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Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Friday 6/20, 3:05 CT

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The longest homestand of the year to date begins Friday afternoon.

Rob Foldy

What, you again?

I know I keep writing that, but it seems as if all the Cubs have done lately is play the Pirates and Marlins... basically, because except for the set in Philadelphia last weekend, that is all the Cubs have done for the last two weeks. By Sunday, 13 of the Cubs' previous 16 games will have been against the Pirates and Marlins.

After which they won't see the Marlins until 2015, and won't see the Pirates again until September. The Cubs will have 73 games played after Sunday... 31 of them against just three teams, the Pirates, Brewers and Cardinals.

Such is MLB scheduling in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century.

If you have not already done so, please check out Russ La Croix' series preview. One further note: after a poor April at home, the Cubs are 10-4 at Wrigley Field since May 1. That's really good. Keep it up, please.

Now, on to Friday's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Valbuena 2B, Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Sweeney CF, Schierholtz RF, Olt 3B, Baker C, Jackson P

The Pirates lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Pirates lineup.

Today's Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson


Cubs

vs. Charlie Morton

Charlie Morton


Pirates

vs. Pit

--

vs. Cubs

I think it's well known how much I dislike watching Edwin Jackson pitch. In fact, I'd rather see the Cubs give one of the relievers the first two innings, then one pitcher per inning, like spring training, in today's game rather than see Jackson throw again.

But here he is. Maybe this will be one of his good games. I won't hold my breath waiting, though.

This is the third time Charlie Morton has faced the Cubs this year. Two of them were excellent, one not so much, but the Pirates have won all three games. Overall, Morton has thrown 19 innings against the Cubs this year, allowed 18 hits and six earned runs (2.84 ERA), walked two and struck out 18 (1.053 WHIP).

It's also the third time he's faced Edwin Jackson. In those three games, Jackson has thrown 16 innings, allowed 18 hits and 11 earned runs (6.19 ERA), walked eight and struck out 17 (1.625 WHIP).

This matchup doesn't seem conducive to the Cubs winning, does it. But that's why they play the games.

Today's game is on WGN.

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.