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pnc parkIf memory serves, the last two times Jeff Samardzija has faced the Pirates, he has absolutely dominated them. He’ll have the against-lefty lineup behind him once again, with Julio Borbon leading off for the second straight game.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (18-26) at Pittsburgh Pirates (27-18), 6:05 CT on WGN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Game Tickets

If you’re looking for Chicago Cubs tickets for this or another series, you can use that TiqIQ link there for the secondary market. There are also some available on Cubs.com.

Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija (2-5, 3.49 ERA, 3.05 K/BB)

versus

Francisco Liriano (2-0, 1.64 ERA, 3.20 K/BB)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Travis Snider, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Garrett Jones, 1B

5. Neil Walker, 2B

6. Russell Martin, C

7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

8. Jody Mercer, SS

9. Francisco Liriano, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Julio Borbon, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Scott Hairston, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Cody Ransom, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • Patrick G

    Totally off topic but if dodgers fire Mattingly, would love to see him in a Cubbie uni either next year or year after

    • hansman1982

      Eh, I’d rather have Sandberg.

      • Patrick G

        Oh me too, but feel after what happened last year it won’t happen. Anyway if either was manager I’d be very happy

      • Nick

        How long is he with the Phillies for?

    • Dustin S

      Would you want Mattingly in LF or right?

      j/k, although we might need to have Garza or Wood pinch hit soon the way the offense is looking tonight.

  • mick6x

    Any word if Almora is starting for KC yet? Going to watch them play the Peoria tomorrow.

    • Rcleven

      He has joined the team. Starting? Cougars roster still lists him on 7 day DL. 25 man roster is full. Look for roster change before he can play.

      • Rcleven

        Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 3m

        #Cubs 2012 No. 1 pick Albert Almora makes debut tonight for Kane County, starting in CF and batting 2nd

        • mick6x

          Thanks for the info rcleven!

        • Rcleven

          Kane County Cougars ‏@KCCougars 7m

          Albert Almora is 2-for-2 so far in his Cougars debut with an RBI double and a run scored.

          • Rcleven

            Wayne Randazzo ‏@WayneRandazzo 19m

            Another hit for Albert Almora in his @KCCougars debut. 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and run scored. #Cubs

  • Michael

    Hey I was wondering if you thought the cubs might address their 2B and C need in the minors with Jacoby Jones and Jeremy Martines in the draft??

    • Josh

      While never deep enough at any position, the cubs do come pretty close at 2b. In addition to having a 27 year old Gold Glover in Barney at the pro level they have Watkins at AAA, Torreyes and possibly Alcantara at AA, they have Bruno at A+(although currently injured), and Amaya at A. Again no position is ever deep enough in baseball, but the cubs do have enough at this position to spend more time and picks on other positions.

  • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

    Hairston starting again?

    One definition of insanity is repeating the same harmful behavior time after time, despite its consistent failure.

    • DarthHater

      So, no player has ever pulled out of a prolonged slump before and every manager who ever started a player in a prolonged slump was insane. Right.

      • Crazyhorse

        if the slump continues then yes , ask your beloved Ian .

        • DarthHater

          One definition of stupidity is everything you post.

          • Die hard

            Time out for you until you learn to play nicer

            • John (the other one)

              Yeah. Let’s cut the guy after 40 at bats.

    • Rich H

      Here is to hoping that he gets started tonight and gets hot enough that he is flippable at the deadline. We need a 4/5 OF like him like we need another Campana.

    • hansman1982

      I swear to God, this phrase (and it’s variants) has been grossly overused. Not sure if people think they are being clever but please, dear sweet baby Jesus, just stop.

  • willis

    If dude had the stamina, Liriano could no hit the Cubs tonight with this lineup.

  • Die hard

    Sveum should be fired because— fill in blank– not batting Castro lead off every game; not pushing starters to go 8 innings each game no matter score or pitch count; not batting Barney 9th when good hitting pitcher in; etc

  • willis

    Ballgame. Cubs can’t come back against a good lefty.

