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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

  • Diehardthefirst

    Castro protects Rizzo if Castro lays off breaking stuff-but Rizzo protects Castro due to more power – maybe if lose series they should be switched for next one?

  • nkniacc13

    I hope Olt and Lake both play in tomorrows game as well with the DH its a way to get one of them into the lineup

    • Spriggs

      Mike “Strike” Olt and Junior __K_ (sorry, but I had to)

      • ssckelley

        You might have to come up with more nicknames if Baez, Bryant, and Alcantara end up in the lineup. Could you image them in the lineup right now with Lake and Olt? The Cubs could easily set the MLB record for most strikeouts in a season.

        • Spriggs

          I try not to think about that part. Throw in Brett Jackson and think of that.

          • ssckelley

            My mind gets blown when I try to imagine BJax ever in a Chicago Cub uniform again.

            • willis

              He’s actually been very good (relatively speaking) since his return as far as the Ks go. Still though, that ship has way since sailed and I just hope he plays well enough to sucker some team into including him as a trade piece.

              • Spriggs

                I kept trying to believe all those Rick Monday comps I was reading about a few years ago. I sure wish he could …. have …. you know.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Olt is awful. He can’t make contact. Why exactly must he play?!? And anybody with a high school breaking call can get Lake out.

      • mjhurdle

        You really like to grab an idea, make it an absolute, and then run it in to the ground, dont you?

        • Blackhawks1963

          Then provide informed contradiction that says Olt should play. So incredibly sick of the default answer, “whelp he was a top prospect a few years ago…” The guy can’t make contact! Tell me what you know that contradicts that. He is likely out of baseball in two years en route to a new career track.

          • mjhurdle

            im not arguing for Olt to start. A casual review of my posts would indicate that I am not sure he ever becomes productive.
            Im merely pointing out your tendency to back whatever the most obvious opinion is, then proclaim it as absolute over and over and over and over.

            • roz

              I heard Samarzdzija was going to get traded.

  • vitaminB

    Come on over to Sons of Ivy for a gameday experience like no other.

    http://www.sonsofivy.com/forum/index.php?/topic/6484-cubs-sux/

    • Drew7

      Seriously?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That’s a BN approved friend site.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      vitamin B: Brett may have said it was ok to post that link. But seriously show some respect for this site and don’t pull that shit.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I’ve seen Danks get roughed up this year. We need to jump on him early.

    • willis

      Well, we saw that dude last night get roughed up too, and he had the cubs looking awful last night. I hope for a better approach tonight.

  • Spriggs

    The way the conditions have been at Wrigley though, I think even I could make the Cubs look awful. Maybe not the Sox… Seriously though, a lot of the good pitching we’ve seen is sort of an illusion. Cubs and their opponents.

  • willis

    Sounds like DeVoss and Searle just got the boot to make room for Vizcaino and Soler.

    • Spriggs

      Nice trade

      • KHRSS

        What happened? Did they getvdemoted traded?

        • augiepb

          DeVoss demoted Searle released.

  • BennyTheJet

    So if the Rockies continue to play good baseball to the tune of .600 winning percentage could Jonathan Gray be available for shark at the deadline?

    • Blackhawks1963

      You might want to sit the next play out. Crikey.

    • David

      I would give up a lot to get him.

      • David

        Man… how great would Volglebach look in Colorado?! Him and Shark for Grey. Get it done.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          That would be an interesting deal (Grey for Samardzija & Vogelbach). I don’t think Colorado makes that deal though. I think I’d pull the trigger if I were the Cubs but I doubt the FO would bc they aren’t in the business of trading our best major league trade chip and a possible future Top 100 prospect at seasons end for an elite pitching prospect. Maybe you never know

          • mjhurdle

            i think Colorado would jump at that. There is a decent chance that Gray never ends up as good as Shark is right now, and a small chance that Gray ends up better.
            Colorado gets a known quantity along with a good lottery ticket, and the Cubs get a really good lottery ticket.
            I don’t see that making a lot of sense for the Cubs though.

            • Serious Cubs Fan

              mjhurdle: You think if Colorado’s in contention at the trade deadline they’d a Samardzija for Grey straight up trade? If I were Cubs I would do it, if Samardzija flat out doesn’t want to sign with us because we won’t compete in the next 2 seasons.

              • Soda Popinski

                I think the Rocks would have to be confident in Signing Shark to an extension to do it.

