Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Friday 9/2, 1:20 CT: See You In September

Write your own caption. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Well, here we are; it's September and that means baseball will be leaving us soon; it ends (except for those teams heading to the playoffs) three weeks from next Wednesday. As bad as this season has been, we will miss baseball when it's gone for the winter.

In the meantime, the Cubs will try to make September as good as August was. The last time they faced the Pirates, they swept a four-game series in Pittsburgh to start August off. If they can sweep again, this time in a three-game set, they would be tied with the Pirates for fourth place after Sunday's game.

The Cubs were 16-13 in August, their first winning calendar month this year. Since August 1 -- which includes that four-game Cubs sweep in Pittsburgh -- the Pirates are 8-23. They were in first place in the NL Central on July 19. Since that date, they are 11-31.

This would be a nice weekend to keep Pittsburgh's slide going.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Johnson RF, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, Soriano LF, Byrd CF, Soto C, Barney 2B, Dempster P

Remember, today's Pirates starter is a lefthander. Also, Bryan LaHair has been reported on his way to Chicago and might be available to pinch-hit today.

Pirates lineup:

Presley lf, Harrison 3b, Walker 2b, McCutchen cf, Jones 1b, Paul rf, Cedeno ss, McKenry c, Burres p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Brian Burres
Brian Burres
Pirates
10-10 W-L making
4.76 ERA his
158 SO 2011
61 BB season
20 HR debut
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ryan Dempster 10-10 29 28 0 0 0 0 164.1 169 90 87 20 61 158 4.76 1.40

Ryan Dempster has made three starts against the Pirates this year. One was pretty good, one not quite so good (but he and the Cubs won anyway) and one was pretty bad. The Pirates player who really crushes Dempster is Neil Walker (7-for-12, .583, two doubles, one HR, five RBI, two walks).

Brian Burres made 20 appearances (13 starts) for the Pirates in 2010, but has spent the entire 2011 season at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he has come close to replicating his 2010 major league season. Of current Cubs, he has mostly faced Carlos Pena (6-for-18) and Marlon Byrd (3-for-13), both of whom homered off him twice in his time in the AL with the Orioles. A repeat of that today would be nice.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and ROOT Sports Pittsburgh. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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