Who: Chicago Cubs (8-5) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (6-8)
When: Wednesday, April 22, 6:05 PM CT
Where: PNC Park; Pittsburgh, PA

Game Time Forecast: 45 Degrees, Chance Of Rain
Line: Pirates -111; Over/Under- 7.5 Total Runs

The Cubs had another dramatic come-from-behind win on Tuesday night, stunning the Pirates by the score of 9-8 at PNC Park. Down 8-5, the Cubs scored one run in the eighth on a Welington Castillo solo homer, and added three more runs in the ninth inning off Pirates closer Mark Melancon.

It was a great showing of the new offense the Cubs have, and particularly how dangerous their middle of the order now is. Oh, and it all overshadowed the debut of top prospect Addison Russell, who batted ninth and started at second base.

Up 2-0 in a key series against the NL Central rival Pirates, the Cubs now get a chance to already win the four-game series on game three Wednesday night. Here's more fun stuff to get ready for the game...


1. Dexter Fowler, CF (.232 AVG, 1 HR, .728 OPS)
2. Jorge Soler, RF (.327 AVG, 2 HR, .894 OPS)
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B (.302 AVG, 1 HR, .870 OPS)
4. Kris Bryant, 3B (.444 AVG, 0 HR, 1.194 OPS)
5. Starlin Castro, SS (.352 AVG, 2 HR, .856 OPS)
6. Miguel Montero, C (.172 AVG, 2 HR, .711 OPS)
7. Chris Coghlan, LF (.231 AVG, 2 HR, .764 OPS)
8. Jason Hammel, P (.500 (3-6), 0 HR, 1.167 OPS)
9. Addison Russell, 2B (0-5, .000 OPS)

1. Josh Harrison, 3B (.212 AVG, 2 HR, .633 OPS)
2. Gregory Polanco, RF (.250 AVG, 0 HR, .605 OPS)
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF (.222 AVG, 2 HR, .745 OPS)
4. Neil Walker, 2B (.240 AVG, 1 HR, .658 OPS)
5. Starling Marte, LF (.208 AVG, 5 HR, .792 OPS)
6. Pedro Alvarez, 1B (.227 AVG, 4 HR, .799 OPS)
7. Francisco Cervelli, C (.306 AVG, 0 HR, .736 OPS)
8. Jung Ho Kang, SS (.176 AVG, 0 HR, .458 OPS)
9. Vance Worley, P (0-4, .000 OPS)

Starting Pitchers 

Cubs: Jason Hammel (5.11 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 0.2 fWAR, 12 1/3 IP)

Pirates: Vance Worley (5.84 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 0.1 fWAR, 12/13 IP)

Cubs vs Worley

Starlin Castro: 1-8 (.125 AVG), 0 HR, 2 BB, 6 K, .425 OPS.

Chris Coghlan: 1-4 (.250 AVG), 0 HR, 3 BB, 0 K, .821 OPS.

Chris Denorfia: 0-3, 0 BB, 2 K, .000 OPS.

Dexter Fowler: 2-7 (.286 AVG), 0 HR, 0 BB, 2 K, .571 OPS.

Jonathan Herrera: 1-1, 0 BB, 2.000 OPS.

Miguel Montero: 1-9 (.111 AVG), 0 HR, 1 BB, 1 K, .311 OPS.

Anthony Rizzo: 1-3 (.333 AVG), 1 HR, 0 BB, 1 K, 1.667 OPS.

Jorge Soler: 0-2, 0 BB, 2 K, .000 OPS

Pirates vs Hammel

Pedro Alvarez: 3-17 (.176 AVG), 2 HR, 1 BB, 3 K, .869 OPS.

Francisco Cervelli: 2-3 (.667 AVG), 0 HR, 0 BB, 0 K, 1.333 OPS.

Josh Harrison: 1-4 (.250 AVG), 0 HR, 1 BB, 2 K, .750 OPS.

Corey Hart: 1-9 (.111 AVG), 0 HR, 0 BB, 3 K, .222 OPS.

Starling Marte: 2-9 (.222 AVG), 0 HR, 0 BB, 3 K, .444 OPS.

Andrew McCutchen: 6-20 (.300 AVG), 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 K, .983 OPS.

Jordy Mercer: 3-10 (.300 AVG), 0 HR, 0 BB, 2 K, .700 OPS

Gregory Polanco 1-6 (.167 AVG), 0 HR, 0 BB, 0 K, .333 OPS

Chris Stewart: 2-4 (.500 AVG), 0 HR, 1 BB, 1 K, 1.100 OPS

Neil Walker: 2-9 (.222 AVG), 0 HR, 2 BB, 1 K, .639 OPS.

Who's Hot

After an 0-4 major league debut that included three strikeouts, Kris Bryant has gone 8-for-14 at the dish, with five walks, and just one strikeout. In this Pittsburgh series, Bryant is 5-for-8, with five RBI, two walks, two doubles off the wall, and no strikeouts.

Pirates outfielder Starling Marte has homered in each of the first two games of the series, and now has five homers on the season.

Who's Not

The Cubs roughed up Pirates closer Mark Melancon on Tuesday night, scoring three runs off three hits and two walks. Melancon had a 1.39 ERA in 2013, and 1.70 ERA in 2014, but now has an 8.53 ERA (6 ER in 6 1/3 IP) to start out the 2015 campaign. It's showing up in more than the statistics, too. Melancon's average fastball velocity is down to 88.0 MPH, after being 92.8 last year. And his average cutter velocity (his cutter is his main pitch) is down from 91.6 to 88.9. So, the Pirates may want to look deeper into that and make sure Melancon is healthy before trotting him out there again in the ninth inning.

Brian Schlitter... sigh. Hopefully Joe is done trotting Schlitter out there in meaningful situations, but he hasn't so far this year. I tweeted this last night when Schlitter entered the game:
Schlitter proceeded to allow three earned runs in 2/3 of an inning, blowing the Cubs' 4-2 lead, and denying Travis Wood of a win. Teams figured out after the first half last season that Schlitter basically throws one pitch (a hard sinker), and he will throw it over the middle of the plate even when he's ahead in the count. It's understandable the Cubs called up Schlitter with the injuries to Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm, but he should only be at the bottom of the bullpen pecking order right now if he's going to be on the roster. Edwin Jackson (who has thrown five scoreless innings and has had a velocity increase out of the bullpen) deserves more important chances than Schlitter at the moment.

This & That

Kris Bryant is still waiting for his first career homer, and came close a few times in this series. It will happen very soon... maybe tonight?

And Addison Russell went 0-for-5 in his debut, so he's still looking for his first hit. We are going to see a lot of firsts in the next week between these two players.

Relatable Tweets

Miguel Montero's Twitter account is gold.

Relatable Video

The most amazing part of Tuesday night's win was this double Kris Bryant hit 375 feet off the right field wall, on an inside pitch.

Just incredible, and a great showcase of Bryant's incredible power and talent. Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan even wrote a whole article reacting to this at-bat and its awesomeness. Give it a read. 

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