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Game Thread: Musgrove tries to salvage a game

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MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off his season debut where he threw seven shutout innings, Joe Musgrove will take the mound at PNC Park as the stumbling Pirates, losers of 9 of their last 11, try to avoid being swept by the visiting Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs starting hurler will be 28 year old right-hander Kyle Hendricks (4-3, 3.16) He’s faced the Pirates on this year, losing in Chicago on April 12, while allowing two runs in six innings. The soft tosser is actually throwing a bit harder, as his 2018 fastball velocity is up to 87.1 from 86.0 a year ago. Averaging 2.1 walks and 7.7 strikes per nine innings, he led the National League in ERA with a 2.13 mark in 2016. Other than the fastball, his main off-speed pitch is a change up which he throws 25% of the time.

The Cubs will shake up the top of their order a bit with Albert Almora, Jr. leading off in center field, replacing Ian Happ, and the free swinging Javy Baez will hit second against a starter who is always around the plate. All told they only end three left handed bats up to face the right hander Musgrove.

Starling Marte will get the night off as part of the four man outfield rotation, with Gregory Polanco returning to his spot in right field as Austin Meadows slides over to center. As when Marte was out with injury, Francisco Cervelli modes up to the number three spot in the lineup.

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CUBS

1 R Albert Almora CF

2 R Javy Baez 2B

3 R Kris Bryant 3B

4 L Anthony Rizzo 1B

5 R Willson Contreras C

6 L Kyle Schwarber LF

7 R Addison Russell SS

8 L Jason Heyward RF

9 R Kyle Hendricks RHP

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PIRATES

1 R Josh Harrison 2B

2 L Austin Meadows CF

3 R Francisco Cervelli C

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Corey Dickerson LF

6 L Colin Moran 3B

7 L Gregory Polanco RF

8 R Jordy Mercer SS

9 R Joe Musgrove RHP