There isn't much more to say about this game, or series, that I didn't already say in the series preview.
ICYMI, Ben Rowen, who suited up for one game for the Cubs last week, has been claimed on waivers:
Blue Jays claim submarine style pitcher Ben Rowen on waivers from Cubs. He'll be at AAA.— Jeff Blair (@SNJeffBlair) August 3, 2015
Rowen joins Anthony Varvaro as "Phantom Cubs," players who were on the 25-man roster this year for at least one game, but never appeared for the Cubs before leaving for another team. Rowen has yet to play in the major leagues. If he never does, he'll join Mark Leonette (1987) as the only Cubs to be on the 25-man roster before September 1 who never played a game in the big leagues.
Hey, and guess what? There's a chance of rain in Pittsburgh this evening.
Finally, here is your once-a-series reminder about SB Nation's partner daily fantasy game, FanDuel. If you want to participate, here's the link.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Denorfia LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Castro SS, Ross C, Lester P, Russell 2B
Good to see that Kris Bryant is fine and in the starting lineup tonight.
Polanco RF, Marte LF, McCutchen CF, Ramirez 3B, Kang SS, Cervelli C, Morse 1B, Rodriguez 2B, Liriano P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jon Lester had a great July and his only start against the Pirates this year, May 16 at Wrigley Field, was an outstanding outing (seven innings, one run, seven strikeouts). The only run he allowed that day was a solo homer by Sean Rodriguez. Interestingly, this will be Lester's 22nd start this year, but just his ninth on the road. It hasn't mattered as he's been pretty much the same pitcher away from Wrigley (3.24 ERA, 1.160 WHIP) as at home (3.27 ERA, 1.173 WHIP). This will be his second career start in PNC Park; the other was in 2011.
After many years of seeing Francisco Liriano dominate the Cubs, they finally had a decent game against him April 21 at PNC, scoring three runs in five innings. (Yeah, not great, but better than most Cubs games against Liriano.) He's been consistent all year and, like Lester, had a very good July (2.03 ERA in five starts).
I'd expect a pitcher's duel tonight.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. In most of the USA this game will also be on ESPN.
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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.