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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Monday 9/4, 3:05 CT

The Cubs take a brief four-game trip to Pittsburgh, where they have played very well over the last three years.

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Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Some Labor Day MLB standing notes:

The Cubs are the first defending World Series Champions to be in first place in their division on Labor Day in seven years since the 2010 New York Yankees held a 2½-game edge.

Further, the Cubs have the largest divisional lead by a defending champion on Labor Day since the 2009 Phillies had a 6½-game lead.

Lastly, the Cleveland Indians wake up on Labor Day with a nine-game lead in the A.L. Central. 2017 marks only the third time in the last 16 seasons that both defending pennant winners (starting in 2001 with the 2000 pennant winners) have been in first place the year after they played in the World Series, joining the 2005 Red Sox and Cardinals and the 2002 Diamondbacks and Yankees.

The Cubs’ total of 692 runs is second in the National League and only 17 behind the Nationals for the league lead. The Cubs are averaging 5.09 runs per game and if they continue at that pace for the rest of the year, they will score 824 runs, 16 more than last year.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Jay CF, Schwarber LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Avila C, Heyward RF, Freeman SS, Arrieta P

27 minutes later, that lineup changed:

I guess the good news is that Javier Baez isn’t missing this game because of the “blurred vision” that was reported Sunday. Hopefully, this is just a one-day rest of the thumb. Here’s video of Javy in which he says he should be ready to go tomorrow.

Pirates lineup:

Marte LF, Moroff 2B, McCutchen CF, Bell 1B, Freese 3B, Luplow RF, Rodriguez SS, Diaz C, Kuhl P

Jake Arrieta vs. Chad Kuhl

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

Jake Arrieta was named National League Pitcher of the Month for August. In six starts he posted a 1.21 ERA and 1.045 WHIP, and that included six shutout innings against the Pirates last Tuesday at Wrigley Field. He allowed only two hits.

His opponent that night was Chad Kuhl. Kuhl threw 5⅓ innings and allowed seven hits, three walks and three runs, including a home run by Ben Zobrist.

Kuhl has an 11.70 ERA (10 innings, 13 earned runs) against the Cubs in two starts this year. Arrieta has a 3.27 ERA (22 innings, eight earned runs) against the Pirates in four starts this year.

All of that is a good sign for this afternoon’s game.

Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. It’s also on ESPN outside the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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.