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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Sunday 8/18, 6:10 CT

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The Cubs go for a road series win — in a neutral site!

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

ICYMI, a brief history of Cubs neutral-site games is here.

Today’s roster moves: Here.

Notes:

  • CUBS IN LITTLE LEAGUE: The Cubs roster features these notable Little League Baseball alumni: Kris Bryant (Peccole LL in Las Vegas), Steve Cishek (Falmouth, Mass. LL), Jonathan Lucroy (Eustis, Fla. LL), Jose Quintana (Arjona, Colombia LL), Anthony Rizzo (Parkland, Fla. LL) and manager Joe Maddon (Hazleton, Pa. LL).
  • FOR STARTERS: Cubs starting pitchers Yu Darvish (seven innings, no runs Thursday in Philadelphia), Kyle Hendricks (seven innings, one run Friday in Pittsburgh) and Jon Lester (six innings, no runs yesterday) have combined for a 0.45 ERA (20 innings, one earned run) in the team’s last three games.
  • THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Tonight’s game completes a stretch that began July 22 in which the Cubs played 19 of 25 games on the road. The team has gone 11-13 in the 24 games so far.
  • THE UNIFORM SPECIAL: Here are the uniforms the Cubs and Pirates will wear tonight.

Also. and this is the last thing the Cubs need right now, there’s rain in the Williamsport-area forecast. So, keep this handy this evening:

If this game cannot be played (or completed) tonight, it would have to be made up (or finished) in Pittsburgh sometime during the Cubs’ visit there the last week of the season. The teams do have a common off day Monday, September 23, the day before that series begins. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Translation, for those who aren’t familiar with Pirates players: Kevin Newman, Adam Frazier, Starling Marte, Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds, Pablo Reyes, Colin Moran, Jacob Stallings, Mitch Keller

Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Mitch Keller, RHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Quintana was outstanding in his last start, Tuesday against the Phillies: six innings, two runs (one earned), 14 strikeouts.

He’s starting to put some consistency together. This month: three starts, 1.89 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, one (!) walk in 19 innings.

Q actually had a start like the one in Philadelphia earlier this year against the Pirates, April 11 at Wrigley Field: seven shutout innings, four hits, one walk, 11 strikeouts. Overall this year vs. the Bucs: three starts, 2.70 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, no home runs in 20 innings.

Keep up the good work, Q.

Mitch Keller was the No. 1 prospect on MLB.com’s preseason Pirates top prospects list. He was their second-round pick out of high school in Iowa in 2014 (same round the Cubs took Jake Stinnett, who hasn’t pitched above Double-A in six years in the organization).

Keller is making his fifth major-league start tonight. The first two were pretty bad. The next two were somewhat better. He has yet to pitch in the sixth inning of a MLB game. His numbers at Triple-A Indianapolis this year were decent, nothing special. He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the Cubs roster. Per Fangraphs, he relies mostly on his fastball, a pitch he can dial up to 95+.

And given that photo, are we sure Keller wasn’t misplaced on the way to the Little League World Series?

Today’s game is on ESPN.

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 2019 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used in previous years. 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.