Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

pnc parkI feel much more jarred by Addison Russell Day than by Kris Bryant Day. Sure, Bryant came a little earlier than expected, but we know it was coming within a week or so. And the day Bryant came was the first day the Cubs could get the full year of control … so, while it was super exciting, it was also easier to be prepared for.

On Russell, the timing is just so much more surprising. Yes, we’d started to anticipate that he might be coming soon in recent days, but this was really soon. So, I’m just all discombobulated, in terms of my own reflections on what is happening with the Cubs. I was already excited. But I guess it’s just … hard to find yourself, as a Cubs fan, in a place where: no, seriously, they’re really going for it right now, and not just with short-term fixes. This is a 21-year-old stud prospect coming up to fill a position of need, where he’ll be joining a bunch of other talented 20-somethings.

It’s not like we didn’t know this was all part of The Plan and was happening – including, specifically, Russell coming at some point this year – but it’s different when you actually arrive at the moment. Not that this is an end-point.

In any case, the Cubs take on the Pirates tonight, complete with a host of young talent, and load of righty bats to take on lefty Francisco Liriano. He sports a career .267 wOBA-against when facing lefties, but a .317 wOBA-against when facing righties. Stack that lineup – Anthony Rizzo is the only lefty Liriano will see.

As for Russell, he starts out in the 9-hole, which, given the rest of the lineup and his adjustment to the big leagues, I really like. It keeps the pressure off, while also utilizing him in a nice role as the lineup turns over.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (7-5) at Pittsburgh Pirates (6-7), 6:05 CT on WGN-9 (or your local affiliate), and

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Travis Wood (2.31 ERA, 1.99 FIP, 3.96 xFIP; 3.00 K/BB)


Francisco Liriano (2.08 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 2.72 xFIP; 3.50 K/BB)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Josh Harrison, 3B

2. Neil Walker, 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Corey Hart, 1B

5. Starling Marte, LF

6. Jung-Ho Kang, SS

7. Francisco Cervelli, C

8. Sean Rodriguez, RF

9. Francisco Liriano, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Jorge Soler, RF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Kris Bryant, 3B

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Chris Denorfia, LF

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Travis Wood, P

9. Addison Russell, 2B

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