Let's talk a bit about Emilio Bonifacio, shall we?
All right, all right. I know I was kind of down on this signing from the beginning, and despite his hot start he's been about what I expected -- a decent defensive player who can steal a few bases... if he can ever get on base, which he hadn't done much of since April, before he got hurt.
The Cubs almost certainly would like to trade him before July 31. I think "before" is critical, because Bonifacio's contract would almost certainly be claimed after that.
Bonifacio has played six rehab games. It seems quite possible that he'd be ready to return to the major leagues by Tuesday. What I'd like to see when that happens is for Junior Lake to be sent down. Either Bonifacio or Arismendy Alcantara could play outfield in Lake's place; Lake could get regular Triple-A playing time, and Bonifacio could play every day to entice a trade partner.
Sound logical to you?
Here are tonight's particulars.
Alcantara CF, Ruggiano RF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Castillo C, Lake LF, Olt 3B, Barney 2B, Wood P
I'm not sure how I feel about this lineup. Sure, it's good to have Alcantara leading off (given how he's hit so far), and Justin Ruggiano has been a hot hitter lately. But look at the 6-7-8 hitters. Travis Wood should be batting sixth in this lineup.
Inciarte CF, Hill 2B, Goldschmidt 1B, Trumbo LF, Montero C, Prado 3B, Ross RF, Ahmed SS, Miley P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Travis Wood's July has been ugly: 7.80 ERA and 2.067 WHIP in three starts covering only 15 innings (average: 5 IP per start). But, he did have an excellent outing against the Diamondbacks April 21 at Wrigley Field, throwing seven innings, allowing six hits, no walks and just one run, with nine strikeouts. A repeat of that would be a great way to start the second half.
Wade Miley threw five mediocre innings against the Cubs in the Wrigley 100th-anniversary game back on April 23. Ruggiano homered off him. He's had a mediocre year, but since July 1 has posted a 1.25 ERA and 0.785 WHIP in three starts. So, doom could happen tonight.
Today's game is on WGN.
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.