#Cubs lineup vs Braves

The Cubs open a three-game series against the Braves at Wrigley Field on Friday. Jon Lester gets the start against rookie Aaron Blair with first pitch scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Heyward RF

Zobrist 2B

Rizzo 1B

Soler LF

Baez 3B

Russell SS

Ross C

Lester P



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We`ve been playing a string of bottom-feeders of late. I include the Reds, Brewers, and now the Braves, who may very well be the most pathetic of all. In fact, that is the case. Atlanta has the lamest win/loss record of any team in baseball. You`ll recall Joe Maddon last season emphasizing it is best for the Cubs when we are challenged by the very best teams in the league. We can`t control the schedule. The league office dealt us this hand. Is it just me, or does it feel as though there are more teams than normal looking to tank this season?

Aloha jhosk, boy the Braves played one heck of a game today. I know I have been critical at times of Lester’s performance but his last 2-3 outtings have been tremendous. It is tough to be pitching so well and not getting the offense necessary to win these close games. Kudos to LaStella getting it going in the 8th, followed by Rizzo’s big clutch hit then by Szczur’s slam (Matt B. must be ecstatic)! Take caRe now. Mahalo!

Thanks for the input, k.g. Did not see or hear any of today`s game. Sounds as if the former Nova football and baseball star has earned a start in left field in the near future. Joe Maddon recently commented that Tommy L. thrives on 1-2 counts. Would like to know what the count was when he doubled today. Perhaps Tommy has earned more starts as well. Sounds as though Lester deserved the W today. Our friend, Pedro, received it instead, and judging by the box score, he was stellar in his one inning. Is good to hear Bryant was seen on deck at one point.

Aloha jhosk- I have been amazed at these games because of the temperature and the wind. Addison had some very good swings today that on a nice warm summer day, I think the ball goes out but not today. The Braves pitcher did a good job against the lineup. Also, this was one of those games whereby both teams are playing well, pitching-defense. I mean both the Braves and Cubs had chances in the 7th to score and came out with nothing. Lester’s 7th inning was gritty! I am glad the team had to play in one of these games, forget that the Braves are at the bottom and the Cubs are 1st in their division, through 7innings it was anybody’s game. I was listening to the radio broadcast via the MLB app, which I must say has made my work days more pleasant! I was a little down after LaStella ph’s a lead-off double in the 8th, to get thrown out at 3rd on a bunt by Fowler. Have to give the pitcher kudos as he made a heck of a play to throw out LaStella instead of going to 1st for the sure out. So Fowler is on first then the patience set in and Heyward is walked. Zobrist gets a hit, bases loaded. Then Rizzo! I know we talk a lot about the other folks but I have to give Rizzo props, Mr. Clutch! Gets a hit, now has 24rbi’s in 22 games! Not done yet: bases loaded Matt B’s guy is up – Matt S and bye bye Grand Slam! Today is why my wife in 2010 coined the phrase “Torture-Ball!” Back to your question about LF: All the teams out there know to throw Soler “junk-breaking” stuff because he will just sit on the fastballs. You know I like him very much but now is the time for him to make the concerted effort to learn how to adjust and hit the breaking balls because we all know at this point in the season Matt S. is a much better defender so Soler needs to get his bat going or Szczur is going to see a lot more playing time as it should be. Nothing should come by way of entitlement, it is earned. You take care now. Mahalo!

I hear you loud and clear, k.g. Those 24 rbi by Anthony are more than impressive. I thought about commenting last week about how amazing it was that Harper had 22 rbi or so at the time, but Bryce has done precious little since. It`s time for Mat B to contribute here. We`ve been praising his boy, and it`s well deserved praise, but now is the time for Mat B to step up and give us his views on these subjects. I agree with you, k.g., that Jorge (Maddon calls him Georgie), needs to show us something. He was very impressive with his plate discipline in the 2015 playoffs, but Soler has regressed since then. { I`m wanting that new catcher to play good defense Saturday. Forget about offense. We should have plenty of that to cover Fed or Feds or however the new man wants to be identified.} Call a good game, and have chemistry with the pitcher, and avoid passed balls, and it will be all good. The position players will provide all the offense we need, I`m confident.

Any other observations you care to make re: today`s game are much appreciated. Am not seeing a ton of production from our left field position of late, and is why I suggest Matt S. should be tried there. {One more thing regarding Matt: wonder what it`s like to have a name which reads like an eye test, and is pronounced nowhere close to the way it`s spelled.}

I have been out of the loop today, as I attended my brother’s wedding in a forest meadow south of Albuquerque. I am thrilled for the kid. I really think he could do more if given more opportunity.

