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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Tuesday 5/29, 6:05 CT

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

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Maddon had something to say about Monday’s schedule:

“I just think if you’re playing the Sunday night game, which is fine, wonderful, there’s got to be some built-in concessions for Monday,” Maddon said. “There’s got to be a method, a formula written that says the team that plays Sunday night, great. If they play a Monday game, wonderful, but it just can’t start at 1 o’clock.”

I have to agree with Joe. For one thing, it’s not like Pirates fans flocked to PNC Park Monday — the attendance of 19,382 was only about half PNC’s capacity, and a large number of those were Cubs fans. They could have started the game at, say, 4:05 and still had a decent-size crowd. Also, per Ed Hartig, this was the first time the Cubs had to do this (home night game, road afternoon game the next day) since July 4-5, 2004. A home night game vs. the White Sox was followed by an afternoon game in Milwaukee — a bit different, since that’s only a bus ride and in the same time zone.

Moving on! Today’s notes:

  • The Cubs 3.30 team ERA (168 ER/457⅔ IP) ranks third in the majors behind the Astros (2.58) and Nationals (3.30). (Cubs are 3.304, Nats are 3.297, both round to 3.30)
  • The team’s 2.66 bullpen ERA (56 ER/189⅓ IP) ranks third among major league bullpens behind the Brewers (2.45) and Diamondbacks (2.50).
  • At a season-high tying six games over .500 (28-22), the Cubs have been at or above .500 through 50 games for the fourth straight season. The last time that happened before now: 1967-70.
  • The Cubs lead the N.L. in OBP (.343), slugging (.431) and OPS (.774), and are second in runs scored (263) and extra-base hits (170).
  • The Cubs have drawn 198 walks this year, an average of 3.96 per game. That’s a pace for 642 walks, which would be third-best in franchise history.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. Nick Kingham, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Lester, last five starts: 1.52 ERA, 1.180 WHIP. He’s having a very good year.

All of that came after his only start this year against the Pirates, April 11 at Wrigley Field, where he allowed four runs in five innings. Almost seems like ancient history. The Cubs won that game anyway, 13-5.

A few of the current Pirates hit him well, including Sean Rodriguez, who has three home runs off Jon in 50 at-bats. Overall current Pirates are hitting .268 (55-for-205) against him with seven home runs.

Nick Kingham made news in his major-league debut April 29 against the Cardinals when he took a perfect game into the seventh inning. Paul DeJong broke it up with a two-out single.

His other two big-league starts haven’t been as good: 11⅓ innings, 5.56 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, two home runs allowed.

Kingham isn’t young — he’s 26 and this is his ninth year in the Pirates system. He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current roster. You know how these sorts of things usually work out. Perhaps tonight will be different.

Today’s game is on WGN.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

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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.

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