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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Sunday 9/15, 1:20 CT

The Cubs go for the series sweep.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

With the Brewers win over the Cardinals Saturday night, the Cubs trail St. Louis by three games and lead Milwaukee by one. They also moved to within 1½ games of the top wild-card spot when the Braves beat the Nationals.

A few more notes from Saturday’s game:

  • Kyle Hendricks has the best home ERA in baseball at 1.75 (13 starts at Wrigley Field) after Saturday’s game. Over his last three starts: 1.53 ERA. He has walked one or fewer batters in each of his last seven starts and has not allowed a home run in three straight starts. And after Kyle had little run support early in the season, the Cubs are 5-0 in his last five starts, outscoring the opposition 40-11.
  • Nico Hoerner is hitting .417/.481/.750 (10-for-24) with a triple, two homers, 11 RBI and seven runs scored in his first six MLB games. His 11 RBI are the most by a Cub within his first six career games since at least 1908. And, Nico became the first Cub with at least three hits, three runs and three RBI in a single game within his first six career major league games since Joe Marty did so in his sixth career game, May 4, 1937 at Philadelphia.
  • Kris Bryant has a five-game hitting streak (8-for-17, .471/.524/1.000) with nine RBI. Saturday, KB hit his 136th career home run, tying Ernie Banks for the most homers by a Cub in his first five major league seasons.
  • Anthony Rizzo is 8-for-20 (.400/.478/.700) over his last five games. In 51 career games batting leadoff, he is hitting .328/.421/.602 (61-for-186). He leads the majors with 27 times hit by a pitch this year.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Trevor Williams, RHP

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

Jose Quintana has made four starts against the Pirates this year and has posted a 2.00 ERA and 0.926 WHIP in 27 innings, with 28 strikeouts, only four walks and no home runs allowed.

Current Pirates are hitting .208 (25-for-126) against him and the only Pirate with any real success vs. Q is Kevin Newman (6-for-12).

This seems like the kind of game that’s tailor-made for one of those good Q starts. Let’s hope he’s on his game today.

Trevor Williams was off to a good start this year (3.33 ERA in nine starts through May 16). He left that May 16 outing with a “side injury” and since his return he has been just plain bad: 14 starts, 6.52 ERA, 1.603 WHIP, 17 home runs in 77⅓ innings. The Cubs have torched him twice in that span: five runs in 5⅔ innings July 1 and 11 hits, three home runs and eight runs in 5⅓ innings July 14.

This seems like the kind of pitcher the Cubs should just pound all over the yard this afternoon, especially given the way the Cubs bats have been the last two days.

Today’s game is on WGN.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

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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.