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turner fieldDear Cubs,

Please score 500 runs in the first few innings tonight so that Jeff Samardzija can definitely finally get the stupid “win” that everyone won’t shut up about.

Sincerely,

The Forward-Thinking Internet

Mike Olt stays in the lineup playing third base, as does Ryan Kalish, who’s seen a considerable uptick in his playing time of late.

The Braves have themselves a forward-thinking lineup, with their best hitter in the two-hole, and their pitcher batting 8th.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (12-22) at Atlanta Braves (19-15), 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

Jeff Samardzija (1.62 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 3.50 xFIP; 2.53 K/BB)

versus

Ervin Santana (2.41 ERA, 2.43 FIP, 2.61 xFIP; 4.50 K/BB)

Atlanta Braves Lineup

1. Jason Heyward, RF

2. Justin Upton, LF

3. Freddie Freeman, 1B

4. Evan Gattis, C

5. Chris Johnson, 3B

6. B.J. Upton, CF

7. Andrelton Simmons, SS

8. Ervin Santana, P

9. Tyler Pastornicky, 2B

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Ryan Kalish, RF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Luis Valbuena, 2B

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Mike Olt, 3B

8. Junior Lake, LF

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • willis

    Very much like the lineup personnel wise. I don’t know about Lake in the 8th spot, just don’ think he’ll see much to drive. I’d get Valbuena and move him from 5th to 8th, and slide 6-8 up a spot. Either way, these are the best 8 players.

  • ChiCub55

    Best lineup of the year. These are the people that go e us the best chance to win and Samardzija is due to get some support and a win. Very happy to not see Schierholtz.

    • willis

      He looked very poor at the plate last night. Just seemed very lost. Amazing where he is a year from looking so good.

      • ChiCub55

        I agree. I wish we weren’t having this conversation because I really enjoyed his production last year. Wish we coulda dumped him this winter for some young stud but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards.

  • http://kempfintl.com pfk

    I think Olt would get better pitches if he wasn’t so low in the order and had a decent bat behind him. So far, all he gets behind him are; Barney, Baker and Lake. With guys like that coming up I wouldn’t give him anything good to hit – especially not fastballs.

  • Medicos

    This is RR’s 35th game as Cubs manager. Have any of his previous 34 lineups been the same as tonites????

    Interesting: that after 6-weeks of the 2014 season, 23 of the 30 MLB teams are within 6 games of a .500 pct. The Cubs have already played 9 different MLB teams and thus far haven’t been “blown away” in any of the series. Just maybe this franchise isn’t so far from being a more competitive team than most of us fans seem to feel.

  • mikeschieve

    Schierholtz is not in the lineup?!? #sarcasm

  • Funn Dave

    What bugs me is the notion that a free agent starting pitcher with e.g. a 2.0 ERA and no wins will get paid less than a pitcher with a 2.0 ERA and two wins. No GM with half a brain will fail to realize that, based on those stats, those pitchers performed exactly as well as each other.

  • cubmig

    The 500 runs won’t do it. Cubs will need 501. Samardzija is pitching.

    A Cubs internetz fan too.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    After this series we have four against the Cards and then three with the Brewers, followed by two with the Yankees. After that a west coast road trip. Out of contention by June is my forecast. Let the trades begin.

    • cubmig

      Let me see if I get what you’re saying Woody……That following this series, the 9 games and the West coast road trip, the teams the Cubs play will be out of contention. Is that right?

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        I’m saying that if you don’t think the Cubs are out of contention now, they will be after that stretch is finished.

  • Sweetswing26

    Erick Fedde having Tommy John surgery…..another college arm that was ranked top 10 by most sites.

  • cubmig

    ….and the rains came…..

  • mudge

    Did anyone expect contention? .500 would have been a triumph with this roster. I don’t understand why a team which expects to contend, which is short a pitcher, wouldn’t grab one well before the trade deadline, given that victories are precious. But trades don’t tend to happen early in the year. Counter-intuitive – if a pitcher can help you, he can help you more in five months than he can in three.

    • Rich H

      The reason is very simply money. You come in with a certain budget and if you are expected to win you had better have filled that budget as close to the ceiling as possible. So the closer to the All Star game you get the more money you can ask the owner to spend.

      Now the guys that were not expected to win and are over achieving do not have a reason for going all in early other than maybe trying to ride the wave as long as possible to see what your team truly needs. But you should know by now what your weaknesses are.

  • Rebuilding

    I assume no matter how long this rain delay goes on that Samardzija will come back out so we can try to get him a win?