    • TWC

      Jesus Christmas, your shitting on all things Cubs all the time really gets old. Every time the other team scores first, it’s “ballgame — Cubs’ll be no-hit”. I don’t know how folks bother to get out of bed with that mindset.

      • willis

        Ok, we’ll see what happens. Hopefully I’m wrong, but what have you seen that gives you hope in this situation?

        And I’m not going to get into a pissing match, but I’m not nearly the most negative fan on here. I call it like I see it. It’s going to be very tough to come back with this lineup against a guy throwing as well as Liriano is throwing. How is that anything but a true statement? Especially from what we have seen from the management/team/organization the last 5 years? I think it’s ok to speak negatively about things that blow, like this organization. It doesn’t keep me from getting out of bed or holding a full time gig, enjoying my life and being a pretty decent human. But, I’m just honest. If that bothers you, I’m sorry.

      • Die hard

        Your last sentence is one of life’s unsolved mysteries

      • When the Music’s Over

        Your belittling gets old as well.

        • TWC

          Yeah yeah yeah. Get bent.

        • willis

          No kidding.

    • MichiganGoat

      Over a 1 run deficit that happened in the first inning

  • willis

    Shark still has those WR wheels…

    See, positive.

  • Jason P

    Scouting report for how to pitch Castro with runners on:

    Throw three straight balls preferably nowhere near the strike zone. 58 foot offerings are better than 60 foot ones.

  • RY34

    Jesus Christ great hittin there w the bases loaded no outs no runs! Typical cubs

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      *Typical Cubes.

    • Jason P

      Does Sveum actually believe Borbon is a better option than Dejesus or Scheirholtz against lefties? He simply can’t see the ball against lefties. He consistently expands his strike zone and gets himself out especially with runners on. His defense is ok but not exceptional, and doesn’t come close to making up for his nonexistent offensive game versus southpaws.

  • Justin

    OK, Castro looks like complete dogshit at the plate right now. Not cool…

    • Die hard

      He only hits well lead off because he gets more fastballs and that helps him relax especially when can hit early in the count– this had been hi MO since rookie year– question is why can’t Sveum see this?- probably cause he doesn’t understand what to look for

  • Rizzo44

    Jesus christ…. im done watching this game.. Penguins\Senators time! Bases loaded, no outs.. Borbon, but it would be DeJesus.. the guy thats been killing the ball lately, and then Castro, then Rizzo.

    • Rizzo44

      No manager at all..

      • willis

        None.

        • Die hard

          Sveum wants his players to like him so can be a players manager– But good mgrs earn respect by being tough when needed and don’t care about being liked

  • Dynastyin2017

    Anybody else having trouble getting the box scores on MiLB.com ? Rcleven, you out there? Is Almora playing?

    • Jason P

      Yeah, he’s 1-1. Kane county getting shut out though.

      • Dynastyin2017

        Thanks…

      • willis

        2-2 with an RBI. He and Voges just went back to back RBI for KC.

        • Rebuilding

          Now 3-4 with a double

  • Chad

    Maybe Soriano has been doing to much mentoring with Castro. That at bat with the bases loaded is why I would not care if the cubs traded him away.

  • @cubsfantroy

    This game is making me cry. Shark pitching a heck of a game and the offense can’t do anything.

  • Dustin S

    Nice bunt and steal by Borbon. Hopefully that wasn’t offensively the highlight of the game.

  • KidCubbie

    I’m starting to get a little worried about Rizzo. I know slumps happen and its only been a few games now but dang. Easy RBI situations and he just looks kinda lost right now.

    • Die hard

      Needs a Bryant behind him

      • Die hard

        Wonder how much better he would hit if played CF which is less pressure than SS

    • Rebuilding

      I’m a lot more worried about Castro

  • Jason

    If this weren’t the cubs, Id be half expecting a clutch hit here.

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