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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Saturday 9/14, 1:20 CT

The Cubs go for two in a row over the visitors from Pittsburgh.

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Al Yellon

A few more notes from Friday’s crazy game:

  • Anthony Rizzo’s grand slam was his second of the season and fifth of his career, and the team’s 10th, a franchise record. Only the Astros (11) have more slams this year. Also, Rizzo is batting .359 (14-for-39) with a .490 OBP in 49-career PA leading off the game. (So lead him off the rest of the year, Joe!)
  • Willson Contreras’ two home runs set a career high, 23, surpassing the 21 he had in 2017.
  • Nicholas Castellanos’ homer was his eighth in the first inning as a Cub. The last Cub to have more in the first inning was Alfonso Soriano (12 in 2007). Castellanos’ double was his 50th of the season (37 with the Tigers).
  • Jason Heyward is 9-for-19 with three doubles, three homers and nine RBI in his last six games.
  • The 17 runs the Cubs scored was a season high and their most since also scoring 17 against the Mets exactly two years earlier, September 13, 2017 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lead the N.L. in 2019 with 19 games with at least 10 runs scored.
  • The Cubs hit at least five homers for the third time this season. It was the first time a Cubs team had hit at least five home runs in a game at Wrigley Field since August 17, 2017 vs. the Reds (six homers). The Cubs lost that game 13-10. The last time before Friday that a Cubs team hit at least five homers at Wrigley and won was August 1, 2017, a 16-4 win over the Diamondbacks.
  • Lastly, the five home runs gave the Cubs 233 for the season. Three more will break the franchise record, 235, which was set in 2004.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. James Marvel, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Major League Baseball

The only thing you really need to know about Kyle Hendricks for this start are these numbers:

Home games: 12 starts, 1.77 ERA, 0.799 WHIP, six HR in 81⅓ innings
Road games: 15 starts, 4.94 ERA, 1.443 WHIP, 13 HR in 78⅓ innings

Day games: nine starts, 2.29 ERA, 0.927 WHIP, four HR in 55 innings
Night games: 18 starts, 3.87 ERA, 1.213 WHIP, 15 HR in 104⅔ innings

You might not think these splits matter. I do. For some reason, Kyle is pitching much better this year in home games, and in day games, and this one is both. He also has a 2.70 ERA and 0.900 WHIP in two starts against the Pirates this year, with no home runs allowed.

For all the above reasons, I believe Kyle will throw very well this afternoon.

“James Marvel.” I mean... seriously? You want me to believe that’s a real name and not a comic-book superhero? He even kind of looks like a comic/cartoon character, the “Steve Canyon/Clutch Cargo” look, as Mike Bojanowski mentioned to me when I sent him the photo.

And yet, here he is, pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is one of the latest-round draft picks to make the big leagues in recent years, selected by the Pirates in the 36th round in 2015 out of Duke.

And yet, here he is. His minor-league record is pretty good. He’s got a good walk rate and doesn’t strike out a lot of guys. Per Fangraphs, he mixes up his pitches pretty well and his fastball touches 90, but not much higher, almost a clone of the guy he’s facing today.

He’s making his second big-league start. Last Sunday against the Cardinals, he allowed four hits and two runs, with two strikeouts. He has obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current roster, not even in the minor leagues.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. If you have “cut the cord,” NBC Sports Chicago games can be streamed in the Cubs’ market territory via Fubo. Sign up for Fubo here.

It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Pirates market territories).

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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.