pnc park

Today, the Chicago Cubs will go for the sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

The Cubs have already won this series, though, taking the first two behind Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta, which means anything that happens today is gravy. With this series win, the Cubs have now won each of their first series against their NL Central foes: Reds (twice), Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates.

Also in this series, the Cubs have outscored the Pirates 14-3, which has raised their already league leading run differential to +89. Before yesterday’s 7-1 victory, the Cubs’ +83 run differential was tied for fourth best in history for any team through 24 games.

Jon Lester takes the mound for the Cubs and he’ll look to build upon a fantastic start to his season. In fact, his five straight quality starts to begin 2016 is the first time he’s recorded five straight quality starts to begin any season in his career.



He’ll be opposed by Pirates starter Juan Nicasio. Nicasio has had a fairly solid start to the season (3.33 ERA through five starts), although he’s been a bit bitten by the long ball (12.0% HR/FB). For his career, Nicasio has been much better – although not great – against righties (.326 wOBA) than lefties (.361 wOBA), which is probably why Tommy La Stella drew another start and is hitting second today. The Cubs ability to mix and match quality bats from both sides of the plate has certainly been benefical in the early going

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (19-6) at Pittsburgh Pirates (15-12), 11:35 CT on CSN, 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: Jon Lester (L): 1.83 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 2.82 xFIP; 4.71 K/BB

versus

Pirates: Juan Nicasio: (R): 3.33 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 3.66 xFIP; 2.42 K/BB



Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Jordy Mercer, SS

2. Andrew McCutchen, CF

3. David Freese, 3B

4. Starling Marte, LF

5. Francisco Cervelli, C

6. Sean Rodriguez, 1B

7. Josh Harrison, 2B

8. Gregory Polanco, RF

9. Juan Nicasio, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Tommy La Stella, 2B

3. Kris Bryant, LF

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Ben Zobrist, RF

6. Javier Baez, 3B

7. Addison Russell, SS

8. David Ross, C

9. Jon Lester, P


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