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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Wednesday 8/1, 6:05 CT

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The Cubs hope to earn a split of their series with the Pirates.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, there is a chance of rain during tonight’s game. So, here’s your radar to keep handy:

Notes for tonight:

  • The Cubs begin August either tied or with sole possession of first place within the division for the third straight season starting with 2016. That’s the first time the team has done that since before 1900. The Cubs entered August either in first place or within a game of first in the division three straight years in 2007 (second, -1.0), 2008 (first, +5.0) and 2009 (second, -0.5). Prior to that, it hadn’t happened since 1935 (second place, -0.5), 1936 (first, +1.0) and 1937 (first, +5.0). Even in the three straight pennant years, 1906-07-08, they weren’t in first place August 1 every year: 1906 (first, +6.0), 1907 (first, +10.5) and 1908 (second, -0.5).
  • Happy birthday to Brandon Kintzler, who turns 34 today. If he pitches tonight, he will be the first Cub to pitch on his birthday since Justin Grimm on August 16, 2016, second game, a 4-1 win vs. Milwaukee.
  • David Bote is just the sixth Cub in the last 75 years to hit .340 or better (min. 50 AB) in his first 24 career major league games, and the first to do so since Kyle Schwarber (.342) in 2015. The others: Matt Murton (.340 in 2005), Dwight Smith (.357 in 1989), Andy Pafko (.357 in 1943-44) and Eddie Stanky (.351 in 1943). H/T: STATS Inc.
  • Anthony Rizzo since moving to leadoff: .383/.479/.650 (23-for-60) with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and nine walks. The team is 9-7 in the 16 games.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Nick Kingham, RHP

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Cubs, Cole Hamels!

We’re just going to ignore his last five starts (10.23 ERA, 1.955 WHIP) and hope that’s just a blip on his otherwise fine career.

Hamels has not faced the Pirates since 2016 and you really don’t want to look at the boxscore from that game. Trust me on that.

Current Pirates are hitting .276 (21-for-76) against him with one home run (Starling Marte). In fact, Marte and David Freese are responsible for the bulk of the Pirates hitting off Hamels. Other Pirates are hitting just .244 off him. So, stop those two and it could be a good night.

Nick Kingham has made two starts against the Cubs this year and allowed 12 hits, four walks and five runs in 12 total innings. Ben Zobrist has homered off him.

Kingham has had some really good outings this year, his first in the big leagues, and some really bad ones, including his last start against the Mets last Thursday, where they had seven hits, four walks and six runs off him in three innings, including two home runs.

I’ll take one of those, please.

Today’s game is on WGN. 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

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout. If you do go there to interact with Pirates fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

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.