Any more kids coming up from the minor leagues? No? Not for a while?
All right, then. This team should be able to settle in with a (fairly) regular lineup, now that Kris Bryant has been installed at third base and Addison Russell at second. The only real changes on a daily basis will be the platoon arrangement in left field, and however Joe Maddon wants to arrange his catchers.
At some point, guys like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro and Jorge Soler will need days off, but with the off days built into the schedule this month, that won't be necessary until probably sometime in May. And Rizzo and Castro would likely tell Maddon they want to play. I still worry about Soler's hamstrings, which were an issue last year, but so far this year he's shown no sign that those are bothering him.
In addition to going for three straight wins, I should point out that the Cubs have yet to lose consecutive games this year. That's a really good thing.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Soler RF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Castro SS, Montero C, Coghlan LF, Hammel P, Russell 2B
Cubs cool lineup tweet:
It's #HammelTime tonight in Pittsburgh. #LetsGo Game preview: http://t.co/rMmXc1BLQR pic.twitter.com/WLsQFylv1k— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 22, 2015
Harrison 3B, Polanco RF, McCutchen CF, Walker 2B, Marte LF, Alvarez 1B, Cervelli C, Kang SS, Worley P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Hammel faced the Pirates four times in 2014 before he was traded to the Athletics and posted a 3.51 ERA and 1.052 WHIP in 25⅔ innings with just five walks and 23 strikeouts. He's had two starts that don't look good numbers-wise, but neither was all that bad, either. He's walked just one in 12⅓ innings. Keep that up and good things will come.
Vance Worley made two starts against the Cubs last year and allowed five earned runs in 10⅓ innings. This year he's made two starts, both against the woeful Brewers. One start was good, the other bad, and Worley is one of only two pitchers so far this year to record a loss against Milwaukee. Worley's thrown the same number of innings as Hammel this year and has walked six. The newly-patient Cubs might be able to take advantage of this.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.
Once again for 2015, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as the last couple of years. 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 most 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.