Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Wednesday 4/3, 6:05 CT: Going For Two!

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The undefeated Cubs go for two straight. (Hey, how often are the Cubs undefeated?)

ON THE ROAD IN NEW MEXICO -- I was talking to my dad after Monday's win over the Pirates. He told me he had watched some of the game via WGN, and then said he thought the Cubs would win their first five games of the season. Why? No reason, just a hunch.

Certainly that's possible -- anything is in baseball -- but I had to check. When have the Cubs ever started 5-0? None of their pennant-winning teams from 1945 or earlier did that; neither have any of the six postseason teams in the divisional-play era.

The only Cubs team in the modern (post-1900) era to start 5-0 is the 1934 team, which held first place for most of April and May before fading and finishing third. Still, that team went 86-65, which would equate to 92 wins in a 162-game season.

Are this year's Cubs going to do that? Nope. Are they going to start 5-0? Probably not, but if they do, remember where you heard it first.

Cubs lineup:

Sappelt CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Hairston RF, Castillo C, Lillibridge 3B, Gonzalez 2B, Jackson P

Pirates lineup:

Marte LF, Jones RF, McCutchen CF, Alvarez 3B, Sanchez 1B, Walker 2B, Martin C, Barmes SS, Rodriguez P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson


Cubs

vs. Wandy Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez


Pirates

vs. Pit

--

vs. Cubs

Edwin Jackson is making his Cubs debut. He faced the Pirates once in 2012, throwing seven solid innings May 8 in Pittsburgh before his bullpen blew the game for him. He should feel right at home here, then. Lifetime vs. the Pirates -- one of the few teams he hasn't played for -- he's 4-0 in six starts with a 3.03 ERA and 1.267 WHIP in 38⅔ innings.

Hello again, Wandy. The Cubs are quite familiar with him, having faced him 22 times when he was with the Astros; Wandy has a career 3.74 ERA and 1.318 WHIP against the Cubs, somewhat lower than his career averages. Last year he posted a 2.25 ERA against the Cubs in three starts covering 20 innings. But this year the Cubs have a new weapon against Wandy! Scott Hairston is 7-for-19 (.368) lifetime against Wandy with three doubles and two home runs.

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.

Here's how we're going to do game threads this year, as it seems to have worked well during spring training. 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.

As has been the case during spring training, 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 game time, then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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