#Cubs Lester opens series vs Pirates

Jon Lester takes the mound Monday night when the Cubs open a three-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. The good news is Kris Bryant is in the lineup after having to leave Sunday’s game because he felt dizzy following a collision at second base. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF
Denorfia LF
Bryant 3B
Rizzo 1B
Soler RF
Castro SS
Ross C
Lester P
Russell 2B

* Bryant said he will avoid head first slides from now on.

* The Cubs are a season-high 10-games above .500 for the first time since ending the 2008 season with a 97-64 record.

* Pitcher Clayton Richard was designated for assignment and outfielder Matt Szczur called up from Triple-A Iowa.

* The Cubs are batting .248 against left-handed pitchers this season (.235 vs RHP), eighth best in NL. … Cubs pitchers have given up 10 runs over the last five games. … Lester posted a 1.66 ERA (8 ER, 43.1 IP) in six July starts.

* The Cubs and PIrates are squaring off for the first time since May 17. At that time,  the Pirates were two games under .500 (18-20). Since then, the Pirates have gone 43-22, the best record in the Majors in that span. Pittsburgh also has won 20 of its last 26 games at PNC Park.

* Anthony Rizzo is 8-for-19 AB (.421) with four homers, 10 RBI in his last five games.

* In case you missed it, here are the pitching probables for this series:

Monday: LHP Jon Lester (6-8, 3.26) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (7-6, 2.92)
Tuesday: RHP Jake Arrieta (11-6, 2.62) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (0-0, 0.00)
Wednesday: RHP Dan Haren (7-7, 3.42) vs. LHP Jeff Locke (6-6, 4.21)


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Now, get Szczur a bunch of at bats. Preferably, 4 per game for a solid 10 games. Then, I might shut up.

No need to shut up Mat B, your enthusiasm and support for Szczur is admirable and understandable…..can he play shortstop???🙂 hmmmmm…..an “out of the box” thought that the uncanny Joe Maddon just may put in play…. Ha!!!

Actually, I’ve never considered shortstop, but they’ve moved Alcantera from short to second to center. I have wondered about trying Szczur at second.

No please stop… Szczur will not be with the Cubs long term at any position

We are fortunate not to have to face Cole in this series, one of the elite `arms` in the game.

Aloha jhosk, could you please send some of that “postponing,” rain our way! Mahalo!

I wish I could k.g. I`ve read there are over 20 separate large wildfires in California alone as I type, including the Rocky Fire, which may be the most challenging firefighters have ever encountered. No doubt the four year drought has exacerbated conditions. T`is a pity last night`s game was a waste of time for everyone, including the fans. All records were erased and perhaps our best pitcher has to wait five days or more to go again. At least we gained on the Giants in the WC race.

next six games are crucial. hope the weather clears up for tomorrow.

Carrie, fans…This is becoming more than weird. This season, starting with Opening Night, every Cubs game shown on television in Brazil has resulted either in a Cubs loss or a rainout. Every one! When I watch on my computer using MLB.tv, they win more than they lose. “A maldição continua.” That’s Portuguese for, “The curse continues.”

Aloha Bruce- yes it is weird how many rain delays and rainouts this team has had to endure thus far. By the way, do you encounter any “blackouts” with your subscription to MLBTV since you are in Brazil? I ask because for example, I cannot watch any Giants games. So later this week, when they go to Wrigley because the Giants are playing the Cubs, I will only be able to “listen” to the audio portion via MLB. So, as you can imagine I am a little disappointed. Take care now. Mahalo.

Aloha k.g. I`m pleased Bruce has access to games in South America. I would think the Giants games would be telecast on local tv, in the Bay Area, k.g. No? I`ll be subject to `blackout` with tonight`s Pirates game, but will see it on the `Root Sports` channel which telecasts almost every blessed Pittsburgh game. That was a heckuva game betwixt the Braves and Giants last night. I see Vogelsong surrendered the `game winning` dinger.

k.g., jhosk and others: No MLB blackouts in Brazil, including for playoffs. I can choose home or away broadcasts plus TV or radio audio. Televised games are rare. I get two ESPN and two Fox Sports channels on SKY satellite TV, with maybe four baseball games — total — per week. The Cubs show up around once a month. Narration on ESPN is in Portuguese, but you can get English by hitting the SAP button. On Fox it’s Portuguese only. At least that’s something in a country where people have only a vague idea of what baseball is. There ARE Brazilians in the majors, but only their families and a few friends know about them: Yan Gomes of the Indians, Paulo Orlando of the Royals and, maybe still, Andre Rienzo of the Marlins.

Aloha Petrey- thank you for this. Can’t wait for it as I am sure it will be easier to catch the games. Mahalo.

Aloha Bruce & jhosk- I think what is neat is because your payment address is in Brazil, then you have no “blackouts!” That is what I am assuming. To also answer jhosk’s question, sad to say catching baseball games in the Bay Area is tough because in the past they were aired on various stations, both A’s & Giants. Now if you do not have cable with a Comcast Bay Area package you most definitely will not see the games. But they put up like maybe 8-12 games on the local NBC affiliate for the Giants. I gave up the cable as it was just costing too much and when WGN changed their lineup not to include the Cubs games I said that is it, no need for it. So I have the new “digital-rabbit-ears,” which I installed on the top of my home and spliced it into the old cable connection. Works great but as I said not many games aired anymore unless you pay for the cable. That was another reason when MLBTV sent me the offer I jumped at it and a device (like the Wii-AppleTV-Roku) to stream it. But since my billing address is here in the Bay Area I do not get to watch any of the A’s or Giant’s games on it but they do offer the audio portion. Anyhow, I thought tonight was a well played game, defense, pitching and offense. I do think the Cubs had more opportunities to score runs and I hope they will learn to capitalize on them because no amount of runs is enough with this team so they need to get every one they can. I forgot what inning it was where they had 2 on, maybe the 5th or 6th but then a strikeout or strange FC to the left field. Thankfully Soler came through to bring in a run. The Pirates are a good team like the Cardinals and the Giants are hitting big too right now, ie: Hunter Pence! So, this is a good time for this team to heat up because they have a very hard schedule in front of them after tomorrow starting with the Giants. Take care everyone! Mahalo!

Pirates to play on 30 consecutive days and necessitate approval by the Major League Baseball Players Association. None of the statistics from the first four innings will count, and the game will start over.

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