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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

  • Seabee

    Bruno homers again.

  • Jason P

    We can probably stop playing Bonifacio every day.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Yeah maybe we should use Kalish to lead off for awhile.

  • ChiCub55

    I’m going to buy a dog and name him Schierholtz. Instead of bashing holes in my wall when Nate does Nate-like things I am just going to squirt the dog with water and piss him off. Maybe this hatred building for him will somehow be soothed?

  • SenorGato

    Kris Bryant is awesome. I can not wait until he gets the call. There’s really a shot he’s fighting for a starting in ST next year barring something catastrophic that better not happen.

    • SenorGato

      James Pugliese threw three shutout innings with 7 Ks for KC. IIRC he was the kid who threw a knuckle something when drafted.

    • Jason P

      If he doesn’t get called up this year, the chance he breaks camp with the Cubs is practically nil. I don’t like how the service time rules are, but it seems silly to lose an entire year of control over a player for 3 weeks of his age 22 season.

  • spearman

    Well, at least we took Samardzija out early so he didn’t have to take another loss.

  • Seabee

    There is a lot of good talent down at AA with Bryant. Lopez at Catcher, Andreoli in the OF and Bruno at 2B all deserving of getting a call up to AAA. Bruno is the only one that doesn’t really have the AB at that level yet, but he can flat out hit. I can’t wait for the front office to trim some of the fat off of our AAA team and get these 4 up there.

  • Medicos

    This team must think it’s playing during the DEADBALL ERA of baseball.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    So he averaged 98 pitches per start between the two. I’m guessing that was very, very intentional. They were going to balance him out at about 100 between the starts just to make sure he didn’t over-extend himself. Looks pretty obvious.

  • willis

    Even with a rain delay, 69 pitches, 6 innings in a 0-0 game? Come one RR. There doesn’t seem to be much outrage on here regarding that. But he was dealing…just abusing that Braves lineup. Just a bad decision there. It’s not like he was at 90-100 pitches. Tonight he had his best stuff maybe of the year.

  • Jason P

    Baex K’s again.

    • Funn Dave

      In terms of Baez… c’mon, y’all. You’ve all seen great players go through slumps before. Yes, even slumps this long and this bad. And that’s by established MLB players, no less. Baez is adjusting (and will adjust) to a new level, which can sometimes take some time.

      Otherwise, we can always unload him on the Rangers….

      • Kyle

        I’ve also seen top prospects who became busts have slumps this long and this bad before.

        Time will tell which one Baez is, but there’s no reason to dismiss either possibility.

        • renegade4196

          This is longer than most of his slumps. I wouldn’t doubt that injury plays a role in this. Other than that, they are still the Cubs, so my gut tells me that his name going up there with Pie and Patterson isn’t inconceivable.
          Bryant, on the other hand, is making AA his personal little league, and really should not have another AB at Tennessee.

          • SenorGato

            I think that Baez is currently playing SS makes him a bigger deal than Pie, Patterson, or Jackson. Like them, he could move to the COF, it’s not a crazy or even bad outcome. OTOH, he’ll have the chance to handle 2B or 3B defensively that they did not have the skills to pull off…

            I’m not getting worried until he’s shitting the bed 200+ PAs in. No clue why so many, I’ll probably change my mind next week. Either way – Kris Bryant!

            • SenorGato

              Hmmkay, I didn’t need to post this longer version of something I already posted.

            • Funn Dave

              That’s how I feel. Look at Rizzo–when he came up with the Padres he was underwhelming, to say the least. Now, he’s a premier first baseman. It’s gonna take a lot more than 100 PA’s for me to write Baez off as a bust. Not that that’s what Kyle was doing.

  • Seabee

    Yep, 0 fer 4 with 3K’s.

    • Kyle

      100 PAs on the nose for Baez at AAA. May the next 100 be better.

      He reportedly got visibly upset tonight after another K.

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

        21 year old man who has likely never truly failed at anything athletically for very long; or at least not since like 10…

        Hopefully through this he does start to show better maturity…and the results to follow.

