Live Discussion: Cubs 7, Pirates 0

PITTSBURGH — We’ve reached Memorial Day, one of those unofficial checkpoints of the Major League Baseball season juxtaposed against perhaps our most solemn holiday here in the United States of America.

In deference to the latter aspect, the Pirates will join the rest of MLB in a moment of silence during the inning break closest to the top of the 3 o’clock hour. Hope you have a chance to think about the meaning of the day amidst your early-summer revelry as well.

As for the reason we’re all here at, the Pirates have been staggered a bit by recent results. After Michael Feliz and Felipe Vásquez combined to give up an eighth-inning lead Sunday, Pittsburgh (28-24, 5.0 games back) has lost three straight series to drop to fourth place in the National League Central.

Two of those series losses have been to divisional competition in the Reds and Cardinals, but the Pirates will have a chance to rebound against another rival this week, with the Cubs (27-22, 4.5 GB) in town for a three-game series.

In injury news …

• Vásquez left Sunday’s loss — the Pirates’ seventh in nine games — with left forearm discomfort, but he told reporters this morning at PNC Park that he feels better and plans to throw before the game. However, it appears he’ll have today off.

• The Pirates have placed Iván Nova on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained finger on his pitching hand. As expected, Nick Kingham has been promoted to the majors and will start in Nova’s place Tuesday night against Chicago.

While the pitching staff is ailing, the Pirates have the opposite problem on the position-player side of things. Here’s Alan Saunders on Austin Meadows getting more playing time, even if it means pinch-hitting once in a while:


Chad Kuhl (4.20 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 1.35 WHIP) gets the call for the 11th time this season, with Clint Hurdle placing Meadows in the second spot of the lineup and Francisco Cervelli sitting out due to illness again …


The Cubs send reliever Mike Montgomery (5.33 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 1.46 WHIP) to the mound less than 24 hours after beating the Giants on Sunday night at Wrigley Field.

Here’s the rest of Joe Maddon’s starting nine …


by John Dreker

Today’s game between the Pirates and Cubs is the 2,500th regular season game between the two clubs. That is the most between any pair of teams in MLB history. The Pirates lead the series 1272-1209 with 18 ties. The first National League game in Pirate team history was also the first game between these two teams, back on April 30, 1887 when it was the Alleghenys vs White Stockings. That game included two Hall of Fame pitchers and future 300-game winners Pud Galvin and John Clarkson. You can see the boxscore in this tweet, along with the first batter in Pirates NL history, Abner Dalrymple. The first batter between the two clubs was Chicago’s Billy Sunday, who would join the Alleghenys in 1888 and later become a very famous evangelist.


Another hot one in the ‘Burgh! It’ll be close to 90 degrees for first pitch, with increasing clouds as the day moves on. I’m looking forward to seeing all the boats and dirigibles in the Allegheny River from my vantage point in the (very elevated) press box.

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