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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Tuesday 4/28, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs look to win their fourth straight tonight.

Hopefully, it will not be this cold tonight
Hopefully, it will not be this cold tonight
David Banks/Getty Images

After dropping a home series to the Padres, the Cubs have won five of seven since then, and both losses were by one run.

That's one of the best things about the 2015 Cubs -- they are competitive in just about every game. They have lost just three games by more than one run this year. Even this early in the season, that's pretty remarkable.

Credit to the players, of course, but also a lot of credit for this has to go to Joe Maddon, who I believe has had a significant impact on everyone on the roster, helping them get the most out of their natural abilities.

A series win is clinched with a victory tonight. Go get 'em!

Site note: Per request, this preview (and all others going forward) will appear separately on the front page, hopefully that will make them easier to find. They will post two hours before game time (sometimes 90 minutes, if there's an early day game following a night game). The Game Threads stream will post separately on the front page at same time. Note that this preview will also reside in that day's stream. Hope this works better for everyone. See the bottom of this post for the complete revised Game Thread procedure.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Coghlan LF, Baez 2B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Soler RF, Alcantara CF, Valaika 1B, Baker C, Arrieta P

Pirates lineup:

Harrison 3B, Mercer SS, McCutchen CF, Hart 1B, Marte LF, Walker 2B, Cervelli C, Rodriguez RF, Locke P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Travis Wood

Travis Wood


Cubs

vs. Jeff Locke

Jeff Locke


Pirates

vs. Pit

--

vs. Cubs

Travis Wood faced the Pirates one week ago today, April 21 in Pittsburgh. He managed to (barely) make it into the sixth inning, but before that allowed home runs to Josh Harrison and Starling Marte. Wood left that game with the lead, the bullpen blew it, but the Cubs won anyway. I'd prefer less drama tonight and another Cubs win.

Jeff Locke started against the Cubs April 23 in Pittsburgh. The Cubs hit him pretty well -- seven hits and three walks in five innings -- and scored four runs off him. Do that today and I think the Cubs can win this one, because that one was lost due to bullpen failure, not the inability of the Cubs to hit Locke.

Today's game is on WPWR. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).

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.

The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.