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Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Wednesday 9/1, 1:20 CT: What Will September Bring?

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Here is the Cubs' record after September 1 (includes a handful of regular season October games) for the last ten seasons:

2009: 18-14 2008: 12-12 2007: 17-12 2006: 12-17 2005: 16-13 2004: 17-13 2003: 19-8 2002: 11-16 2001: 13-15 2000: 7-22

Predictive value for this year: zero. The Cubs have had good Septembers in bad years (2005), mediocre and bad Septembers in good years (2001, 2008) and just about everything in between. In 2005 they entered September seven games under .500 (and like today, 21.5 games out of first place) and had a decent run; in 2001 they entered September only four games out of first and played losing baseball.

In short, who knows? There are 29 games remaining. The Cubs would have to go 17-12 to avoid losing 90; given some of the results above, that's possible, but unlikely. In even more unlikely events, they would have to go 26-3 to finish over .500 (forget it), and 6-23 to lose 100 games (they've been bad, but not that bad).

One more thing: Welington Castillo was with the club yesterday in case Geovany Soto had to go on the DL. Castillo is not eligible to be activated until tomorrow due to the 10-day rule; it seems pointless to put Geo on the DL for one game, so the Cubs will likely just go with Koyie Hill today and activate Castillo in time for the weekend series against the Mets. Bruce Miles notes other possible callups:

I don’t expect much in the way of call-ups initially because Iowa is fighting for a playoff spot and Tennessee is in the playoffs. In addition to Castillo, I’d guess it would be Samardzija, Fuld, Atkins and maybe Berg and possibly Brad Snyder.

That sounds about right, although Snyder is not on the 40-man roster, and the 40-man is currently full after the recall of Scott Maine. James Adduci could be brought up instead of Snyder, but Adduci has the same skillset as Sam Fuld (except he's taller). I wouldn't expect more than those recalls, plus the activation of Carlos Silva, who is scheduled to start for Peoria at Kane County tonight. That would make six or seven additions; most teams don't do more than that and there really isn't enough playing time for more than that.

Today's lineup via tweet from Carrie:

#Cubs lineup vs #Pirates for Wed: 2B DeWitt, SS Castro, RF Fuke, 1B Hoffpauir, CF Colvin, LF Soriano, 3B Baker, C Hill, P Gorzelanny
Today's Starting Pitchers
Tom Gorzelanny
Tom Gorzelanny
Cubs
vs. James McDonald
James McDonald
Pirates
7-8 W-L 2-3
3.98 ERA 4.97
111 SO 31
58 BB 11
10 HR 1
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Tom Gorzelanny 7-8 26 20 0 0 1 0 124.1 124 63 55 10 58 111 3.98 1.46


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - James McDonald 2-3 5 5 0 0 0 0 29.0 27 16 16 1 11 31 4.97 1.31

James McDonald, who the Pirates acquired from the Dodgers at the trading deadline this year in the Octavio Dotel trade, has one career relief appearance vs. the Cubs, on August 23, 2009 in Los Angeles. The only current Cubs he has faced are Kosuke Fukudome (0-for-1) and Aramis Ramirez (a walk).

Tom Gorzelanny is facing his former team for the third time this year; he's got a 4.50 ERA in 10 innings with 12 strikeouts and a pair of no-decisions. I said "former team" rather than "former teammates" because most of the current Pirates weren't on the club when Gorz was last there before July 31, 2009. The two current Pirates he's faced most are Ronny Cedeno (from his Cubs days) and Lastings Milledge, who he faced with the Mets and Nationals. No current Pirate has homered off Tom in 66 at-bats.

Today's game is on WGN and FSN 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 1:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

All of this, of course, is weather permitting.

Discuss amongst yourselves.