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wrigley field from right bleachersAh, the old April night game at Wrigley. In my experience, they are two things: fun if you’re with friends, and very cold.

Edwin Jackson and Charlie Morton square off again in an outing that most probably hope won’t once again go 16 innings. If the Cubs plan to win it in 9, they’ll need the lefty-heavy lineup – the one that struggled against Morton last time, but dominated A.J. Burnett this weekend – to fare well. I know, I know, Lake-Olt-Grr, but this is the right approach for now, not only in general, but against a righty hard sinker guy like Morton. As I wrote last time against Morton:

Speaking of which: Morton’s career splits are staggering. Righties have hit just .251/.316/.345, whereas lefties have hit 327/.410/.497 off of him.

You stack the lineup with lefties against a guy like that. You just do.

As for Edwin Jackson, here’s hoping he doesn’t suffer from having to face the Pirates two games in a row.

Game Info

Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2) at Chicago Cubs (2-4), 7:05 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. 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

Charlie Morton (0.00 ERA, 2.12 FIP, 2.52 xFIP; 6.00 K/BB)

versus

Edwin Jackson (1.69 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 4.73 xFIP; 1.25 K/BB)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Travis Snider, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

5. Russell Martin, C

6. Neil Walker, 2B

7. Travis Ishikawa, 1B

8. Jordy Mercer, SS

9. Charlie Morton, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Ryan Kalish, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Luis Valbuena, 3B

6. Starlin Castro, SS

7. Ryan Sweeney, CF

8. Welington Castillo, C

9. Edwin Jackson, P

  • cubsfan08

    Can’t wait to read the complete 180 some on this blog will make tomorrow regarding Castro!!!

    • wkranz

      Are you talking about the commentators or Brett? I’m pretty sure Brett has always said, “small sample size”.

      • cubsfan08

        Sorry – those who comment – certainly not Brett.

        • wkranz

          Fair enough, now all the people who think Castro is HOF will say look at those numbers and the pessimists will scream, “Small Sample!” It is going to be fun to see.

          • ssckelley

            I will be on the Castro bandwagon tomorrow, but I never really got off. Last year I could tell they were forcing him to take more pitches which screwed him up. This spring he was hurt and never got much of a chance to get ready. Defensively he has made some awesome plays while missing 2 easy ones but at the plate he looks like his old self.

  • ssckelley

    Jeez, 2 year deal for Sweeney?

    • JCubs79

      I think next year is a team option. And why not? Sweeney is a solid player. More of a 4th OF type but a good player to have on your team.

      • ssckelley

        No, 2016 is the option year.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    WTF is Castro for real?

    • mjhurdle

      not sure why, but that made me think of this…

      [img]http://s13.postimg.org/vnm2mahp3/output_j_Bpst_M.gif[/img]

      • wkranz

        Why is that in your memory bank at all?

  • Jason P

    Damn, I was sure that one was gone!

    • ssckelley

      I was too.

  • JCubs79

    That’s 3 great AB’s now for Castro tonight.

  • wkranz

    Important not to do what all the Castro haters did after 3 games and assume that Castro is back to a .300 hitter with 20 HRs, but it is good to see him drive mistakes. His first hit seemed a bit lucky and he can’t fall in love with that approach, too bad Jackson struggled so much today.

    • JCubs79

      His first AB was great. He worked it to a 3-2, battled and put the ball in play. That’s all you can really ask for outside of hard contact. Should he have probably taken the last pitch yeah, but his hit tool is bound to give him some luck every now and then.

      • wkranz

        Agree. The AB wasn’t bad, but his “I can get my bat on anything” mentality causes him some soft contact. Would be more excited to see him take that ball and really wait for pitches he can do something with.

        • Kyle

          When he was good, he *could* make solid contact on his pitches. Seeing him do it the last few days is encouraging.

    • cubbiehawkeye

      The first AB was a pretty good one. He did get lucky against a shift but anytime someone works a full count its a decent AB. IMO

    • ssckelley

      That first home run he hit was not a mistake, it was a damn good pitch inside and right at the knees.

  • ssckelley

    Tseng ended up allowing 3 runs in the 5th inning but struck out 5 with no walks. Concepcion came in and dominated 3 innings only giving up 1 hit and striking out 3.

  • Lou Brown

    I know, I know peripherals, bad luck, regression to the mean, yada, yada, yada. But it always seems like Jackson pitches us to a loss. We score 2, he gives up 3. We score 6 he gives up 7. I hate the days he is pitching.

    • Kyle

      His peripherals suck too this year.

  • COWA

    Ok. 100 pitches by the Pirate’s starter through 6 innings. That’s news. Bostonesq. Missed by Len. Also,I wish that JD didn’t say that Welly’s long drive didn’t make it out because there was too much top spin, then he said that Welly got to far under the ball. The last I checked, if you hit under the ball you create backspin. Which is it?

    • ssckelley

      Radios still broadcast the Cub games.

    • Jason P

      Relax already with the complaining about Kasper. If you don’t like him, turn the volume down. Or buy MLB TV and listen to the Pirates feed. Or heck, listen on the radio.

    • Beast Mode

      JD said he needed to get under the ball a bit. Not he did hit under the ball.

      • COWA

        My bad for Not hearing correctly. Love JD. Just don’t think the 2 work well together. Need some Genuine excitement in the booth. I’ll take SSCKELLEY’s advice.

  • ssckelley

    Obsessive Baez watch: 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Baez was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. He’s hitting .056 for the season. Ouch!

  • COWA

    Grimm looks filthy!! Very late break on that sliderrrr. Nice!

  • COWA

    Bryaezamora spelled backwards is what?

  • ssckelley

    Jeez…..not liking that bunt at all.

  • ssckelley

    Rizzo comes through against a lefty!

  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

    Rizzo and Castro looking great the past couple of games. PLEASE LET THEM GET BACK TO WHERE THEY CAN BE.

  • wkranz

    Man that is good to see from Rizzo!

  • Medicos

    Now that’s how baseball is supposed to be played—-single, bunt, stolen base, single. Manufactured runs will benefit the Cubs this year

  • http://BN Sacko

    Happy playing small ball when behind and its working, Holy this is great!

  • wkranz

    Veras will get his shot in the 9th. If he is anything like Marmol, if we are tied or losing it will go fine, if we are up by one…buckle up

    • Alan Griffin

      Looks that way. Who’s gonna close besides Veras when Grimm and Stop have already gone? Here’s hoping for the best.

  • Beast Mode

    Another 16 innings??

    • drew

      The good news is they can’t walk off tonight……

  • Eternal Pessimist

    Flipped over the MiLB.com and sorry to see the Iowa Cubs with 14 SO and 0 BB.

  • wkranz

    Man Welly missed on that throw bad. Would have been nice!

  • COWA

    Strop spelled backwards is Ports.

    • Alan Griffin

      Prophetic.

  • COWA

    Could be a big momentum game if Cubs can get W.

  • Jason P

    How do you walk Alvarez? All you have to do is throw it remotely near the zone.

    • WilliamGlass721

      The umpire hosing you on what was a first pitch strike.

  • wkranz

    Why can’t our bullpen throw strike! That hurt

  • wkranz

    And thats why you can’t walk the bases loaded and then go down 3-1.

  • lnfihDeL

    Game 7 and I’m already frustrated and pissed off with the team.

    THROW STRIKES BULLPEN.

    Walk 3 straight batters and give up a run. Pathetic!

  • Jason P

    Gotta beat either Melancon or Grilli now. Gonna be tough.

    • ssckelley

      Pretty much game over.

      • Jason P

        Remember when Grilli was almost a Cub?

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