39 players are on 40-MAN ROSTER (one slot is open)
One player is on 15-DAY DL
One player has been DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT(does not count against 40-man roster)
Three players are on 60-DAY DL (do not count against 40-man roster)
13 players have been optioned to the minors
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* James Russell
* Travis Wood
# Dioner Navarro
* Anthony Rizzo
* Luis Valbuena
* Julio Borbon
* David DeJesus
* Nate Schierholtz
* Ryan Sweeney
15-DAY DL (1):
Shawn Camp, P
60-DAY DL (3):
Scott Baker, P
* Steve Clevenger, C-IF
Arodys Vizcaino, P
Alberto Cabrera, P
* Brett Jackson, OF
Junior Lake, IF-OF
Trey McNutt, P
* Brooks Raley, P
* Chris Rusin, P
Eduardo Sanchez, P
Dave Sappelt, OF
Jorge Soler, OF
Matt Szczur, OF
Christian Villanueva, 3B
Josh Vitters, 3B-1B
* Logan Watkins, INF
The Cubs take a five game winning streak back to the Friendly Confines and a chance to extend their five game lead in the Central with 19 of 28 games at home through the month of August. Marquis goes against the third best offense in the NL, but that was before the trades of Jason Bay and Xavier Nady.
Two Cubs trade rumors from this morning - the first comes from CBS Sportsline:
The Chicago Cubs, who already made a big splash with pitcher Rich Harden, are exploring deals to add a lefty-hitting right fielder. The Cubs have inquired about Seattle's Raul Ibanez, San Diego's Brian Giles and Kansas City's David DeJesus, according to sources.
The Cubs were able to secure wins over the Brewers big two, and now the Brewers will try and retaliate amidst our big three. Dempster goes for back-to-back road wins for the first time in seven years and looks to draw even with Zambrano for the team lead with twelve wins. A win for the Cubs tonight would also put them back up to twenty games over .500, which is a neat little number. Dempster will have to watch out for Ray Durham and Jason Kendall, both of whom are sporting OPS's over 1.000 against him over their careers.
It'll be Manny Parra for the Brewers, who I suppose makes the third leg of the Brewers troika (TCR word of the week sponsored by Motorola) of starting pitchers. He survived a brutal April and is 8-2 with a 3.40 ERA since the beginning of May. He has one career start versus the Cubs last August and lasted only three innings after giving up three runs in the second.
My apologies for lack of a game thread last night, I was out on a 3-day weekend celebrating seven years of marriage with the Angelfan wife. Many ask what our secret is (okay, no one does), and the answer? Marry a girl who likes baseball and doesn't mind if you check the scores on your cellphone during a sunset dinner at the beach. Lucky in love I am...
The Cubs need this game to preserve at least a tie for first place and to halve the four-game series. Marquis hasn't faced the Marlins this year, but was hit hard in each of his two starts against them last year. VandenHurk has never faced the Cubs, hasn't shown the ability to put up an ERA below six, and has as many major league innings pitched this year as Marquis has in his last one and a half starts. Fukudome bounces from eighth up to seventh.
In 9 PA Jeremy Hermida has a 1.083 OPS against Marquis. In as many PA, Ramirez has a 1.111 OPS against Marquis. Edmonds is the only Cub to have faced VandenHurk.
VandenHurk was born in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Its history dates back to its founding in 1232, is home of Philips light bulbs and Rik Smits.
Rise and shine, Cubbies. A 12:05 day game in Chicago sees Rich Harden looking for his first win as a Cub, the Cubs looking for reliable offense, and fans looking to maintain bragging rights over the charging Brewers. That's three more uses of the verb "looking" than I'd make if I wasn't rusty from yet another long hiatus.
Who is John Baker?
The biggest pregame news has to be Fontenot's promotion and Fukudome's demotion. This is by my quick count the second time this season Fukudome started a game in center, the first time Fontenot has started the game hitting fifth, likewise for Fukudome hitting eighth.
With Jeff Samardzija (last name = 29 Scrabble points) in a Major League uniform for the first time and the Brewers so close you can smell the Miller High Life and cannibal sandwiches on their breaths, the Cubs go for a second win in a row against the Fightin' Fish.
Kosuke Fukudome returns to the starting lineup, as does Mike Fontenot, who has gone 14-for-41 (.341) with four homers and a 1260 OPS since the first of July.
Word is that Kerry Wood will head to the disabled list afterall, although Gordon Wittenmeyer says a corresponding roster move may not come until tomorrow. That roster move may be bringing up Jeff Samardzija from Iowa, where's he 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA in six starts with 40 K's and 16 BB's in 37.1 IP. I look forward to it if it happens.
Otherwise, another lefty on the mound which gives another day to rest Fukudome and Edmonds, plus Soto gets a break. Hopefully the Friendly Confines live up to their billing as the Cubs try to hang on to sole possession of first place for another day.
The Cubs reach the century mark of the season that may mark their century-long run of futility. A little known fact is that they've lost the 100th game of every season since 1909 foreshadowing their 100-year drought (don't bother looking it up, I've posted it on the Internet, so it must be true)
The Cubs return to their personal Crystal Lake as they take on the Diamondbacks for the first time since the horrors of last October. Hopefully there will be less bloodshed this time around as they'll miss Brandon Webb and Dan Haren in this series. Of course, the Cubs missed Roy Oswalt the last series and look at the good that gone and did them. Wednesday's game will be the much anticpated Ted Lilly vs Doug Davis rematch though, sure to be carried on all major media outlets.
So while the Brewers and Cardinals beat up on each other in a four-game set, the Cubs get a chance to improve on their 22-8 record versus the NL West and a struggling Diamondbacks club, albeit a first-place club.
The Cubs and Astros meet in the middle game of their three-game series at Minute Maid.
Kosuke Fukudome, who is just 7-for-46 (.152) since the first of July and is hitting just .254 AVG/ .351 SLG/ .377 OBP/ 728 OPS since his average was a season high .357 back in late April, 72 games ago, drops down to the seventh spot in the order against the lefty Rodriguez.
Otherwise, Jim Edmonds sits against the southpaw, Reed Johnson starts in center, and once again, we all get to pretend that Mark DeRosa can play the outfield.
Zambrano is making his third start since his visit to the DL. In the first two, against the Cards and Reds, he allowed just one run and five hits over 14 innings.
The second half is upon us and the Cubs trot out Ted Lilly to start it...for some reason. I assume it was to give Z and Dempster an extra day after their All-Star appearances and to limit Rich Harden as much as possible before he goes on a 27 inning scoreless streak in the playoffs. Nonetheless, Lilly's homer-happy ways will be on display tonight with the ever-present Crawford boxes looming in short left field. If he can manage a win, he'll join Dempster and Zambrano in the 10-win club.
Hot Sheet Chat:
What is Jorge Soler's upside and or MLB comp? Thanks
Jim Shonerd: Scouts do worry about his swing mechanics a bit, but overall he’s got plenty of power and blends it with a feel for hitting. His offense was in a bit of funk after he got back from his suspension, but now he’s hitting .324 in May and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end the year in Double-A.