Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Wednesday 6/11, 6:05 CT

Justin K. Aller

Weather permitting, the Cubs and Bucs will play another night game at PNC Park.

Two years ago, in the first year of the Theo Epstein regime, the Cubs set a franchise record for most players used -- 53. That record had stood since 1966 (49 players). Last year, they broke that mark, using 56 players, just three short of the major-league record. Some of these guys, you probably forgot even played for the Cubs during those two seasons: Blake Lalli, Adrian Cardenas, Jairo Asencio, Miguel Socolovich, Eduardo Sanchez, Alex Burnett, Thomas Neal.

That seems to be changing. Through yesterday's games, only two teams had used fewer players this year than the Cubs, and both of those teams are in first place -- the Giants and Braves, who have used just 29 players.

The Cubs, tied with three other teams (Brewers, Tigers, Reds) have used just 32 players so far, and don't seem on track to break the 50 mark again this year. Whether this is due to lack of injuries or lack of available players or both, who knows? But, the massive roster swaps of the last two years seem to have come to an end.

For whatever that's worth.

Cubs lineup:

Coghlan LF, Ruggiano CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Schierholtz RF, Baker C, Barney 2B, Hammel P

Well, that's... different.

Pirates lineup:

Harrison 2B, Polanco RF, McCutchen CF, Davis 1B, Martin C, Alvarez 3B, Marte LF, Mercer SS, Cumpton P

As noted above, there's a chance of storms in the Pittsburgh area all evening. The entire area is under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. ET.

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel


Cubs

vs. Brandon Cumpton

Brandon Cumpton


Pirates

vs. Pit

--

vs. Cubs

Jason Hammel continues his audition for contending teams, as he is having the best year of his career. He's currently on a 14-inning scoreless streak and he threw 6⅔ strong innings (two hits, one run) against the Pirates in PNC Park back on April 3. Among his five K's was one of Andrew McCutchen. Maybe Edwin Jackson can take lessons.

Brandon Cumpton is making his 11th major-league start. He had five good starts last September, and though his 6.51 ERA and 1.554 WHIP look pretty bad, they are skewed by this horrific game against the Dodgers, where he took one for the team by allowing 11 hits and 10 earned runs in 3⅔ innings. His other four starts have ranged from decent to very good. He has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on the current roster.

You know what that likely means -- doom.

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.

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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