The Cubs are 13-3 against the Pirates this year and 24-11 over them the last two years, 25-11 including last year's wild-card game.
I'm old enough to remember how the Pirates used to beat up on the Cubs that way. The Cubs were 66-111 against the Pirates from 1970-79, an era when Pittsburgh ruled the N.L. East, winning six division titles and two World Series. That's by far the Cubs' worst record (.373) against any team in that time span. (Next worst: Dodgers, .433.)
So you'll forgive me if I enjoy this. A lot. Don't get me wrong: the current Pirates are generally a likeable bunch and Andrew McCutchen is always fun to watch. But I'd like to see the Cubs have a decade of dominance over the Pirates like they did to us in the '70s. (And dominate everyone else while they're at it.)
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Coghlan RF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist LF, Montero C, La Stella 3B, Baez SS, Kawasaki 2B, Lackey P
Otherwise known as "today's split squad."
Jaso 1B, Polanco LF, McCutchen CF, Kang 3B, Joyce RF, Rodriguez 2B, Cervelli C, Mercer SS, Vogelsong P
John Lackey has one start against the Pirates this year, July 10 in Pittsburgh, and it was not a good one, even though the Cubs won the game. He allowed five runs in six innings and two home runs (Sean Rodriguez, Andrew McCutchen). Lackey has had a decent September (3.24 ERA, 1.040 WHIP, .213 opponents BA), so hopefully this final start before the postseason will be a good one.
Ryan Vogelsong started against the Cubs August 31 at Wrigley Field and allowed six hits, three walks and five runs in five innings, including a home run to Kris Bryant. He has not completed five innings in any of his four September starts, posting a 9.18 ERA and 2.100 (!) WHIP. Vogelsong turned 39 in July and might be reaching the end of the line. Let's send him off with a bang.
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.