5/26 Cubs lineup & homecoming
Blake Lalli gets the start Saturday night for the Cubs against his former favorite team, the Pirates as the Cubs try to snap a 10-game losing streak. Lalli grew up in nearby Gibsonia, Pa., and went to games at Three Rivers Stadium and PNC Park as a kid. He was a teammate of Pirates second baseman Neal Walker at Pine-Richland High School. Walker was a catcher and Lalli was a pitcher and shortstop. He’d play short on days he wasn’t pitching. Walker would catch him.
In 2004, Walker was drafted out of high school in the first round but Lalli wasn’t and couldn’t get a college baseball scholarship. He played for Gardner-Webb in North Carolina, and was not drafted until his junior year.
When he was called up May 18, Walker sent Lalli a text to congratulate him.
“That meant a lot,” Lalli said. “It means a lot from everyone — a lot of people congratulated me. But Neil, we played together in high school, and he was always a great guy. He’s had so much success up here. It meant a lot.”
Paul Maholm gets the start against his former team, the Pirates. He has the most wins at PNC Park of any pitcher.
“He’s a polished pro,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “At the end of the day, we just felt we needed to go in a different direction. But I’m glad he’s in a good place; we’ll do everything we can to get him to a bad place. It’ll be kinda neat for someone who was a Pirate for such a long period to come back on the other side and compete against a lot of his old teammates.”
One thing Hurdle has to do is get an autographed ball from Maholm for his daughter, who is a big fan.
Here’s Saturday’s lineup:
— Carrie Muskat