Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

pnc parkGame one of the doubleheader today pits Jason Hammel against Gerrit Cole. The latter is likely to be a face the Cubs see a lot over the next few weeks, and perhaps in the most important game of the year.

Starlin Castro gets the start at second base in this one, even against the righty Cole. He’s had some success against Cole in the past, so that could be a reason (though the sample sizes in those situations are almost always too small to really consider). The main reasons, though, figure to be that Cole is split-neutral for his career, has a reverse split this year, and Castro is hitting well lately.

I’d love to know what kind of gamesmanship goes into a game like this – as well as when Jake Arrieta starts for the Cubs tomorrow. Both teams want to win the games this week for sure, but the chances they meet in a Wild Card match-up are very high. Dare you risk setting some tendencies today (or tomorrow, for Arrieta) so that you can break them in the Wild Card Game? You can bet that the pitch sequencing, at least, is going to change dramatically from these starts to that one.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (82-60) at Pittsburgh Pirates (86-56), 12:35 CT on CSN 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

Jason Hammel (3.59 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 3.49 xFIP; 4.28 K/BB)


Gerrit Cole (2.54 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 3.19 xFIP; 4.17 K/BB)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Gregory Polanco, RF

2. Neil Walker, 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Jung-Ho Kang, 3B

5. Pedro Alvarez, 1B

6. Travis Snider, LF

7. Jordy Mercer, SS

8. Chris Stewart, C

9. Gerrit Cole, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Kyle Schwarber, LF

3. Chris Coghlan, RF

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Kris Bryant, 3B

6. Miguel Montero, C

7. Starlin Castro, 2B

8. Jason Hammel, P

9. Addison Russell, SS

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