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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Friday 6/8, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs go for their third straight win.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Friday notes:

  • The Cubs return to N.L. Central play this afternoon, as the next three series are against divisional opponents. So far this year the Cubs are 14-10 within the division, and 3-3 vs. the Pirates.
  • Anthony Rizzo has reached safely in his last 18 contests with a plate appearance since May 18, hitting safely in 17 of those. In those games he’s hitting .352/.442/.606 (25-for-71) with six doubles, four home runs, 13 walks and 19 RBI.
  • Javier Baez leads the National League with 46 RBI, and with Rizzo (42 RBI), the Cubs join the Braves (Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis) and Reds (Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez) as the only N.L. clubs to have two players with at least 40 RBI apiece.
  • The Cubs lead the National League and are third in the majors with a run differential of +91, trailing only the Astros (+121) and Red Sox (+97). Also, the Cubs’ 305 runs scored are second in the N.L. (Braves, 312), while their 214 runs allowed are second-fewest in the N.L. (Nationals, 208) and third-fewest in the majors (Astros, 193).
  • The Cubs have drawn 234 walks. That leads the National League and is second only to the Yankees (236) in the majors. Per game, that’s 3.97 walks, which is a pace for 643. That would rank third in franchise history.

Also, there’s a chance of rain this afternoon, so you might want to keep this handy:

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Mike Montgomery, LHP vs. Chad Kuhl, RHP

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

This is a pitching rematch of the game May 28 in Pittsburgh. Mike Montgomery was outstanding that afternoon, throwing 5⅔ shutout innings and allowing just two hits. Chad Kuhl was also very good that day, giving the Cubs just one run in six innings, a solo homer by Anthony Rizzo.

Montgomery and Kuhl have both made one start since then. MiMo was excellent in that outing June 2 in New York, allowing just two hits and one run in a six-inning start. Kuhl, June 2 in St. Louis, allowed the Cardinals two runs on four hits in six innings.

Thus we might be looking at a low-scoring affair this afternoon.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets).

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 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.