              • mjhurdle

                If the Cubs know that Shark wont extend, then I could see the Cubs doing a Shark for Gray + others.
                I don’t see a 1-1, because i think that they will be able to get better value elsewhere.
                I don’t think the Cubs would trade someone that (this year) is dominating at the MLB level for someone that is doing really well at AA level.
                I like Gray (wanted the Cubs to draft before Bryant really came on last year), but he is still a prospect, which means far from a guaranteed MLB caliber pitcher. I wouldn’t trade an above-average MLB starter with 1+ years of control left for a good AA pitcher, but that is just me.

            • David

              I think it’s be a fantastic deal. Fair on both sides.

  • Paddy26

    Come on Rick, make a last minute switch. Olt to 3B, Valbuena to 2B, and let Travis hit!

  • Jon

    I just saw that John Danks is last in terms of qualified starters in terms of xFIP. So the only question begs, does he toss a 1 or 2 hitter tonight ?

    • Jon

      Last in terms of xFIP ^

  • KHRSS

    Bryant hit a 3R HR.. no soler in the lineup btw

    • Jon

      Read another tweet he had travel issues but in uniform tonight no need to worry

    • another JP

      Andreoli and Bruno stay hot. Bruno is a doubles machine…

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I like Bruno’s bat and plate approach better than Alcantara’s. Bruno does have as much power, fielding a abilities, or speed but I like his bat much more than Alcantara

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Anyone hear anything about Trevor Clifton down in Arizona? The kid had a ton of projection with great velocity. Was wondering if he added any weight/muscle to his tall frame. Kid was only 19yrs old but he was an interesting HS over-slot kid

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Why would Olt be at DH and Valbuena on the field? Isn’t Olt the better glove?

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Nope. Valbuena is the better fielder and has a stronger arm. Not that Olt is bad but IMO Valbuena is better out there at 3rd

  • Jon

    That 85 mph fastball was no match for lOlt

    • BlameHendry

      If Olt is gonna be starting at all at this point, he should be batting 8th only, no exceptions.

      • itzscott

        It may be time to think about throwing in the towel on the hope that Olt was going to grab the starting 3rd baseman job and run with it.

    • roz

      I named my fantasy team “Team Oltimate” and now I’m ashamed of myself.

  • Rudy N

    Bryant with his 2nd HR!

    • itzscott

      Gotta admit that Bryant is making a mockery of AA and can use a better challenge

  • Jon

    Another Bryant HR

    • SenorGato

      Kris Verlander

    • renegade4196

      Bryant should be called up to the MLB straight from AA. Just sheer domination.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        Bryant has two bombs tonight. 3 for 4 so far.

        • Soda Popinski

          effing sweet.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          I think he now has eight for the year.

  • nakedman1664

    Bat flip!

  • cubmig

    Damn straight! Valbuena is the man who comes through……..damn straight.

  • Rudy N

    Also another walk for Almora. He’s on fire!

  • Medicos

    The CUBAN MISSLE looks like he can hit

    • Drew7

      Now you’re just doing it on purpose.

  • Soda Popinski

    #)($*%^ ing Beckham.

  • cubmig

    shit.

  • renegade4196

    So the HP Ump is stroking the Sox big time tonight. Easily strike 3 on Nieto. But whatever.

  • cubmig

    down by three…………but, not to worry Olt is first up. His HR will bring it to down two. [snark]

    • renegade4196

      Yeah, you’re right.

      MIKE OLT

    • baldtaxguy

      Well done.

    • AreWeThereYet

      More snark please.
      Thank You.

  • Rudy N

    Bryant off the wall for a 2-run double… just missed # 3.

    • ChiTownHero

      I think that an awesome situation that might help Baez out is if Bryant got promoted to AAA soon.

  • another JP

    Double #3 for Bruno. .. The batting champ has the swing back.

  • cubmig

    my mlb coverage cut out when Olt was up…..I saw though on Gameday that he DID homer….damn that crow tastes good!!!!!

  • renegade4196

    This Home Plate ump is a joke.

  • Jon

    THIS UMP IS A FUCKING BUM !

  • Beast Mode

    Effing bullshit. Every night the umps against Rizzo. My god.

    • renegade4196

      And the pitch on Nieto was a Ball? fucking joke.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    This Ump blows big time. I don’t want to get banned so I’ll leave it at that.

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