can’t make that play just get off the roster

  • Beast Mode

    Wood is getting hit hard. May be an early shower.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    The one damn job Barney has. Field the ball. Tough play to make but he is literally dead to me with how terrible he is at the plate. I can’t wait till he’s not tender or traded at the deadline. Maybe the Cubs could bring him back as a minor league coach if he can’t find a job in a few years. We should have traded him the season he won his GG. He had value back then and he wasn’t expensive.

    • Beast Mode

      I think that was the reason they kept him though. They were hoping his hitting would improve. Of course it didn’t.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Beast Mode: You are correct but this guy is worth the league minimum not the $2.6mil. The $2.6mil was a small calculated risk the FO made, but still they should have traded him 2 summers ago when his value was at it all time highest point.

        • Beast Mode

          I guess their reasoning was “Hey, we only have to pay 2.6 million for our starting 2nd baseman.
          Problem is Barney should not be your starting 2nd baseman.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Correction: He didn’t have an immense amount of value but could have probably gotten 2 lotto ticket latin America prospects like we did in the Campana trade.

  • Beast Mode

    Who didn’t see that coming?

  • Jon

    Wood should have never faced konerko

    • itzscott

      Here’s the deal with Renteria….. He’s got a 13 man pitching staff to use and he can see just as well as the rest of us that his pitcher is done….. Yet he leaves that pitcher in there until AFTER the damage is done. Happened with Strop. Happened with Grimm and its happened with others. This is disturbing and demonstrates that he has no clue how to manage a pitching staff.

      • candyland07

        If RR does not know how to manage and Seveum was a problem that had to be let go. who hired these morons? – maybe those people need to go ,or at the very least be judged with same feverish anger. Those people would be Team Epstein and his merry men.

        I for one blame The front office , they have always been known to micro manage the Cubs – RR is just the scapegoat .

        • DarthHater

          [img]https://bloodyhelldell.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/70crybaby.gif[/img]

  • renegade4196

    Fuck

  • Rebuilding

    You think Renteria might have thought to have a righty go against Konerko since Wood didn’t have much tonight

  • Jon

    With a loss tonight the Cubs will overtake Arizona for the worst record in the National League

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Yay!?!???? I guess? I’m really getting to the point in the rebuild where the consolation prize of getting the high draft pick isn’t worth the dealing with the win-loss record. Watching how bad we are and most likely trading our best SP mid-season is really going to hurt. I give the FO the rest of this season and probably next season before I stop paying to go see a games at Wrigley. I’ll still watch them on TV but I won’t support them with my $$

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Correction: I give Ricketts the rest of this season and probably next season before I stop paying to go see a games at Wrigley. Not the Front Office.

      • Jon

        It’s frightening how much like the Astros the Cubs are but so many don’t want to admit

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          We aren’t the Astros bc we aren’t in complete self off every last asset we have for any level of prospect we can get. Remember: The FO didn’t sell low on guys like Navaro who had a market but didn’t sell bc they though he’d have more value staying with the team. (Astros would have traded him for whatever they could) Also Cubs paid E. Jackson a big chunk of change to keep the rotation “respected”, but you could contend the FO signed him bc they thought they would be making a push by next year for the playoffs but the financial means have not been there bc ricketts is too dependent on the renovation revenue/New TV $$. If Ricketts doesn’t show the ability to go after a big time FA in the next 3 years I’m done spending any $ on anything Cubs related. (Obviously the FA has to be a good fit. No reckless spending). If hear the Cubs finish 2nd on a FA that made complete sense for them 3 years from now, I will be extremely pissed

          • Beast Mode

            Will you still buy a BN shirt?

            • Serious Cubs Fan

              Haha yes. I would buy BN shirt. I think BN is the one Cubs related thing that functions at a high level. Brett gives ace coverage of team that is terrible. Hopefully in 3 years we’ll get to watch a team that actually competes for the playoffs

          • Rebuilding

            Through about 20% of the season here are the teams with the Top 5 picks this year…and their winning percentage last year (listed first) and this year (not including tonight):

            (1) Astros – 315 to 303 (-012)
            (2) Marlins – 383 to 559 (+176)
            (3) W Sox – 389 to 500 (+111)
            (4) Cubs – 407 to 355 (-052)
            (5) Twins – 407 to 484 (+077)

            So out of the worst of the worst we are the only one to really regress (the Astros are about even) and 3 of the 5 teams have improved substantially – all 3 of those teams went out and spent decent money on free agents or made significant trades this winter. In the case of the Astros, Twins and Marlins they also have very good farm systems.

