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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Sunday 7/10, 12:35 CT

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Let's try this one more time, then take four days off.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Before now, the Cubs hadn't lost five games in a row in over a year, since June 24-28, 2015. They followed that with a pretty decent run, winning seven of their next nine. We'd take that, but right now I just want them to win this game to go into the break on a high note.

Just win, baby.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Baez 3B, Almora CF, Lackey P

Pirates lineup:

Jaso 1B, Marte LF, McCutchen CF, Freese 3B, Rodriguez 2B, Frazier RF, Mercer SS, Fryer C, Niese P

John Lackey

vs

Jonathon Niese

John Lackey's first four starts: 4.97 ERA. John Lackey's next nine starts: 1.97 ERA. John Lackey's last three starts: 7.56 ERA.

Which is the real Lackey? I honestly can't say. He's walked a lot of guys in those last three starts (10 in 16.2 innings). That has to stop. Oddly, despite this being the fourth Cubs/Pirates series this year, he has not faced them. He did pretty well against them last year (2.25 ERA in three starts covering 20 innings). Here's hoping that's the case today.

The Cubs have hit Jonathon Niese pretty hard in two starts this year: 15 hits, nine walks and 10 earned runs in 10.1 innings. Jason Heyward, in particular, hits him well: 9-for-31, two doubles, two home runs. Kris Bryant is 5-for-10 with a homer.

That's about all I've got. The matchup looks favorable. Hopefully, reality will match the numbers.

Today's game is on WGN. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here.

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. If you do go there to interact with Pirates fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

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.