You don't need me to tell you that the Cubs could use a couple of wins before the All-Star break, not after watching them lose eight of their last nine.
So...onward, with the hope they'll do just that, starting tonight.
Also, wish Miguel Montero Happy Birthday today. He turns 33. To celebrate, he gets the night off.
Finally, ICYMI, the Cubs have made a roster move today.
Kawasaki up, Candelario optioned.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 9, 2016
Candelario won't play in Futures game, will report to Iowa on Thursday.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 9, 2016
Munenori Kawasaki will likely be optioned back to Iowa after David Ross returns from the seven-day concussion DL, which will be after the break, so he's probably here just to provide a little versatility off the bench for today and tomorrow. In addition to a little fun, I'd think. It should be noted that the Cubs won both games in which Mune appeared back in April.
Here are today's particulars.
La Stella 2B, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist RF, Contreras C, Heyward CF, Russell SS, Baez 3B, Lester P
Mercer SS, Freese 1B, McCutchen CF, Kang 3B, Marte LF, Rodriguez RF, Harrison 2B, Fryer C, Kuhl P
Jon Lester's last start was the worst of his career. So let's not talk about that. This year against the Pirates he has a 1.96 ERA in three starts, and until yesterday, one of them, May 15 at Wrigley Field, was the only Cubs loss to the Pirates (even though Lester threw pretty well in that one). He also threw well against the Pirates in 2015 (1.57 ERA in three starts). Today will be the first time someone other than David Ross has caught him this year.
Chad Kuhl is making his third major-league start. The first one was decent, the second was better (six innings, two runs vs. the A's July 2 in Oakland. It's been seven days since that start, so maybe the Cubs can take advantage of him being a bit rusty. He has never faced the Cubs. Both Willson Contreras and Jeimer Candelario faced him when they were all in the Florida State League in 2014, for whatever that's worth.
Today's game is on Fox. Here's the coverage map. This game will be seen in most of the USA except the East Coast and the Southwest. Announcers: Len Kasper and C.J. Nitkowski. Reminder: if you subscribe to MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings, you can watch this game even if it's not on in your market.
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.