A thought for you to peruse while we wait for tonight's game: Should the Cubs try a six-man rotation?
Manager Joe Maddon isn't opposed to employing a six-man rotation, a possibility the Cubs could employ with the return of John Lackey perhaps as soon as this weekend and the ongoing evaluation of left-hander Mike Montgomery.
"The biggest trick is to get the sixth guy you like when most teams are clamoring to get four and five," Maddon said Sunday. "So we got five we like now. We're working on six. Hopefully it works that way, and then you can do something like that."
It seems like a reasonable idea, for now, as long as Montgomery continues to be effective. This weekend, rosters expand, so the Cubs should also have Hector Rondon back and perhaps other bullpen reinforcements.
At the very least, it would help the starters who are going to be in the postseason get some rest before October.
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Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Soler LF, Heyward RF, Contreras C, Baez SS, Arrieta P
A day off for Addison Russell.
Harrison 2B, Bell 1B, McCutchen CF, Polanco RF, Marte LF, Freese 3B, Cervelli C, Mercer SS, Brault P
Jake Arrieta usually really, really likes pitching against the Pirates. He has a 2.67 ERA and 0.889 WHIP against them in four starts this year, with 33 strikeouts in 27 innings -- and the ERA is only that high because he allowed six runs in six innings the last time he faced them. Otherwise it's two earned runs in the other 21 innings against them this year. Perhaps more relevant is his career record against the Bucs at Wrigley: five starts, 34 innings, four earned runs (1.06 ERA), 15 hits and eight walks allowed (0.676 WHIP), 39 strikeouts.
Steven Brault, who came to the Pirates from the Orioles in the Travis Snider deal in February 2015, is making his third major-league start. The other two were decent, nothing outstanding, and he had a 4.42 ERA and 1.416 WHIP in 16 appearances (15 starts) at Triple-A Indianapolis. Walks appear to be his issue: 4.4 per nine innings in Triple-A, five in 10 innings so far in the major leagues.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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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.