Just in case the Cubs didn't have to deal with enough bad weather at home last week, there's a chance of rain on each of the three dates of this series.
And, naturally, after a miserable week's worth of weather while the Cubs were home last week, it was a gorgeous, pleasant sunny spring day in Chicago on Monday.
There's not a lot more I can say about this game that I haven't already presented in the series preview, so check that out if you haven't already.Via Jayson Stark at ESPN.com, here are some fascinating facts about this year's Cubs. I particularly like this one, as the Cubs are the only team this year to have not lost consecutive games:
What was the last year any Cubs team went this many games into a season without a two-game losing streak? That would be, oh, a mere 109 years ago, according to Elias. Wildfire Schulte’s 1907 Cubs went 33 games deep into that season before finally losing two in a row – on May 26 and 27!
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Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, La Stella 3B, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Szczur RF, Ross C, Hammel P
A day off for Jason Heyward.
Jaso 1B, McCutchen CF, Freese 3B, Marte LF, Cervelli C, Polanco RF, Harrison 2B, Mercer SS, Cole P
Jason Hammel has been excellent so far this year, even better than his "usual" early-season success. He's allowed two runs in 24 innings and had two completely scoreless outings. Last year he faced the Pirates twice in April (two starts, 13 innings, three earned runs) and once in September (one start, four innings, three earned runs). Hammel was slowed by an injury in the second half of last year and, now 100 percent healthy, we hope for more starts vs. the Bucs like last April. Current Pirates are hitting .265 (35-for-132) against him with three home runs, two of those by Andrew McCutchen.
When last we saw Gerrit Cole, Kyle Schwarber was launching a baseball into the Allegheny River off him.
Well, Schwarber's out for the year and Cole is off to a good start in 2016 (2.78 ERA, only one homer allowed in 22⅓ innings), though the Cubs will be his toughest competition to date. Another Cub who's hit him well is Anthony Rizzo (.353, 6-for-17, one double). The only current Cub to homer off Cole is Javier Baez, who is not starting tonight.
It'll be a tough one tonight.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. Outside the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets you can watch this game on ESPN.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
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.