Pregame Notes: Chicago Cubs travel to Pittsburgh to battle the Pirates

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Cubs open four-game series against Bucs

After getting solid contributions from their pen to start the season, the Chicago Cubs last three games didn’t fare so well, as they were right in the middle of the team’s struggles. But the Cubs hope they don’t need the pen much as

Jake Arrieta

(1-1, 1.98) takes the hill for them while

A.J. Burnett

(0-1, 2.25) looks for his first win.

The Cubs (6-5) look to get back on the winning track after dropping two of three to the San Diego Padres over the weekend. Arrieta has given up runs in only one of his 13 2/3 innings, a three-run fourth against the Reds on Tuesday. Aside from that, he’s been the same pitcher he was last season. They’ll need him as Kris Bryant continues to find his way early on, getting his first road test after his Wrigley Field debut.

After a rough debut, Bryant seemed to make some adjustments in just one day, getting on base five times, including three walks after his tree strikeout performance on Friday. Everyone is waiting for that first long ball, but Bryant isn’t pressing. “If it happens, it happens.” Bryant said. “If it doesn’t happen for the next 20 games, I’ll try to get on base and do what I can to help the team win.” h/t Sarah Trotto, MLB.com

The Pirates (6-6) hope Burnett can break into the win column, as he’s pitched well in his two starts–striking out 15 and walking only two in 12 innings. He’s also been very effective against the Cubs in his career, holding them to a .219 average in 13 starts. But there will be a lot of new faces for Burnett to battle, with a young Cubs team to face.

News and Notes:

  • The Pirates have won 14 of 20 meetings in Pittsburgh over the past two seasons while limiting the Cubs to 2.5 runs per game. They were 14-5 overall against Chicago a season ago.
  • The Cubs began Sunday tied for the NL lead in stolen bases with the Reds, and second in the majors. It’s been a team effort, as Dexter Fowler leads the team with just three.
  • The Cubs are the only NL team to have two players with multi -home run games. Miguel Montero and Jorge Soler have each done so. The Red Sox and Blue Jays are the only other teams to do so.

First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m. CT at PNC Park, although the forecast is quite ominous with rain in the forecast.

Here are the starting lineups for tonight’s game: