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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Friday 7/7, 1:20 CT

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Hopefully, this series will go better than Thursday's game did.

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time there was a major-league baseball team. It was hovering around contention, but couldn't make any headway against a team having a surprisingly good first half.

Then, around midseason, this "hovering" team reached a rough patch. It started losing a bit more than it won, had trouble winning consecutive games, and at one point got blown out so badly that a position player had to pitch the ninth inning.

Oh, you thought I was talking about this year's Cubs? No, that's the 2015 Cubs, who at one point lost 10 of 16 and had David Ross throw the ninth inning of this game against the Phillies, after which he hit his first homer of the year.

You know what happened to the 2015 Cubs after that game. They went 46-19, won 97 games and a wild card spot.

Many of the players who put together that run are still on this team. I'm not saying they will do anything like that -- that's really hard to do -- only that they could.

To resurrect an old Cubs saying, #LetsGo.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Happ CF, Schwarber LF, Heyward RF, Caratini C, Russell SS, Butler P

The Pirates lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Pirates lineup.

Eddie Butler vs. Trevor Williams

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Eddie Butler has a good outing, and you think, "Well, maybe after this one..."

Then Eddie Butler has a bad outing, and you think, "Back to the old drawing board!"

Eddie Butler's coming off one of those bad outings, against the Reds last Sunday. He still issues too many walks -- 4.6 per nine innings. One of those too-many-walk outings came against the Pirates, June 16 in Pittsburgh. He threw 5⅔ innings, issued four walks and allowed four runs. (The Cubs won that game by scoring six runs in the ninth off the Bucs' bullpen.)

He's simply going to have to do better than that.

Butler's opponent that night was today's Pirates starter, Trevor Williams. Williams allowed four hits and three runs in five innings, not much better than Butler's outing. Since then Williams has posted a 3.32 ERA and 0.947 WHIP in three starts, and has gone at least six innings in all three of them.

Looks like Trevor Williams has accomplished what Eddie Butler hasn't been able to -- some consistency. I won't say we're doomed, but Butler's going to have to match the kind of outings Williams has had recently in order for the Cubs to have a shot at this one.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets).

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.

Get tickets to Cubs games from our partner StubHub here.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Poll

Who has the better beard?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Eddie Butler
    (19 votes)
  • 62%
    Trevor Williams
    (31 votes)
50 votes total Vote Now