Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Saturday 5/28, 12:05 CT: The Return Of Randy Wells

Just what is Tony Campana of the Chicago Cubs afraid of? (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Well, at least there's that -- the Cubs are back up to 60% of their Opening Day starting rotation with the return of Randy Wells this afternoon to face the Pirates. I am struck by the sadness of "celebrating" the fact that "only" two of the Cubs' five original starters are now on the DL. That, unfortunately, is all I've got today. Casey Coleman is returning to Iowa to make room on the 25-man roster for Wells.

How about some nostalgia instead? On May 28, 1977, 34 years ago today, also a Saturday, the Cubs beat the Pirates 6-3 to move into first place in the NL East. After three down years, the Cubs began to get hot right around this time of year. They finished a three-game sweep of the Pirates the next day and stayed in first place until early August. The rest of that season -- perhaps best not discussed.

Oh, and it was 76 degrees and sunny that day. The National Weather Service says it's going to be 75 today; I'll believe that when I see it. And there's a chance of rain. Again.

Cubs lineup:

Campana cf, Barney 2b, Castro ss, Ramirez 3b, Soriano lf, Montanez rf, Pena 1b, Hill c, Wells p

Pirates lineup:

Tabata lf, Jones rf, McCutchen cf, Walker 2b, Overbay 1b, Pearce 3b, Snyder c, Cedeno ss, Maholm p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
vs. Paul Maholm
Paul Maholm
1-0 W-L 1-7
1.50 ERA 3.65
6 SO 44
4 BB 25
1 HR 4
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Randy Wells 1-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 6 1 1 1 4 6 1.50 1.67

2011 - Paul Maholm 1-7 10 10 0 0 0 0 61.2 55 27 25 4 25 44 3.65 1.30

Randy Wells made just one start this year before going on the DL. He faced the Pirates three times last year and had two pretty good starts and one really bad one, where he gave up six runs and didn't get out of the second inning. Lifetime vs. Pittsburgh he has a 3.46 ERA in five starts covering 26 innings and Andrew McCutchen is the Pirate who has touched him up most: 6-for-11, a double, a triple.

Paul Maholm started the second game of this season vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He threw 6.2 shutout innings, but the Cubs won (the only win in that series) by touching up the Pittsburgh bullpen for five runs. He made four starts vs. the Cubs last year and won three of them. He's been hit hard by Jeff Baker (7-for-14, four doubles), Starlin Castro (5-for-11, two doubles) and Reed Johnson (7-for-11, 2 doubles). I could add that Aramis Ramirez has homered twice off him, but that would be an act of pure optimism. The last HR Ramirez hit off Maholm was in 2007 and the only one he's hit this year was off Armando Galarraga, who has been DFA'd.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 12 noon CDT and the overflow threads will post at 1 pm, 2 pm and 2:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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