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The Chicago Cubs continue to march on with a lineup missing several regular position players.

Last night, they beat the Pirates in a rematch of last season’s NL Wild Card Game. The Cubs even beat the same starting pitcher (Gerrit Cole) that started that game. Tonight, the other starting pitcher from last season’s Wild Card matchup (Jake Arrieta) takes the mount with a dazzling 1.00 ERA and a spotless 5-0 record.

I immediately hate myself for using the pitcher win stat right there, but something deeply ingrained in the back of my head thought there was something especially beautiful about seeing “Jake Arrieta 5-0, 1.00 ERA,” when I opened up the AtBat app. [Brett: I instinctively edited the line out until I saw this follow-up paragraph.]

Opposing Arrieta tonight is former Mets starting pitcher Jon Niese, who has had a rough start to the season with the Pirates (5.08/5.79/4.30), but has a 3-0 record of his own (see, I told you it doesn’t matter). Niese has been slightly better against left-handed hitters in his career, but the Cubs will play without Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Miguel Montero tonight, so there won’t be as many lefties in the lineup as there may have otherwise been.



In fact, tonight’s lineup is quite different than we’re used to seeing. Kris Bryant starts in right and bats third, Jorge Soler starts in left and bats second, and Javy Baez continues to make appearances, this time covering the hot corner and batting sixth. Tim Federowicz is also starting behind the plate for Arrieta, while batting eighth.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (18-6) at Pittsburgh Pirates (15-11), 6:05 CT on WPWR, MLBN, 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun. But keep it “safe for work” type fun, all right?

The Series Preview lives here. The Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Jake Arrieta (R): 1.00 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 3.06 xFIP; 3.20 K/BB

versus

Pirates: Jon Niese (L): 5.08 ERA, 5.79 FIP, 4.30 xFIP; 2.22 K/BB



Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. John Jaso, 1B

2. Andrew McCutchen, CF

3. David Freese, 3B

4. Matt Joyce, RF

5. Francisco Cervelli, C

6. Gregory Polanco, LF

7. Sean Rodriguez, 2B

8. Jordy Mercer, SS

9. Jon Niese, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Jorge Soler, LF

3. Kris Bryant, RF

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Ben Zobrist, 2B

6. Javier Baez, 3B

7. Addison Russell, SS

8. Tim Federowicz, C

9. Jake Arrieta, P




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