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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Sunday 8/19, 12:35 CT

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The Cubs go for the series win this afternoon.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday notes:

  • After this weekend, the Cubs have more series remaining in A.L. Central ballparks (2) than N.L. Central ballparks (1). The Cubs still have the two-game set this week in Detroit and a three-game set at the White Sox next month, but have just one road N.L. Central series remaining next month in Milwaukee (Labor Day week), as they do not visit Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Cincinnati again this year. This also means that for five of the remaining 19 road games after today, the Cubs will be able to use a DH.
  • The Cubs have now played three straight games in which they scored in each game and all their runs came via solo homers. This is the second time this has occurred in franchise history. The other was in 1986: a 4-1 loss at San Diego on July 3 (Chris Speier), a 2-1 loss at San Diego on July 4 (Gary Matthews), and a 3-2 win at San Diego on July 5 (Matthews, Ron Cey and Jody Davis). H/T: Ed Hartig
  • The Cubs were 29-23 and 4½ games behind Milwaukee in the N.L. Central Division following a loss on May 30. Since then they have gone 42-28 (.600) to make up nine games in the standings over the now third-place Brewers. The Cubs have played 3½ games better than the second-place Cardinals in this span.
  • Cubs relievers over the last four games: 14 innings, 11 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts, no runs allowed.
  • The Cubs have reached 20 games above .500 for the fourth consecutive season. That’s the first time for the franchise to do that since they did it five straight years from 1934-38. H/T: Ed Hartig

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Well, that’s different.

Pirates lineup:

Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Jameson Taillon, RHP

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

The Cubs had good results the first two games of this series starting lefthanders vs. the Pirates, so perhaps that’s a good sign for Jose Quintana.

We can only hope, because three of his last four starts have been bad, and he has a 7.52 ERA and 1.377 WHIP in those starts, with six (!) home runs allowed in 20⅓ innings.

Q has not faced the Pirates this year. The last time he started a game at PNC Park was September 6, 2017, and that one was excellent: six shutout innings, six singles, one walk, six strikeouts... and the Cubs won 1-0.

That’d work for me.

In his third big-league season, Jameson Taillon is showing the talent that got the Pirates to select him with the second overall pick in 2010. He’s had a particularly good run over his last six starts: 2.70 ERA, 1.225 WHIP, just two home runs allowed in 40 innings.

That run includes a solid outing against the Cubs July 31 at PNC Park: three runs in 6⅔ innings. All three runs scored on a home run by Javier Baez, and it would be good for Javy (not to mention the rest of the Cubs) to get the bats going again.

Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago.

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.