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Forecast: rainy with low chance of baseball

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CHICAGO — The outlook for tonight’s game is not especially good. The tarp is on the field at Wrigley, and a giant mass of heavy rain is moving toward the city. If tonight’s game is rained out, it will not be rescheduled.

– The Pirates must win two of their remaining four games to avoid a 100-loss season.

– Over the past four games, Pirates pitchers have posted a 1.54 ERA. The starters went 3-1 with a 2.02 ERA and relievers have combined to toss 8 1/3 scoreless innings.

– Pirates pitchers and catchers have caught or picked off a would-be base-stealer in four of the past five games and five of the past seven. The pitching staff has 15 caught stealings this season, which is tied with Philadelphia for most in the National League.

– GM Neal Huntington, pitching coach Joe Kerrigan and manager John Russell will huddle Friday to determine whether Kevin Hart will start Sunday’s season finale. Hart’s inning count is high and he’s not been very efficient in his past few outings, so management might opt to use a spot starter and the bullpen.

– Huntington and Russell have begun holding their closed-door, “exit meetings” with the players.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

PIRATES (61-97)

  1. Andrew McCutchen cf
  2. Andy LaRoche 3b
  3. Garrett Jones 1b
  4. Ryan Doumit c
  5. Lastings Milledge lf
  6. Brandon Moss rf
  7. Delwyn Young 2b
  8. Ramon Vazquez ss
  9. Paul Maholm (8-9, 4.44) lhp

CUBS (82-76)

  1. Ryan Theriot ss
  2. So Taguchi lf
  3. Derrek Lee 1b
  4. Aramis Ramirez 3b
  5. Jeff Baker 2b
  6. Reed Johnson rf
  7. Geovany Soto c
  8. Sam Fuld cf
  9. Jeff Samardzija (1-3, 7.53)
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