wrigley stands crowdThe Chicago Cubs are playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game set over the weekend, starting this afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Brett and I will be there, so if you see me – wearing this hat, as always (that you can buy on Amazon while supporting Bleacher Nation!) – say hi! But if you see Brett in the right field bleachers, don’t say anything. Just walk up to him and hand him a cotton candy and walk away. It’ll confuse him so much, because of his desire not to take candy from strangers, but his love for sweet things. Also, he isn’t editing this before I post it [Brett: is that so, Michael?], so we might be able to get him. I bet he takes a bite.*

Well that was a digression.

Happy Jake Arrieta Day! The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner takes the mound for the Cubs against a Pirates team he’s handled mightily this year so far. Opposing him is lefty starter Francisco Liriano, who’s had the Cubs number in the past, but has been hit pretty badly this year, especially against righties (.357 wOBA) …

… which is why you knew that Joe Maddon was going to stack the lineup full of them. The only two lefties Liriano will face are Anthony Rizzo and Miguel Montero. If Jon Lester weren’t starting tomorrow or if Jake Arrieta weren’t starting today, I’d say this would be a pretty obvious non-Montero start (tough lefty on the mound), but alas, David Ross must catch tomorrow, and Willson Contreras is just not quite ready to catch Jake Arrieta. He will be soon, friends.

Great day for baseball. See you there.



Game Info

Chicago Cubs (44-20) at Pittsburgh Pirates (33-33), 1:20 CT on ABC-7, 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): 1.86 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 3.12 xFIP; 3.21 K/BB

versus

Pirates: Francisco Liriano (L): 4.92 ERA, 5.53 FIP, 4.46 xFIP; 1.66 K/BB



Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup:

1. Jon Jaso, 1B

2. Gregory Polanco, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. David Freese, 3B

5. Matt Joyce, LF

6. Josh Harrison, 2B

7. Jordy Mercer, SS

8. Chris Stewart, C

9. Francisco Liriano, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

1. Dexter Fowler, 1B

2. Matt Szczur, LF

3. Ben Zobrist, 2B

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Albert Almora Jr., RF

6. Javy Baez, 3B

7. Addison Russell, SS

8. Miguel Montero, C

9. Jake Arrieta, P

*[Brett: I’ve already had two cinnamon rolls today, so I might not have teeth by tomorrow.]


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