I'm back in Chicago and so will be watching this game at home this evening, as I do for most road games. It's a bit of a shock to the system to be in 40-degree weather after experiencing one of the warmest winters in Arizona history, and I do feel for those of you who suffered through one of the worst winters in Chicago history.
As for the Cubs, they'll try to even up their early-season record tonight in weather that's likely to be coolish. It'll be interesting to see what kind of crowd they draw at PNC tonight -- with the Pirates coming off a playoff year, ticket sales should be good there, even on a cool April evening.
Bonifacio 2B, Valbuena 3B, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Schierholtz RF, Sweeney CF, Castillo C, Kalish LF, Jackson P
I wouldn't take this lineup change as a sign of platooning or anything like it. I just think Ricky is going to mix-and-match a lot. That's good. I still don't think Starlin Castro should ever hit third, though.
Marte LF, Snider RF, McCutchen CF, Alvarez 3B, Martin C, Walker 2B, Ishikawa 1B, Mercer SS, Morton P
The Pirates, meanwhile, stick with their Opening Day lineup.
Today's Starting Pitchers
These two pitchers matched up July 6, 2013 at Wrigley Field. It was actually one of Edwin Jackson's better starts of the year, and I use the term "better" advisedly. The Cubs actually won the game! FWIW, of the 13 Cubs who played that day, five are no longer in the organization.
Jackson was mediocre this spring, except for his last outing, which was very good, primarily because he worked fast and threw strikes. Why he can't do this every time is beyond me -- he has talent and good stuff and if he has good command (fairly rare last year), he can be very good.
Let's hope for "very good" tonight.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus, check your cable listings.
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
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.
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 five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.