#Cubs and Hammel face White Sox

The Cubs vs. White Sox Interleague series shifts to Wrigley Field on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Montero C

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Baez 2B

Hammel P

With a win, Jason Hammel would match his career high of 10 wins done four times, including last season with the Cubs. He has a 2.81 ERA in his last three starts, and is holding opponents to a .182 average in that stretch.

The White Sox won the first two games of this four-game, home and road intracity series, and since 1997, have a 49-57 lead in the series.




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Tonight’s game at Wrigley is on TV in Brazil. Hate to say it, but I’m starting to get those old long-time Cubs fan “Oh, no…” feelings again. Things have got to get better, right?

Aloha Bruce! The following gives me some hope, not saying that anyone is listening to us but jasper/jhosk/TomnTx/Jason and myself have been saying it was time for Maddon to set a lineup and stick with it. Now we wish that Zobrist would bat #2 and be followed by Bryant/Rizzo. I also am happy to see Russell in the #6 slot followed by Heyward at #7. Still not set as we may like it but hoping the offense comes tonight and Hammel can go deep in the game. Hope you are healing well! Take care now. Mahalo!

.228 with 28 RBI in 346 at bats
.292 with 19 RBI in 106 at bats
I’d like to see the second one get a couple starts a week.

I’m thinking that “our turn to go through the down/slump stretch” should be done with, like now! All the hitters we’ve got and lucky to scratch across a run, has the team philosophy if you will, changed hitting approach wise? Getting shut down by some pretty bad teams, need some changes somewhere. Chapman will be of very little use if they can’t get a lead and a couple of those good prospects will be talent lost.

The Cubs are 7-5 in their last 12 games, which includes wins against the Pirates, Rangers and Mets, so despite their shutout last night, they have been playing better against better opponents (especially considering that in their 12 games before the previous 12 games, they were only 3-9). Now baseball is a funny game and anyone can beat anyone on any given day, but tonight is definitely the most winnable game in the series. They’re back at home with Hammel on the mound, the Sox can’t use the DH, and their starter is making just his 10th career start and has a career ERA of 6.33. This is the type of game where you would expect the Cubs to win 10-3. Let’s hope Hammel is on his game and that the offense doesn’t get stymied by a pitcher who clearly belongs in AAA.

And who is Hammel’s mound opponent tonight?

Anthony Ranaudo, who is making his Sox debut. He’s 26 years old, so not exactly a prospect. Made 7 starts with the Red Sox in 2014 with a 4.81 ERA. In 2015 he was with Texas, made only 4 appearances and had a 7.63 ERA. This year he pitched in two games for Texas in May and gave up 7 runs in 3.2 innings. His worst outing of the two actually came against the White Sox on May 10 where he walked 5 and gave up 5 runs in just an inning and a third. Lifetime he has a 6.33 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 13 appearances (9 starts) spanning 58.1 innings. He also averages less than a strike out every two innings, so a lot of balls get put in play against him. Again, baseball is a funny sport and anyone can beat anyone on any given day, but this is a game you would expect the Cubs to win. Even I, who as you know tends to lean on the optimistic Cubs side, would be let down if the offense fails to get going against this guy!

Thank you Doug, I was told it would Sale.
Maybe they can take one.

Aloha jasper, tomorrow night’s game is Sale vs Lackey! Mahalo!

At least on paper, it is likely to be another game when Chapman`s services will not be required. That`s not necessarily something to be lamented, assuming we are the team with a wide lead in the ninth, and not the Pale Hose.

Aloha jhosk, remember that pitcher for the Brewers back in May that had an era over 8.00?! He was no hitting our Cubs through 6/7innings I believe. We have talked a lot about this in the past month+, especially since June 5th, look at how many losses came at the expense of pitchers with no to little mlb experience and /or high era’s. The lineup needs to set and batters made to understand that their approach at the plate is important; be patient stop swinging freely and run the pitch counts up. Batters will also start to see better pitches to hit. Let us hope for the best tonight. Mahalo.

