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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Saturday 8/18, 6:05 CT

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The Cubs appear to be getting on a roll.

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

I am reminded today of Shawn Estes. Remember him? He was the Cubs’ fifth starter in 2003, and was pretty bad all that year. Like Tyler Chatwood, he walked a lot of hitters and eventually was demoted to the bullpen, where at one point he sat and threw in a game just once in a 20-day period.

And then the Cubs, during the final week of the regular season that year, needed Estes to make an emergency start. It was against the Reds in Cincinnati. Now, the Reds were awful that year, losing 93 games. But as I mentioned above, Estes had been pretty bad that year, too.

He threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits and two walks. It was the last game he pitched for the Cubs.

Perhaps Chatwood can channel his inner Estes tonight. I wouldn’t expect a shutout, or even a complete game (no Cub has thrown one this year). And it won’t be the last game he’ll pitch for the Cubs.

But maybe, just maybe, Chatwood can give the Cubs five or six solid innings and put them in position to win.

We can dream, right?

And, no rain tonight!

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Tyler Chatwood, RHP vs. Joe Musgrove, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

I have probably written all I possibly can about Tyler Chatwood and how I hope this time will be better than the last.

Since moving to the bullpen, he has made three appearances. Two of them were decent. He got torched in the other one by a really bad team.

So, I really don’t know what to say here. Perhaps the one-day’s notice that he’s starting will help, he won’t have had five days to think about his next start.

He has made one start against the Pirates this year, April 10 at Wrigley Field, and the results were not great: nine hits and five runs in five innings.

But! He only walked one in that game. It’s his only start all year where he walked just one. So... maybe that’s a good sign. He also threw a scoreless inning of relief against the Pirates August 1 at PNC Park.

Joe Musgrove started this year on the DL with a shoulder issue. His second start back from the DL was against the Cubs, May 30 at PNC Park, and he threw seven solid innings that night, allowing just one run.

He spent some more time on the DL in early July with a finger injury, but he missed just one start and since his return has been pretty good: 3.18 ERA, 1.059 WHIP, just three home runs in 39⅔ innings.

Current Cubs are a small sample size 7-for-36 (.194) against Musgrove with no home runs. Time to change that up tonight!

Today’s game is on WGN.

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. If you do go there to interact with Pirates fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. Here’s how it works.

You’ll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads” so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game’s StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.