I can't really add much to what I wrote in the series preview. It's time for the Cubs to get out of their recent slump and go into the All-Star break on a winning note.
The Pirates could be just the right team to do that against.
Note regarding All-Star festivities: Jeimer Candelario was going to be one of two Cubs representatives in Sunday's Futures Game. Since Candelario is now in the major leagues, he's no longer eligible for that game. He's been replaced on the roster and so Eloy Jimenez will be the only Cubs representative in the Futures Game.
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Here are today's particulars.
Zobrist 2B, Bryant RF, Rizzo 1B, Contreras LF, Russell SS, Heyward CF, Baez 3B, Montero C, Arrieta P
Here is tonight's #Cubs lineup for the opener in Pittsburgh.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 8, 2016
Game preview: https://t.co/rgVCe1oz2v #LetsGo pic.twitter.com/lpRsCifcwu
Jaso 1B, Polanco RF, McCutchen CF, Freese 3B, Marte LF, Harrison 2B, Rodriguez SS, Kratz C, Liriano P
Jake Arrieta has had a rough time lately, so instead let's focus on his success against the Pirates. In three starts against them this year he's thrown 21 innings, allowed seven hits, seven walks and two runs (0.86 ERA) with 27 strikeouts. In his last start at PNC, May 3, he allowed just two hits in seven innings. That's the Jake we need to show up tonight.
Francisco Liriano is having a bad year -- no two ways about it. Against the Cubs he has made two starts and allowed 15 hits and nine walks in 10.1 innings (2.323 WHIP) and 12 earned runs for a 10.45 ERA. Four Cubs have homered off him this year and he leads the major leagues with 55 walks allowed. He has a 6.75 ERA and 1.977 WHIP since June 1.
Time for Cubs hitters to start taking advantage of something like that.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It's also available on MLB Network outside the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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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.