Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Monday 7/30, 7:05 CT

Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs yells as he runs the bases after hitting a two-run, walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 4-2 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As of the time I finished writing this post (about an hour before posting time, 5 p.m. CT), Ryan Dempster was still a member of the Chicago Cubs. (As was everyone else who has been a subject of trade rumors.)

22 hours to go. If Dempster is traded before or during (unlikely) the game, Josh will make a front-page post as soon as possible after any announcement.

I know there isn't really anything else you want to talk about, is there? Except that the Cubs are having one of their best months in recent years. They are 14-9 in July; winning tonight and tomorrow night would make them 16-9. That would be their best calendar month since they went 17-9 in September 2010 under Mike Quade.

Oh. Right. Which means going 16-9 this month would probably mean... not much at all, unless they could sustain that through the rest of the season.

Trivia: this is the latest in any season that the Pirates have made their first visit to Wrigley Field.

Cubs lineup:

Johnson CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Baker RF, Soto C, Barney 2B, Mather 3B, Germano P

Pirates lineup:

Marte LF, Presley RF, McCutchen CF, Jones 1B, Walker 2B, Alvarez 3B, McKenry C, Barmes SS, Bedard P

This is the first game in major-league history in which a Starlin (Castro) and a Starling (Marte) are both in the starting lineups.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Justin Germano
Justin Germano
Cubs
vs. Erik Bedard
Erik Bedard
Pirates
0-1 W-L 5-11
3.00 ERA 4.32
1 SO 93
0 BB 45
0 HR 9
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Justin Germano 0-1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3.0 5 1 1 0 0 1 3.00 1.67


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Erik Bedard 5-11 19 19 0 0 0 0 100.0 100 51 48 9 45 93 4.32 1.45

That's the only decent photo of Justin Germano available to me, taken in spring training 2011 when he was with the Indians. He's made one appearance as a Cub, a decent three-inning relief appearance against the Cardinals after Matt Garza was injured a week ago Sunday. He has never faced the Pirates, and the only current Pirate with more than a single AB against him is Clint Barmes (2-for-4). Maybe this unfamiliarity will work in his favor.

Erik Bedard is leading the NL in losses, but that didn't stop him from shutting down the Cubs with just one run in seven innings a week ago today in Pittsburgh, with 11 strikeouts. It occurs to me that Bedard is the perfect Pittsburgh Pirate -- just add a few "r"s to that last name and you get a great Pirate pronunciation: Bedarrrrrrrrrrrd. (We need some humor around here, right?)

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

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 post at 7:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 8:05, 9:05 and 9:50 p.m. 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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