That`s more like it. As Rick Sutcliffe has been telling us for a long while, Javier Baez needs to be a regular every day player in this lineup.

Aloha jhosk- I have often wondered if Maddon would try Baez in the OF because they had him working on it in the off-season/pre-season. I think an OF of Baez-Fowler-Szczur would be pretty good and no worst defensively then last year towards the end when it was mainly Schwarber-Fowler-Soler. The former would be quite an upgrade, play-wise to the later. I do hope that Heyward can turn things around but if not and production is needed as it has been hard at times for this offense to get going, why not have Matt S start some games in Right? Also, I think Baez is good enough of an athletic that he can play Left. This way, they could get back to the regular infield of B-R-Z-R that was playing defense so well in the first half but still have a bat like Baez even Szczur in the lineup. I think this kind of a lineup would also force them to use Contreras more behind the plate and that is not necessarily a bad thing when you have your main four playing infield because they can help the young backstop too. Well, as jasper had mentioned about Russell feeling very comfortable in the 6th slot, he came through big time and Baez before that. And kudos to Baez as he made adjustments to get him to that place for that ab. Let’s hope some of this momentum carries over to tomorrow as it will be a big challenge against Sale but one they need to overcome because he is the very type of pitcher that will be seen more often in the playoffs (the goods ones). Lackey needs to bounce back in a huge way and pitch like he did at the beginning of the season; that would provide a huge lift. Lastly, kudos to Hammel. I know we have all discussed how he runs out of “gas” in the second half and today was not an easy day to pitch but he did it and went 7innings for a quality start! Take care now. Mahalo!

K.g., do not want to put down any ideas, but I like Heyward 9th at this point. He has proved his defensive skills in RF & CF, he is very valuable out there. Bat him 9th like Russell last year and Almora this year. He will eventually get back on track.

Aloha Jasper! I forgot to mention and meant to say on the days that Heyward plays in CF or out of the lineup, bring in Szczur. I also agree with you about placing him in the 9th slot to take the pressure off of him. I still think Baez would do just fine in Left. Thank you for that as I did not mean to say no more to Heyward, just that even a lineup of Baez-Fowler-Szczur is a big upgrade defensively over Schwarber-Fowler-Soler. Take care now now! Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. I do think Baez could excel defensively in the outfield if he put his mind to it, just as he excels at all the infield positions, including first base where he has filled in for Rizzo infrequently. Someone once asked Mickey Mantle if he ever approached an `at bat` with the intent to clout a home run. Mickey replied that he tried to go deep with every plate appearance. I have the distinct impression that is Javier`s approach too. Almost every swing he takes is a home run swing. He tries to “kill the ball” as we have often heard said when we were learning the game. We were taught to “just meet the ball.” Javier`s defenders will say he`s met with success with his current mindset at the dish, thank you, but I suggest he could possibly be even more successful offensively by making adjustments. As for tonight`s game, we will have our hands filled with Sale. You have to conclude the starting pitching matchup favors the Pale Hose. {Lackey has not won a game since June, if memory serves.} Perhaps Sale`s bizarre conduct over the weekend and its aftermath will throw him off his game, or perhaps he`ll be traded between now and game time, but I would not count on either. After tonight`s game, we could be looking at a record of 1-3 in this current Crosstown series. Sorry I can`t be more optimistic, but Chris Sale is one of the elite arms in the game, and to paraphrase something Yogi might say, “Pitching is 90% of the game, and the other half is offense.” (smiling)

Aloha jhosk, I remember you bringing up Sale last year as a possible trade; he is an elite pitcher and Lackey has to return to pre-June form as his era is almost 6 the past 1.5 months. I hear you on Baez and his swing. Mantle could get away with his swings because of his physical strength (remember too bats weighed more back then) but from early on Mantle also showed a maturity at the plate, as seen by his high averages during his prime years. Maddon and coaches need to reiterate to Baez that he can become a very good contact hitter with some pop. What that means is less ko’s, more bb’s, more hits, more runs scored but less hr’s. Wouldn’t that be better for the team? I hope he succeeds as well as the rest of the team. Take care now. Mahalo!

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