Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Thursday 4/3, 11:35 am CT

Justin K. Aller

The Cubs look to salvage one game of their three-game set in Pittsburgh.

A couple of notes from Carrie:

And...

Let's hope this does not get to 1997 level. That year, if you recall, the Cubs started 0-14, which is a franchise and league record. They had trouble scoring runs during that streak, too, as they have so far this year: in the 14 losses, they scored just 36 runs (allowing 82) and got shut out twice.

Also, rain endangers this game. The next time the Cubs are in Pittsburgh is a four-game series June 9-12. It might be better if this game were called and that became a five-game set.

Cubs lineup:

Bonifacio CF, Castro SS, Ruggiano RF, Rizzo 1B, Lake LF, Olt 3B, Barney 2B, Baker C, Hammel P

Let's see how Starlin Castro does batting second. (I'm guessing: better.) All RH hitters except for Anthony Rizzo and John Baker, and Baker's in there because this is a day game after a night game, and Welington Castillo caught 16 innings last night.

The Pirates lineup was not available at posting time.

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel


Cubs

vs. Wandy Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez


Pirates

vs. Pit

--

vs. Cubs

Jason Hammel last faced the Pirates April 30, 2011, when he was a member of the Rockies. Andrew McCutchen homered off Hammel that day -- but that was the only run the Bucs scored off Hammel, who otherwise threw seven strong innings. We'd take that today, I think.

Other than Bronson Arroyo, Wandy Rodriguez is probably the active pitcher the Cubs have faced most, with his entire career in the NL Central. He's got 24 career starts vs. the Cubs and 150 innings, with a 3.60 ERA and 1.267 WHIP. Last year, in two starts, those numbers were 2.13 and 0.711. Current Cubs are 23-for-94 (.245) against Wandy with one home run (Justin Ruggiano). Doom? Maybe.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. In some parts of the USA this game will be on MLB Network, check your cable/satellite listings.

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.

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.

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