Aloha Mat B! Great to hear from you and Omedetou (Congratulations) to your brother and new sister-in-law! I think Szczur has earned a spot. It was great listening to Maddon on the after game program (radio) speak about him and how he has seen him grow and mature such that he knew this season he should be in the bigs. I think Szczur could play all the outfield positions if need be; he is showing that hunger and vigor that he wants to be in there and is willing to adapt to what Maddon throws at him. This is all positive and I know it is hard not having Schwarber in the lineup but the positive that is coming out of that tough situation is that not only can Szczur come in and play defense well but is contributing at the plate! All good as I say. You take care now. Mahalo!

Thank you and mahalo!

Are you referencing your brother, Mat B, or Matt Szczur? (smiling) Also, isn’t the minor league club in Albuquerque called the “Isotopes”? If true, I more than like that. Best wishes to your brother and his bride, Mat B.

My brother is the 8 1/2 years older than me. I’m 49, so I was referencing the young Mr. Szczur, but yes I’m thrilled for my brother, too!

Isotopes is correct, Rockies AAA team.

Thanks, jasper. The team the Cubs play after the Pirates is not shabby either. Did you notice how they abused Cardinals this weekend?

Aloha Folks- Gosh, these rain-outs stink! I think last year there were many of those too. Not to disparage any team but when you have an opportunity against teams like the Brewers and Braves early on, you want those games. I will have to say the Braves played very well against our Cubbies but have to take into account that Montero is out, Bryant was out a couple of games too. This series against the Pirates is crucial now and am glad that Maddon is keeping the guys “loose.” By the way jhosk, the gentleman you have brought up many times as a possible trade candidate across town, C. Sale I see is now 6-0! And has a 4-1 ratio of strikes to walks. The cross-town series in July will be a lot of fun (and it is just before the trade deadline)! Take care now. Mahalo!

Sorry I did not see this sooner.
No jhosk, did not notice the Cardinal games. I believe with all their problems: Commissioner still needs to discipline the cards Organization for the IT information theft from the Astros.
Now Carlos Martinez being sued on a matter that MLB may have to step in.
Their falling apart.

Yes, k.g. The possibility of Sale being available was contingent on the White Sox falling out of contention, was my understanding. Since his team is out of the gate almost as impressively as the Cubs, that looks unlikely. But given the season is still in its infancy, much can happen between now and late July. Sale was a long-shot under any circumstances. That starting pitcher who flummoxed the Cubs for seven innings Sunday,Teheran, was also on that list, if memory serves. He may be a more realistic possibility. Do you think the organization and Cubs` fans would find him attractive? {This fan is at a disadvantage, as I did not see yesterday`s game.}

Aloha jhosk- Good points. I do not wish bad things on the WSox and I am sure they would want a “haul” for Sale like the Padres got for Kimbrel which I would stay away from. Teheran is pretty good too. I am biased, I still think Gray would be a good fit with this current team. I also felt bad for Cole tonight, he is a very good pitcher and still only 25yrs old! I think I remember hearing here in my area that he is engaged to Brandon Crawford’s sister but I “digressed!” I was thinking how a Cole might work into the Cubs rotation and working with Bosio and being around veterans like Lackey and Lester. Still holding out that Hendricks can get things together this year, we will see. I just hope the team can keep the injuries to a minimum and low in severity. Playing in the cold is not fun. Take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g., if Hendricks and Hammel both pitch consistently well this season, there will be no need to trade for a Sale, or a Teheran, or a Gray or anyone else before the trade deadline. The Pirates imploded in that fifth inning tonight, and that was the turning point according to the four Pirates` post-game commentators I saw on the Root Network tonight. They included former hurlers Kent Tekulve and Bob Walk. They also observed how the Cubs were aggressive with their base running and base stealing, and suggested the Pirate manager and coaches come up with a strategy to counter the Cubs tomorrow and Wednesday. Tekulve pointed out how Baez went from first to third on a single to left field, and one does not see that often. I agree Cole deserved a better fate. The way his infielder, Harrison, tossed the ball over the catcher`s head trying to nail Szczur at the dish was unacceptable. {On another subject, I`m wanting Ross to reconsider his decision to retire after this season. I`m serious about this. I think he may have based his decision on last year`s .176 batting average. He`s getting some big knocks this season, and he plays excellent defense. You saw it tonight. (Rossy is not that guy who comes to a party at your house, stays too long and becomes obnoxious, and everyone wants him gone. We know he`s concerned about becoming that guy, but no worries.) He`s good for at least one more season of valuable contributions, I`m confident. What do y`all think?}

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