The Pirates had to play a night game against the Mets in New York yesterday.
Regardless of whether you like the fact that this could give the Cubs an advantage this afternoon, it's really patently unfair. Current MLB rules allow this, as long as the flight between the two cities is under two hours (and in reality, NYC-Chicago flights wind up being a bit more than that).
Scheduling is going to be a big issue in the next MLB/MLBPA negotiations, and situations like this are going to be among the biggest things discussed, I'd think. The Mets should have scheduled a day game yesterday; even at that, the Pirates would likely have arrived in Chicago at 8 or 9 p.m. and then had to get to Wrigley for this afternoon's contest.
As it is, the Pirates probably didn't get to their hotel till 2 a.m. That isn't right.
Beyond that, the city of Chicago should modify the night-game ordinance to allow the Cubs to play some Friday night home games.
Having said all that, I don't mind that the Pirates are likely going to be a tired bunch on the field today. (Still, this shouldn't happen.)
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Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Szczur LF, Zobrist 2B, Rizzo 1B, Almora RF, Baez 3B, Russell SS, Montero C, Arrieta P
A day off for Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward.
Jaso 1B, Polanco RF, McCutchen CF, Freese 3B, Joyce LF, Harrison 2B, Mercer SS, Stewart C, Liriano P
Jake Arrieta dominated the Pirates last year (five starts, 0.75 ERA,0.639 WHIP, not even counting the wild-card game). He has dominated the Pirates so far this year (two starts, 15 innings, two earned runs, 16 strikeouts). I see no reason to think any of that will change today.
The Cubs absolutely pounded Francisco Liriano May 13 at Wrigley Field -- eight runs in 4⅔ innings, including three home runs (David Ross, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant). That one game accounts for almost one-third of all the runs Liriano has allowed in his career (25) against the Cubs in 12 total starts. Liriano hasn't been very good since that start, either: 4.82 ERA, five home runs and 18 walks allowed in 28 innings. This is likely a good time to take advantage of that.
Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. It's also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets). For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here.
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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.