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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Saturday 7/8, 6:15 CT

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The Cubs go for two in a row over the Pirates.

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs are at .500 for the 20th different time this year.

They evened up their 2017 record against the Pirates Friday, now 5-5.

Cubs starting pitchers are 29-31, with a 4.59 ERA. That's right in the middle of the pack, 16th in MLB.

It's time to start improving those numbers. How about tonight?

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Happ CF, Schwarber LF, Contreras C, Heyward RF, Baez SS, Arrieta P

Pirates lineup:

Frazier 2B, Jaso LF, McCutchen CF, Bell 1B, Freese 3B, Polanco RF, Cervelli C, Mercer SS, Nova P

Jake Arrieta vs. Ivan Nova

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

Jake Arrieta's last three starts, in order: Really good! Awful. Excellent!

Which one is the real Jake? The guy who dominated the Marlins and Reds on the last road trip, or the guy who got pounded by the Nationals?

One interesting thing about Jake's 17 starts this year: only five of them have been at Wrigley Field. He's been somewhat better at home (3.86 ERA, 1.143 WHIP, two home runs in 28 innings) than on the road (4.52 ERA, 1.360 WHIP, 11 home runs in 67⅔ innings). Perhaps pitching in front of the home folks will help, although his last Wrigley start, June 11 vs. the Rockies, wasn't very good. His two starts vs. the Pirates this year haven't been good either: 4.35 ERA in 10⅔ innings with three home runs allowed.

The Cubs need the good Jake they got in Miami and Cincinnati. Hopefully he shows up tonight.

The second of Jake's starts vs. the Pirates this year was against Ivan Nova, June 17 in Pittsburgh. While Jake didn't throw too well in that one, he did hit a two-run homer off Nova, so there's that, anyway.

Nova has a 5.00 ERA and 1.667 WHIP in his three starts since that one. Hopefully, that's the Nova the Cubs get to face tonight.

Today's game is on Fox-TV. Here’s the coverage map.

A reminder that if you subscribe to MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings, you can watch tonight's Cubs game even if it is not on the Fox station in your market. Check online or on your cable/satellite guide for the channel.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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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.