  • cubmig

    Woody—I got what you meant. And I understand the reality this season’s team is creating as it pertains to a final outcome. Given all that understanding, I dream and hope. So…..until the W-L numbers spell “it” out with their final clarity that “it’s over”, I’ll keep on, keeping on with all my Ifs, maybes, and bitching to impose my selfish will. After all, I’m a Cubs fan.

  • njmass

    How many pop ups can this team hit with a runner on 3rd and 1 out. Both times on a slider low and away and still popped up. Do your damn job.

  • The Real Wrigley

    Olt(“!”…really?) strikes out…Lake Ks in 3 pitches…Santana strikes out the side (after K-ing Shark).
    Five innings , and no runs for Spellcheck.

    Yep, I’m watching the Cubs .

  • Seabee

    Bruno 3 for 4 with a homer and 2B today at AA. Alcantara better watch out. Soler hit another 2b today also. That’s 4 in 4 games played.

    • cubbiekoolaid2015

      And Bryant just hit his 10th HR of the season.

    • Karl Groucho

      Real pumped on Soler so far, hope he can stay healthy going forward!

  • Seabee

    Bryant with his 10th Homer !!!!!!!!

  • ChiCub55

    Shark is pissed/frustrated to no end and I do not blame him. It’ll be the best for both parties to consummate a trade soon.

    • itzscott

      I was just going to post the same thought.

      Put Samardzjia out of his misery….. Trade him asap.

      • Head and Heart

        The ‘misery’ of performing really well and being played even better while living in one of the world’s great cities.

        • ChiCub55

          I know wins aren’t a stat to base anything off of, but winless in 14 consecutive starts would piss any professional off. I think getting him out of town would bode well for both sides; Shark can go somewhere and start fresh and get some support. The cubs can get some talent back and begin evaluating whether or not those people fit in the long term plans. I feel terrible for Shark and I bet you money the advice from Garza is ringing constantly in his head.

          • cubmig

            The problem is not Shark. The problem is there are no reliable hitters. Shouldn’t the talk be about trading for hitters and not Shark?

  • Seabee

    Why did they pull him at 69 pitches? Rain Delay or because of his last game.

    • HislersHero

      Both probably played a part in it, I’m assuming.

  • Beast Mode

    Unbelievable, 69 pitches.

  • Beast Mode

    At least we will have our usual 9th inning almost catch up rally.

  • cubmig

    shit. Samardzjiz leaves and Schlitter shits on him. Sometimes love-n-luck seem to be on a love-hate relationship. Go figure.

  • Karl Groucho

    Smardja says…forget your statistics about poor performance after long outings; I will throw 69 pitches over six innings and only let three men on base!

  • Beast Mode

    Is it time for us to start calling for the Bryant call-up. I know it’s not going to happen, but why not.

    • Jim

      Fortunately the front office is not going to listen to ridiculous demands from the fans.

  • Dustin S

    In college opposing teams just eventually started walking and pitching around Bryant constantly. Surprised they haven’t already at AA. So if his home runs start to drop off, watch the walk numbers. And if that happens he’s not just due for a promotion, he’s overdue.

  • Beast Mode

    And Atlanta shows us what fundamental baseball is.

    • GoCubs

      +1

  • Funn Dave

    It looked like Schlitter should have gone to third there.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Schlitter put the game in the Schitter.

      • spearman

        With a name like Schlitter, it can’t be good.

  • ChiCub55

    I think that a professional athlete like Samardzija knows his body better than any of those people in the dugout. If he said he was good to keep going… Let his ass keep pitching. This is ridiculous and the exact reason that were the laughing stock of the league.

    • Head and Heart

      The Cubs may be the laughing stock of the league but pulling a pitcher after 6 innings and an hour rain delay isn’t one of the reasons.

      • ChiCub55

        You are correct. Continually calling on a weak bullpen when it is warranted is.

        • ChiCub55

          Isn’t**

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Baez is 0 for 3 with two strike outs so far tonight. I’m really beggining to worry about him.

    • Beast Mode

      La la la la. I don’t want to here it. I just choose to focus on Bryant now.

  • Jason P

    Every time Samardzija goes to the mound, I feel like something new happens to make him more and more disenchanted with this organization. After a week of answering pitch count questions and dropping this quote — “[Worrying about pitch counts] should be the other way around. Why did this guy only throw 75 pitches and then come out of the game after five innings” — he gets taken out after 6 great innings and 69 pitches. Then, the Cubs promptly give up the lead and look to be on their way to losing another one of his starts.

    The media should ask him about taking a team-friendly extension after the game just to top it all off.

    • itzscott

      Anybody consider that maybe he was pulled because a deal was agreed upon?

      • SenorGato

        CC Sabathia was meh again tonight for the Yankees. He’s not finished but still feeling his way through not being overpowering. Gary Sanchez please!

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