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Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Thursday 6/12, 6:05 CT

The Cubs need this game to not lose another road series. Fortunately, they have their best starter on the mound.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh-area weather forecast again has a chance of rain for early this evening.

While you contemplate the Cubs needing to win this game in order to have a series split, consider this, which I posted as a comment in the Heroes & Goats post earlier today, but bears repeating.

Eli Whiteside is rapidly moving up the all-time list of Cubs position players who had 10 or more AB in a season with no hits.

He’s 0-for-12. Only three Cubs position players have had a season with the team having no hits with more at-bats:

Barry Foote, 0-for-22, 1981 *
Clem Clemens, 0-for-15, 1916
George Moriarty, 0-for-13, 1904

Foote gets an asterisk because after his 0-for-22 start, he was traded to the Yankees, where he hit .208 in 125 at-bats, so he didn’t go 0-for-the-entire-season. (Plus, the 1981 season should always get an asterisk, just on general principles.)

Whiteside is likely gone after Welington Castillo returns. If he doesn’t get a hit before then, he could be an all-time Cub.

Cubs lineup:

Bonifacio CF, Lake LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Schierholtz RF, Baker C, Barney 2B, Samardzija P

Pirates lineup:

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

Gregory Polanco leads off, for the first time in his brief MLB career. Also, a reminder to Cubs pitchers: do not throw anything hittable to Andrew McCutchen!

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija


vs. Edinson Volquez

Edinson Volquez


vs. Phi


vs. Cubs

Jeff Samardzija had an excellent start at PNC Park on Opening Day 2014. He had an excellent start at PNC Park on Opening Day 2013. In fact, in his career, Shark has made 10 appearances (five starts) at PNC Park covering 44 innings (his most innings at any park outside Wrigley). He has allowed three earned runs there for an ERA of 0.61. He has a 0.591 WHIP there (20 hits and six walks). He has 36 strikeouts in those 44 innings. Perhaps this will lead to a Cubs win.

The Cubs used to face Edinson Volquez quite a bit when he was with the Reds, but have faced him only twice since 2011. In the most recent such start, the Cubs scored six runs off him in the first inning! (Seriously, you don't want to click on that link. Don't say I didn't warn you.) Volquez is having a mediocre year, with a 4.32 ERA. He's leading the league in wild pitches, with seven. Perhaps we are not doomed tonight.

Today's game is on WGN.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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.