            Not drawing any conclusions really. Just found it interesting. And before mjhurdle craps his drawers, there is a lot of season to go and obviously this may change

    • Medicos

      JON: Don’t forget WINS-LOSSES don’t mean anything in grand scheme of things.

      • gocatsgo2003

        Why is it hard to understand that team wins are important, but that the individual pitchers to whom the wins are assigned is essentially meaningless?

  • cubmig

    A bad –coulda’- woulda’-shoulda’- but didn’t, night for Wood. Cubs have an uphill battle from here on out with the plate ump still in charge……ratbastardo.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I’m watching the ESPN broadcast and this ump has been working in AAA. They were commenting about how bad he is after the two strikes called on Rizzo. They said that was unacceptable for a major league umpire.

    • Jon

      How the hell does this idiot have a job? Welli just went at him

  • Blackhawks1963

    Cubs are brutally awfully bad. This is worse than even 2013. The talent level on this 25 man roster is sickeningly terrible.

    • cubsfan08

      Insightful! Thanks for sharing

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Where’s that video of the man beating the horse? Darth are you there?

    • E

      Yeah, there is tremendous lack of talent on this team. If talent less hacks could fly, Wrigley Field would be an airport.

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

        Would it be Hartsfield or just Ohare talentless wise?

        • renegade4196

          Hartsfield for sure.

    • DarthHater

      [img]https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3795/13744050454_2f3fe2abe2_o.gif[/img]

  • Beast Mode

    It’s hard to hit well when the ump is giving the pitcher the inside and outside “corner”. Notice I am using “corner” very liberally.

  • renegade4196

    Barney, GTFO. 2 plays you should have made. Completely useless.

    • Blackhawks1963

      A rationalization on Barney’s roster spot looms. He’s become too much of a lightning rod to stick around much longer. Cubs are going to need to trade or simple dump him.

  • Blackhawks1963

    At some point soon Tom Ricketts will need to crawl out from his hole and address hrs pitchfork and torches crowd. This is getting real ugly. No payroll. No renovation. Just a clusterf&ck of a mess, with the next step being for Theo to probably quit in disgust over lack of resources.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Pretty sure the “pitchfork and torches crowd” is limited to about 25 guys that post on here. Pretty much everyone else just assumes that the Cubs are going to suck either due to “The Plan” and/or because they don’t care.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        My “pitchfork and torches” aren’t out yet but they will be if this product on the field continues for another 3 years. I’m all on board for the rebuild still, even though it sucks to sit through

        • Rebuilding

          3 more years? You are a very patient man/woman. To give any front office 6 years of being terribly bad is almost unheard of in this era of sports. I really think that it is only Theo’s reputation that is keeping things from getting out of control now. If Theo was named Cleo and hadn’t won a WS in Boston then I would think he might have one more year (or more likely the plan would have never happened in the first place.

          • Soda Popinski

            What do you mean almost unheard of? Marlins win WS in 1997, dismantle, win again in 2003 :D

            • Rebuilding

              Yeah, I should have specified that it’s almost unheard of for the same front office to last that long

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

                Well if the Cubs were the winners…this convo would be different.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I don’t blame Ricketts for the renovation stuff but if he doesn’t raise the payroll when our top prospects are up and landing good FA’s because the $$ isn’t there… I will be pissed

      • renegade4196

        Ricketts had no business buying this team. We missed out on Cespedes, Tanaka, Sanchez etc. because of no money. If this team had Cuban like we were supposed to, the Cubs may very well be defending champions right now.

        • Jon

          We didn’t lose Cespedes because lack of payroll come on now

        • gocatsgo2003

          Again, this isn’t hard to understand: the financial restrictions under which Ricketts is operating were largely dictated by Zell/the Tribune Company, so the situation likely wouldn’t be all that different.

          • aaronb

            Complete bull.

            If that were the case we wouldn’t have had a 145 million dollar payroll in 2010. It’s nothing but an excuse for the Ricketts to explain away their penny pinching.