      • SenorGato

        JIC anyone wants to think Baez is Brett Jacksoning, keep in mind that Baez is still playing SS. The offensive expectations for a SS, a MIFer in general, are higher than only catchers and pitchers.

        Obviously also Baez is a way better prospect all around anyway, but still. Panic button can wait another 150 PAs.

        • renegade4196

          Cub fan complacency coming in once again. I think it’s time for slight concern with Baez at this point.

        • Rebuilding

          Well, that’s assuming he plays plus defense in the MI, and actually sticks there. He’s not doing the former and might not do the latter. I think it’s way to early to push the panic button, however. I still think this will do good things for him. At some point he had to learn that the HR was not the only option

          • SenorGato

            Why plus defense? If his bat crashes so much that he has to be a plus defender up the middle to give value then don’t really care about him. I think he’s lined up fine for 2B, where he’ll be competent or better.

            • Rebuilding

              I agree. My point was that if his bat crashes like Jackson he would need to play plus D even in the MI to make up for it

              • SenorGato

                If his bat fell that far, and that is a massive fall, then he’s no longer relevant to this rebuild. As an elite bat prospect still playing SS at the AAA level there is a relatively large amount of wiggle room for Baez.

    • Funn Dave

      Shit happens.

      I just hope good shit happens soon.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    Once again richard avina renteria shows you what a slug he is. 69 pitches takes out the shark,and by the way shark was due uo 3rd in the next inning. this guy is a joke. anyone for mike quade?????

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      (127 + 69) / 2 = 98

      Probably planned.

    • Kyle

      You realize there was an hour-long rain delay, right?

      That significantly changes how you treat your starting pitcher.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Thank you I’m not sure why people do y understand that. He had to warm up twice and that’s never good for a pitcher especially after the work he had during his last start.

  • Jon

    Well here we are at 12-23. I swear I think cashiers at McDonalds have more job accountability than Epstein and Hoyer. It’s amazing that the innovative FO in baseball can get away with an utter garbage product for another year.

    I’m convinced these two could take a dump in a brown paper bag and you would have a line around the corner to purchase it.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      It’s amazing how quiet you are after a win but here you are after a loss spewing away. Good night.

      • spearman

        Well, we are losing more than we are winning.
        So there’s more opportunities to get grumpy.

    • renegade4196

      Jon’s right. No effort to improve the team in the offseason, and it’s still a horse shit product. Cubs fans have a full right to be mad at Epstein and Hoyer.

      • mudge

        Which accomplishes what, exactly?

        • Karl Groucho

          Baseball existentialism, I like it.

          • Funn Dave

            haha

  • SenorGato

    Its impressive that Samardzija made it 6 on 69 pitches.

    • mudge

      Too bad Cubs didn’t get Tanaka. He could be 0-2 as well.

      • SenorGato

        I’ll get over it when they raid FA during the second half of the decade. Don’t want to get ahead of myself but if Fujinami is what I think he is then he’ll be a bigger deal than Tanaka was.

        • Brocktoon

          Fujinami likely won’t be posted until ~2019-2020.

          • SenorGato

            “The term of the new posting agreement is three years, continuing from year-to-year thereafter until either the Office of the Commissioner or the NPB gives notice of its intent to terminate the agreement one hundred and eighty days prior to the anniversary of the commencement of the agreement.”

            http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/mlb-npb-reach-agreement-on-posting-system?ymd=20131216&content_id=66013956

            Some shot that we see some dramatic changes to the posting system this decade. At worst, Fujinami is getting posted at 26 in 2020, and the current system can be renegotiated a good 4 years before that. I’m hoping for 2018.

            There’s also Chapman in 2017…That one’s going to be pretty big.

            • SenorGato

              Well I’m hoping for 2015, but since that can’t happen shooting for 2018.

              • Funn Dave

                But that’s…so long…from now……

                • SenorGato

                  Everything is, isn’t it? Except sucking…all we see is the sucking.

                  • SenorGato

                    *see and get right now

            • Brocktoon

              Well “at worst,” he blows out his arm and isn’t worth a dime. I can’t imagine any changes to the posting system putting more money in the Japanese team’s pocket, meaning the usual 7 years should be expected.

