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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Wednesday 4/29, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs look for their first three-game sweep of 2015.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Cubs last won five in a row from June 3-7, 2014, and last swept a home series last August against the Orioles.

This team appears to be clicking on all cylinders, playing well in all aspects of the game. Today's game, in fact, will be a good test of exactly how good this Cubs team is, as they'll be facing one of the league's best pitchers.

One further note that I didn't think merited a separate post -- MLB All-Star balloting began today, and unlike previous years all voting will be online, either at this mlb.com link or via your mobile device. You can vote 35 times per valid email address. Voting continues until 10:59 p.m. CT on July 2. Kris Bryant, incidentally, did make the ballot.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Soler RF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Castro SS, Coghlan LF, Hendricks P, Herrera 2B

Addison Russell is just getting the day off.

Pirates lineup:

Polanco RF, Mercer SS, McCutchen CF, Walker 2B, Marte LF, Alvarez 1B, Kang 3B, Stewart C, Cole P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Kyle Hendricks

Kyle Hendricks


Cubs

vs. Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole


Pirates

vs. Pit

--

vs. Cubs

Kyle Hendricks threw five decent, but not great, innings against the Pirates in Pittsburgh last Thursday, April 23. He's had one or two bad plays ruin his outings; the best thing about what he's done so far is issue just one walk in 15⅔ innings. That shows he's continuing to locate well; if he keeps doing that good things should follow.

Gerrit Cole is the only Pirates pitcher the Cubs did not face in Pittsburgh last week. He's off to a good start (2.19 ERA, 1.054 WHIP in four starts covering 24⅔ innings) and last year he defeated the Cubs in back-to-back September starts. This one will be tough.

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.

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.