            • Rebuilding

              To be fair, there probably was a sliding scale to give them a few years to get the payroll down. Theo specifically said that payroll was “maxed” last year at $108 million. We could be at least be $25 million higher this year, but we are evidently “saving” it

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Nobody had any business buying the team with the conditions that Zell imposed. But Ricketts will limp through to the finish and see the value of the ball club be worth about a billion more than what he paid for it. So who are the schmucks anyway?

      • Soda Popinski

        This. Although I’m not too worried about it. We seem to have been trying to spend the last few off-seasons. When we’re better I have little doubt we’ll make some splashes.

    • Jon

      “No payroll”

      I’m going to be. Hypocrite but this narrative is hilarious! Payroll could be ~110 million! That would right around the midpoint in baseball. Just around the Cardinals. Payroll this year is just the same as the White Sox. Is it ideal ? No they know that but stop with this crap that they hAve marlins/ray’s like constraints

      It’s time the “whiz kid” looked in the mirror and took blame for this garbage 25 man roster!

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

      Well I thought it was syncing up…this business called baseball. You cant blame Tom..he inherited a talentless team, an old decrepit ballpark, and rooftops stealing revenues via contracts signed. It takes years to build a winning organization. Patience is a Cubs virtue. We need a deal…to take ones mind off the beatdowns. But the fat lady has yet to sing.

      • Jon

        Really if Tom knew this was going to be a budget rebuild for a decade, he probably should have tried to lure Friedman or Beene here. That was probably his biggest misstep

        • E

          I’m not convinced that Ricketts isn’t behind it–he may have just underestimated the fan’s reaction to it.

          • http://bleachernation.com woody

            He’s going to take a big hit on attendance this year. They might have to have a vomit bag day.

          • aaronb

            I’m not convinced Ricketts isn’t behind it as well. Just too much evidence that points to him being the miser.

            “They sell out every game win or lose Dad” -Tom Ricketts

            • Jon

              This is just insane ! Was Ricketts sabotaging the poss signings of Darvish, Cespedes, Puig, Ryu?!

            • Jon

              LOOK in the mirror people! Billy beane on acid could put a better 25 man together with 80 million!

              • Soda Popinski

                Never look in the mirror on acid, though.

                • KHRSS

                  I agree. They are playing like a club with a $40 million payroll. It really is inexcusable that you have a outfield rotation that includes Sweeney, Ruggiano and Kalish getting a lot of playing time. They are lucky Boni is having a career year.

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

          Not personally knowing the man, but aware of his type, he is not as concern as one is who cares about particular results as many a fan does. He looks at financial data and deals and this hobby called baseball is not about a quick move. Maybe results hit around 2020. 2016-2020 is the window…hah!

          • Jon

            Jason then he should be pissed about an 80 million dollar payroll playing like the Astros. If that’s the best you can might as cut payroll to 30 million.

          • Rebuilding

            I do not know Tom Ricketts personally. But nothing he has done has shown him to have one ounce of business sense or acumen. (1) His father made the family money, (2) Evidently, once Mark Cuban and others saw Zell’s demands they said no way, but Ricketts played along (with a deal that is highly questionable under the tax code) and took the deal, (3) And the renovation, or lack thereof, has been one bungling after another – the Cubs should have had some arrangement in place with the rooftops long before they got approval from the city so they weren’t taken hostage

            • http://bleachernation.com woody

              He has been taken to the wood shed for sure. But that doesn’t make him a bad guy. Wait and see what happens when Soriano’s off the books and the supposedly extra money we saved on Tanaka will be available. I’ll believe it when I see it.

            • Jon

              All of this may be true but it still doesn’t change the fact that the resources for a median payroll are there now and this team is going to lose close to a 100 games.

              Shit even the Twins are having a nice bounce back year will a loaded farm to boot. Our owner isn’t the chick from major league

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

              I don’t disagree. I don’t think he’s all that special business wise. He’s got credentials – so do many others – but until I see him be a bit more urgent or motivated, like show you care about it – competitive spirit – its all pretty vanilla and sound bites.

              And no one held a gun to his head to accept Zell’s deal. An overly eager buyer is generally a stupid one..

              Hey, you can cut payroll – which was what made Jason Hamel odd – but maybe subtle pressure from MLBPA/MLB said they had to sign someone.

              I made my suggestions about players to add: Scott Kazmir, RF David Murphy, OF Chris Young. Not saying those will all work out – but:

              http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

              Kazmir has been effective.