              He’s also got a ways to go before he’s Darvish/Tanaka level. Ultimately pinning hopes on a guy who has another 5.75 years of wear and tear on his arm before becoming available is silly.

              • SenorGato

                We both underestimated it – it’s 9 years. That said, I could see changes in the posting system that brings players over sooner. I don’t think the MLB is going to get lax about landing international talent.

                Duh and/or ya don’t say on all the other stuff.

                • SenorGato

                  That last agreement was further strong arming btw…The players want to get paid in the end, and the money is in the MLB.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Yes. People kept trying to say Tanaka wasn’t going to come over, but ultimately he did for a relative pittance in posting fee. The players will decide because, if not, the Japanese youngsters will just start skipping the Japanese league altogether

                    • Brocktoon

                      And do what? Sign as an IFA in MLB for a pittance?

                    • Rebuilding

                      I’m talking about the primo players. Those young guys will come over to the States and sign for IFA money because it’s more than what they get in Japan. Have you seen the Japanese salaries even once they are established stars? Let’s just say that Eloy Jimenez has more money in his back pocket than most of those guys will see until they become a Tanaka

                    • Brocktoon

                      Tanaka got the equivalent of a million dollar signing bonus 8 years ago. The difference isn’t really that drastic.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Yeah, actually the money difference is quite drastic. Tanaka was one of the most heralded Japanese amateurs to ever be bidded upon. It was a national obsession that took it that high. The MLB IFA pool for 2014-15 is over $75 million. I doubt Japanese teams have spent that much total in signing bonuses since the league started. You are just wrong

                    • Brocktoon

                      Only elite guys like Tanaka would come to the states from high school. The total MLB pool is irrelevant, what’s relevant is what the top IFAs are getting, which isn’t that great of a difference. Tanaka could’ve signed with a US team out of high school when there were no IFA limits, and he didn’t. What does that tell you?

                    • Rebuilding

                      It tells me that US teams don’t sign Japanese amateurs due to the posting system. Tanaka was a once in a decade player, so using his signing bonus is what is irrelevant – had MLB teams gotten involved it would have gotten much higher. If MLB teams start going after Japanese amateurs it would collapse the NPB – that’s why their owners were forced to take much lower posting fees in the recent agreement. For now the system works for everyone – Japanese amateurs play in Japan, if they are good they get posted, it’s a minor league for the MLB. However, if good players start getting denied the chance to come over when they want the system will collapse and MLB teams will start going after Japanese amateurs in the IFA process

                  • Brocktoon

                    The current players want to get paid. They don’t care about Japanese imports getting paid.

                    Regarding the 9 years, I was operating under the assumption of posting, though I guess if the fee gets even lower than the current 20M, teams may be more likely to ride out the full rookie contract. I don’t think MLB has any interest in circumventing Japanese player contracts. If the Japanese team isn’t willing to send the player over, there isn’t much MLB can do about it.

                  • Rebuilding

                    And right now the MLB has a hands-off policy with regards to Japanese amateurs due to the posting system. As I said during the Tanaka affair, if the Japanese teams start holding out when I guy wants to come over that will quickly change. You did notice that Tanaka came over for far less than what his team wanted right? Why? Because the league leaned on them so MLB would stay away from the Japanese amateurs

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        +1

  • cubfanincardinalland

    What have the Tom Ricketts cubs become? Since July 27 of last year, after they had dumped any salary possible, they are now 30-63. That’s a 32% winning percentage.
    Over a season, 52 and 110 losses. In the last 50 years of baseball, there are only 7 teams worse. Historically bad baseball. Please sell this team Ricketts family. A 400 mil profit awaits. Take the money and run.

    • SenorGato

      I like the Ricketts. They didn’t feed us stuff about all seasons being sacred and dual fronts and we have no money but wait Sanchez but wait Tanaka but wait…

    • Brocktoon

      .418 winning percentage under their ownership. Only the Astros have been worse.

    • Medicos

      Thanks for history lesson. If you think August and September of 2012 and 2013 were horrendous endings to the past 2 seasons, this year could easily be worse after the FO gets done “flipping” starting pitchers from this year’s staff.

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