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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Wednesday 9/28, 6:05 CT

The Cubs go for their fourth win in a row.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

More fun with run differential: The Cubs' current +252 run differential is the highest for the team since they were +253 following a doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals in St. Louis on September 27, 1935. That DH sweep also clinched the pennant and the wins were the last two of the record 21-game winning streak. (Thanks to Ed Hartig for the info!)

More history: With John Lackey winning his 10th game Tuesday, the Cubs have five 10-game winners for the first time since the 1945 pennant-winning team. The '45 five: Hank Wyse (22), Claude Passeau (17), Paul Derringer (16), Ray Prim (13) and Hank Borowy (10).

The Cubs have clinched the best record in baseball for the first time since 1945, and the 12th time in franchise history. Tonight, they aim to go 46 games over .500 for the first time since the 1935 team finished that year 46 over (100-54). That team peaked at 48 games over .500 (100-52).

The last time any Cubs team was more than 48 games over .500 was October 15, 1910, when they finished the season 104-50, 54 games over. This year's Cubs can't get there; the most they can finish over .500 is 50 games over, if they run the table. The last major-league team to be 50 games over .500 at any point during their season (in fact, also the last to be more than 48 over) was the 2004 Cardinals, who peaked at 51 over.

Good times. Keep it going!

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Heyward RF, Russell SS, Coghlan LF, Montero C, Arrieta P

There is a game in two hours, from the time of this post. Seven games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. CT. The Pirates are the only team that hasn't posted a lineup for their game starting at that time. Did they forget there is one?

Jake Arrieta


Jameson Taillon

Jake Arrieta appeared to have fixed whatever was wrong with him in his last start against the Cardinals. Let's hope so, because his last start against the Pirates, August 29 at Wrigley Field, wasn't good: six runs in 6⅓ innings, including homers by Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco. Overall this year, Jake has a 3.78 ERA and 0.960 WHIP in five starts (33⅓ innings) against Pittsburgh.

Tonight, Jake is trying to become the first pitcher to win 25 games in a stretch of 28 road decisions or fewer since Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox was 25-3 on the road from April 1999 to May 2001. (H/T: Stats, Inc.)

Jameson Taillon has to give the Pirates hope for the future: he's made 17 starts and posted a 3.49 ERA with just 14 walks in 98 innings. His one start against the Cubs, June 19 at Wrigley Field, wasn't good: eight hits and four runs in four innings, including home runs by Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Taillon has not thrown more than five innings in any of his last three starts, so the Pirates might be easing up on his workload, which is now just short of 160 innings for the year.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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.