  • Soda Popinski

    Is there an easy way to look at all Cubs minor league affiliates box scores / stats on one site instead of going to Smokies, Cubs, etc. individually?

    • renegade4196

      http://www.milb.com/scoreboard/index.jsp?sid=milb&org=112

      And to find this easily, just google Cubs minor league scores, and this page will come up. Or on http://www.milb.com, when looking for scores, click on the Cubs logo and it will show all affiliates’ scores.

      • Soda Popinski

        Thank you, sir!

        • renegade4196

          No problem!

    • jp3

      Do you have a smart phone? There is a great app this year for it

      • Soda Popinski

        I just laughed because I can’t get away from non-smart-phone-having questions, apparently even on the internet. No, I do not. Be easy on the ridicule, now. haha.

        • jp3

          It’s fine buddy, there was a mil app that kind of sucked last year that they dramatically improved where you basically click cubs are your team and it gives direct links to all the affiliate teams in real time like game day does on the computer for the cubs games. Whatever on not having a smart phone, your bill is probably cheap as hell which is awesome

          • jp3

            MILB app is what I meant

            • Soda Popinski

              Thanks anyway, man. I appreciate it. My friends all give me hell because I’ve had the same phone for about 6 years and it’s a slide-out keyboard phone :D

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Go to Milb.com and clic on scores and then on the Cubs logo. You can access all the box scores as well as gameday for all of the Cubs affiliates.

      • Soda Popinski

        Thanks, woody.

  • Jon

    Again 110-115 million ! 13th-15th in baseball!
    That’s what payroll could be today? Would you all bitch about that?

    Get off Ricketts ass people! It’s not his fault the highest GM in baseball keeps missing on every impact FA under 30!

    • Soda Popinski

      Theo’s the highest? like… marijuana-high?

      • renegade4196

        I think marijuana would induce better decisions at this rate.

  • auggie

    I had to shut the game off after 6 1/2 innings. I agree with what a lot have said regarding Barney. If this guy can’t make those plays in the field, why in the hell is he playing??!!! And why was Wood allowed to pitch so long after he got hit by that broken bat and couldn’t get anyone out???? I also hate it when Len tries to feed us this crap about Barney and his problems with his contacts, blah, blah, blah. If Barney is having this problem put his ass on the DL until it’s fixed and play Bonifacio or Valbuena at 2nd, but don’t try to BS the fans.

    • benjamin

      He isn’t BSing. He’s just doing his job and providing commentary.

  • Medicos

    Newsflash: LAURA RICKETTS has designated TED LILLY and KERRY WOOD to present the Crosstown Classic Cup to JERRY REINSDORF after tomorrow night’s game.

    • Drew7

      Just stop.

  • cubmig

    Thank God that’s one less loss we have to face.

  • wkranz

    Wow 4 hits in each of the last three games. Been under the Mendoza line as a team three straight games. I’ve been in the let the FO rebuild camp since the start, but with three bats that are part of the future, I really thought we would surround this team with a little more. Long season just keeps moving.

  • http://BN Sacko

    It was “beating a dead horse with a fish in the barrel.”..I believe and I forgot who wrote it.
    Have to find a different dead animal to beat as this is worse then I ever would have thought.

  • Kyle

    At least the minors were awesome tonight.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That’s an understatement. Rusin, Baez, Bryant, Bruno’s improbable double’s streak, Andreoli’s hit streak… and that’s just through Double A.

      Fantastic day for the farm system.

      • Kyle

        Well. I mean, I don’t think we want to call it “fantastic.” It’s just one day. You can’t tell anything from just one day, so let’s not label it at all :)

        • renegade4196

          I think with the way the big league team performed, the farm today looked outstanding. I’m really happy at the performance by the farm.

        • another JP

          Actually it’s YOU that doesn’t want to call the farm performance fantastic… despite the fact it absolutely was by any measure. When a pitcher tosses a no – hitter in the PCL and is the first one to do so at Iowa in 30 years that’s fantastic. When the first three hitters in the Smokies lineup get on base 11 times in 15 ABs- including 3 doubles by Bruno and 10 total bases with 6 RBIs by Bryant that’s fantastic.

          Your penchant for attempting to downplay positive news about the Cubs is embarrassing.

          • baldtaxguy

            Dude….he described them (the minors) as “awesome.” Turn on your emoticon detector.

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