Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Monday 8/1, 6:05 CT: Hello, Derrek Lee

Well, this is unexpected. After Derrek Lee signed with the Orioles last offseason, I figured this was his last year, and since the Cubs weren't playing Baltimore this year, I thought we wouldn't see him again.

Surprise! D-Lee is now a Pirate, although according to some tweets yesterday, some Pirates personnel weren't real happy that he chose not to take the quick train ride from New York (where the Orioles were playing) to Philadelphia, where the Pirates spent the weekend. Instead, as is his right, he chose to wait until tonight.

Lee's not having a good year, but since July 8 he is hitting .309/.356/.632 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 18 games. Maybe they figure that having him in a pennant race -- he did pretty well with the Braves last August and September -- will help energize him.

In any case, now we get to see D-Lee seven more times, starting with the four-game series which begins tonight -- with him batting cleanup for the Pirates. Lee gave the Cubs three outstanding seasons, two decent ones, one injured one and half a bad one before he was traded last year. He was a big part of two division title teams. I'll always remember him fondly.

Cubs lineup:

Johnson RF, Castro SS, Baker 3B, Soto C, Byrd CF, Soriano LF, Pena 1B, Barney 2B, Zambrano p

Pirates lineup:

McCutchen cf, Jones rf, Walker 2b, Lee 1b, Ludwick lf, Alvarez 3b, Cedeno ss, McKenry c, Maholm p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Paul Maholm
Paul Maholm
Pirates
7-6 W-L 6-10
4.59 ERA 3.16
87 SO 88
49 BB 45
12 HR 10
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Carlos Zambrano 7-6 22 21 0 0 0 0 129.1 133 68 66 12 49 87 4.59 1.41


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Paul Maholm 6-10 22 22 1 1 0 0 139.2 129 54 49 10 45 88 3.16 1.25

I have little idea what to say about Carlos Zambrano any more, so I'm not going to try. He and Paul Maholm matched up on April 2 at Wrigley Field. Z pitched pretty well, but Maholm was better that day. The Cubs wound up winning that game after Maholm was taken out. Z's Pirate nemesis is Garrett Jones (5-for-12, .417, two home runs).

Paul Maholm has faced the Cubs two other times this season and won the other two games, one of them a CG shutout on May 28 at Wrigley Field. His ERA in 23.1 innings vs. the Cubs this year is 0.39 (one earned run); he's given up just 12 hits and two walks in those innings, while striking out 15. Clearly -- even more clearly than usual -- we are doomed.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus. "Check local listings". It's also on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh -- you may wind up with that feed if you have Extra Innings. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6:05 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 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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