The Cubs’ flight to Pittsburgh landed there at 3:05 a.m. ET. If you’ve been to the Pittsburgh airport, you know it’s not all that close to downtown Pittsburgh, where PNC Park is located and where visiting teams stay. All of that resulted in this:
Cubs arrived at team hotel around 3:45 a.m. ET— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) May 28, 2018
Not much time to get any sleep, less than 10 hours to game time.
Joe Maddon made sure the Cubs were comfortable on their flight, anyway. The theme of this road trip is “RELAX!”
Let’s hope Joe also told the players not to show up at PNC until an hour or so before game time. Mike Montgomery, today’s starting pitcher, flew ahead to Pittsburgh earlier Sunday, so he should be well-rested.
One more interesting note about today’s game:
Today's Pittsburgh Pirates vs Chicago Cubs game will be their 2,500th regular season meeting, the first pair of opponents in MLB history to reach that mark. Here's the boxscore from game one, April 30, 1887 & and an 1887 card of Abner Dalrymple, the 1st Pittsburgh batter that day pic.twitter.com/UIOOofsOyK— John Dreker (@JohnDreker) May 28, 2018
The Cubs’ all-time record in the 2,499 games to date is 1209-1272, with 18 ties. That’s 63 games under 500, which can almost entirely be attributed to the period 1969 through 1981, when the Cubs were 85-142 against the Pirates, 57 games under .500.
Here are today’s particulars.
Mike Montgomery, LHP vs. Chad Kuhl, RHP
Mike Montgomery is making his first start of the year after 18 relief appearances, most of which were pretty good. In fact, he had a 3.52 season ERA and 1.261 WHIP, pretty good numbers, until his last outing against the Indians, which was awful. The less said about that, the better.
His one appearance against the Pirates in relief this year, April 10 at Wrigley Field, wasn’t any good either: three runs in two innings, including a home run by Francisco Cervelli. On the other hand, in his last start vs. the Pirates, August 28, 2017 at Wrigley Field, he allowed just one run in seven innings. The Pirates have hit LHP better (.269/.350/.475) than RHP (.254/.323/.411) this year, hopefully Montgomery bucks that trend.
Also, this note on Montgomery’s start today:
Mike Montgomery will become 7th pitcher to start for Cubs this season. Only NL teams to use fewer starting pitchers are Colorado (5), Philadelphia (6). Over/under on season total for Cubs?— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) May 28, 2018
Chad Kuhl has been pretty much the same pitcher this year as he was the first two years of his career: mid 4’s ERA, mid-90s ERA+. He’s allowed a fair number of home runs so far in 2018 (10 in 55⅔ innings), but only three of those are in his last four starts, in which he’s posted a 3.09 ERA. He has not faced the Cubs this year; the last time he did, September 4, 2017 at PNC, he threw seven shutout innings.
Seems likely this will be a low-scoring game.
Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago.
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The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. 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.