Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Sunday 9/9, 12:35 CT

Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder David DeJesus singles in the game-winning run against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Chicago Cubs won 4-3. Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Steve Clevenger made some comments about his one-game suspension. Let's examine them, shall we?

"The benches clear and things happen," Clevenger said. "… We'll go from there and I accept responsibility… for my actions in the pile. … I have a responsibility to protect my players, my pitchers, and I felt like I handled myself fine."

Clevenger was caught throwing an errant punch at shortstop Ian Desmond and was ejected from the game.

Well, I dunno. The whole thing escalated unnecessarily, in my opinion, and "throwing an errant punch"? At someone who had nothing to do with it? I'm thinking that wasn't very smart on Clevenger's part and might get him an unwanted reputation around the league.

But hey, that's old news. The Cubs could actually sweep a road series for the first time this year. (Yes, I know. Don't hold your breath.)

Cubs lineup:

Mather CF, Barney 2B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Vitters 3B, Sappelt RF, Recker C, Rusin P

I don't even know what to say about these lineups any more. "Insert other-split-squad joke here" doesn't even cut it with this one.

Pirates lineup:

Holt 2B, Marte LF, McCutchen CF, Jones RF, Sanchez 1B, Alvarez 3B, McKenry C, Barmes SS, Locke P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Chris Rusin
Chris Rusin
Cubs
vs. Jeff Locke
Jeff Locke
Pirates
0-2 W-L 0-1
9.00 ERA 4.82
5 SO 7
3 BB 1
2 HR 1
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Chris Rusin 0-2 2 2 0 0 0 0 6.0 9 6 6 2 3 5 9.00 2.00


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jeff Locke 0-1 3 1 0 0 0 0 9.1 8 5 5 1 1 7 4.82 .96

Chris Rusin has made one good start and one bad one. I'd really like to see him succeed; he appears to have the mental makeup part down. Now it's just up to him to put that into practice.

Jeff Locke made four starts for the Pirates last year, and didn't do very well (6.48 ERA). He's made three appearances and one start for the Pirates this year, and has been better. He had a very good year at Triple-A Indianapolis (2.48 ERA). He's never faced the Cubs; the only player on the Cubs roster he has faced is Dave Sappelt (1-for-2). This is a pretty clear case of doom.

(Oh, and just how old does Locke look in that photo? I'm saying 14.)

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 12:35 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 1:35, 2:35 and 3:20 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section. Also please note: due to some under-the-hood changes, the sidebar box with the game thread links is no longer available. It seems you've found them with no problems, but if you haven't been able to find the overflow threads, click the "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" link under "Sections" on the left sidebar. They're all in there.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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