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The best part about an early day game after a marathon night game? No time to linger on a crappy loss. The worst part? No time to do anything else, either.

The Cubs will try to salvage one game in this opening series in Pittsburgh (if they can get the game off – rain threatens all day). Jason Hammel is to make his Cubs debut, and given the aforementioned marathoning, the Cubs could probably stand to have him go a little deep into this one. Oh, and to hit about seven dingers to help stave off extra innings.

The lineup features a bunch of righties this time around to face lefty Wandy Rodriguez, including Justin Ruggiano, who is finally over his ankle issue (hopefully). He might be the Cubs’ best bat against lefties. Mike Olt and Junior Lake are also back in there.

John Baker is an obvious exception (he bats lefty), but Welington Castillo caught the entire 16-inning affair last night.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (0-2) at Pittsburgh Pirates (2-0), 11:35 CT on CSN and MLBN.

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 lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel (4.97 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 4.56 xFIP in 2013, 2.00 K/BB)

versus

Wandy Rodriguez (3.59 ERA, 4.42 FIP, 4.00 xFIP in 2013, 3.83 K/BB); shut down early season with forearm problems)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Travis Snider, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

5. Neil Walker, 2B

6. Travis Ishikawa, 1B

7. Tony Sanchez, C

8. Jordy Mercer, SS

9. Wandy Rodriguez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Justin Ruggiano, RF

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Junior Lake, LF

6. Mike Olt, 3B

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. John Baker, C

9. Jason Hammel, P

  • Jon

    Bonifacio, eventually one of these ten thousand dumpster dives had work right?

    • Lou Brown

      Brett, can we get a sad trombone sound bite every time Jon posts?

    • Jamie Lannister

      Aye, kind of like what I hear about Dothraki whores…most make you want to vomit, but once in a while you find a gem.

    • brickhouse

      Way too soon to call Bonifacio a win – he’ll probably end up around 260 with a 320 obp

  • Thomas

    It would definitely be nice to see Emillio have a career year with the Cubs. Could be an interesting trade chip if they decide to go that way. Hell if he keeps playing like this just keep him as a super utility guy for the next few years.

  • Picklenose

    If this game gets called early – there will not have been a 9 inning game in the entire series. What are the odds on an opening series having no 9 inning games?

  • smackafilieyo

    Is it bad I want them to call the game already? Just in case….haha

  • C. Steadman

    I’m not going to want to play this Pittsburgh team in the 2nd half of the season when Polanco is playing instead of Snider…that’ll be one good outfield. Of couse, Baez will probably be up though so it won’t matter too much.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Snider is definatly a downgrade from Marlon Byrd.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I’m glad Happy had the balls to get Russell out of there. We have now entered the twilight zone.

  • Rebuilding

    I’m not watching the game, but please tell me Renteria is going to a lefty against Alvarez. I know Russell and Wright aren’t supposed to pitch today, but it’s a 200 point OPS difference

  • Jamie Lannister

    Hopefully Ser Strop is impressive and gets the lion’s share of save chances because I don’t trust this Lord Veras…name reminds me of someone else I don’t trust.

  • Sandberg

    More bunts rofl.

  • Jamie Lannister

    Bunting is a tactic that cravens use.

    • Sandberg

      Clint Tarly

      • Jamie Lannister

        Ha, aye! You’ll never see the sword taken out of Ser Jamie Lannister’s…hand.

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