The Cubs look to sweep the 2 game set today with a win and the Cubs are sending out Carlos Villanueva, who has been solid this year, but his last two starts have not been as good. He'll need to find that earlier magic for the Cubs to have a shot today against the even hotter Jake Westbrook (2-1, 1.07 ERA).
Day game following a night game so the catcher Welington Castillo and the achy-kneed Alfonso Soriano get the day off. Interestingly, so does the slumping Darwin Barney. Luis Valbuena moves to 2B and Cody Ransom gets the start at 3B.
Also, this is the Cubs starting debut of OF Ryan Sweeney.
News and Notes:
- Dale Sveum has named Kevin Gregg the closer.
- Travis Wood's quality start was his 7th consecutive to start the year, the most by a Cubs LHP since Johnny Schmitz in 1948, who also started with 7. Schmitz went on to go 18-13 with a 2.64 ERA that year, made the all-star team, and finished 12th in the MVP voting.
- Top hitters against Jake Westbrook are Starlin Castro (.318/.348/.364 in 22 ABs) and David DeJesus (.281/.378/.375 in 32 ABs). Neither are at an .800 OPS and the Cubs as a team have hit .223/.280/.273 vs. the big RHP.
- In case you are still tracking the career of Carlos Zambrano, he has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.
- DeJesus CF
- Castro SS
- Valbuena 2B
- Rizzo 1B
- Schierholtz RF
- Sweeney LF
- Navarro C
- Ransom 3B
- Villanueva P
John: The top of the order needs to get on base. It's probably going to be tough to score runs the way Westbrook is pitching so I want to see the Cubs work counts, get on base, and chip away. Hopefully they get to that soft Cardinals middle relief core.
Felzz: Bullpen- With Sveum "naming" Gregg the closer, everyone appears to be in a role. With Marmol probably the only person not available and an off day coming, Sveum will be able to use what he believes are his optimum match ups today. Hopefully everyone called on steps up.
Tom: Want to see how Kevin Gregg handles the closer's role now that it is officially his to lose.
Filed under: Preview and Game Thread