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pnc parkTravis Wood gets the ball tonight, and all eyes will be on the second batter he faces: big-time Pirates prospect Gregory Polanco. Roundly a top 25 prospect coming into the year, Polanco is probably now considered a top ten prospect after dominating at AAA at age 22. He now gets his first taste of the big leagues, and may Wood teach him that it ain’t easy.

On the offensive side, of course Mike Olt is starting the day I write a long piece about how he’s being moved to the bench, and how it’s not the worst thing in the world. In my – and, I guess ultimately, Rick Renteria’s – defense, starting Olt tonight is not inconsistent with the plan for him going forward. Francisco Liriano is not only a lefty; he’s a lefty who is especially hard on other lefties. Starting Olt, and every other righty on the roster, tonight makes sense.

I could make a pretty sound argument for batting Travis Wood 6th tonight (hell, the numbers say he should be batting second or fourth), but I won’t.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (24-36) at Pittsburgh Pirates (30-33), 6:05 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Game threads now live here in the comments – and with Disqus, they should be even more enjoyable.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Travis Wood (5.04 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 4.37 xFIP; 2.24 K/BB)

versus

Francisco Liriano (4.54 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 3.59 xFIP; 2.03 K/BB)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Josh Harrison, 3B

2. Gregory Polanco, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Gaby Sanchez, 1B

5. Russell Martin, C

6. Starling Marte, LF

7. Jordy Mercer, SS

8. Clint Barmes, 2B

9. Francisco Liriano, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Junior Lake, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Justin Ruggiano, RF

6. Mike Olt, 3B

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Eli Whiteside, C

9. Travis Wood, P

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