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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Tuesday 8/29, 7:05 CT

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

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Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

In my recap to Monday’s game, I mentioned the Cubs have a +73 run differential for games since the All-Star break.

That’s really good for just 42 games and it’s the best for anyone in the National League — yes, including the Dodgers, who are +56 since the break, even while posting a 30-9 record. The Indians, the A.L. leaders since the break, are slightly better at +75.

This is yet another way the Cubs are showing that they are starting to play at an elite level. The 27-15 team record since the break is just 4½ games behind the Dodgers for the best mark in the major leagues in that span.

More goodness since the break: Tonight’s starter, Jake Arrieta, has a 1.78 ERA in eight starts in that time period. Only Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals (1.46) has been better.

Keep up the good work!

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist RF, Schwarber LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, La Stella 2B, Avila C, Heyward CF, Baez SS, Arrieta P

Pirates lineup:

Marte LF, Harrison 2B, McCutchen CF, Bell 1B, Freese 3B, Jaso RF, Mercer SS, Stewart C, Kuhl P

Jake Arrieta vs. Chad Kuhl

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

Jake Arrieta since July 1: 10 starts, 1.85 ERA, 0.979 WHIP. That’s getting close to what he was in his fantastic 2015 season (overall, not the amazing second half). He’s become the guy the Cubs have needed: someone who will take the ball every fifth day and put his team in position to win.

His three starts vs. the Pirates this year, though, have not been good: 16 total innings, 4.50 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, four home runs. Before this year Jake had excellent success against the Pirates. It would be nice to see him pick that up again.

The Cubs absolutely pounded Chad Kuhl in his only start against them this year, April 24 in Pittsburgh: nine runs in less than two innings, including a three-run homer by Jason Heyward.

Kuhl is better than that, and since the All-Star break: eight starts, 3.68 ERA, just two home runs in 44 innings. He has not thrown more than five innings in any of his last three starts, so it might be that he’s running out of gas this year.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus.

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.

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Discuss amongst yourselves.