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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Tuesday 9/24, 6:05 CT

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The Cubs embark on their final road trip of 2019.

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Notes for today:

  • IT’S ALL ABOUT YU: Since the start of July, Yu Darvish has recorded 124 strikeouts and only seven walks, an impressive 17.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The next best ratio by any pitcher in this span belongs to Justin Verlander with an 8.81 mark (141 strikeouts/16 walks). Jacob deGrom (5.71, 120 strikeouts/21 walks) owns the next best ratio of any National League pitcher during this span.
  • IT HAS TO BE YU: Darvish on Sunday recorded 12 strikeouts and no walks against the Cardinals. With 14 strikeouts September 12 in San Diego, and 13 Ks in seven innings September 17 vs. Cincinnati, Darvish is the first Cub since at least 1908 to record 12-or-more strikeouts in three straight starts.
  • NICK THE STICK: Nicholas Castellanos has hit safely in 39 of his first 49 games as a Cub, batting .335/.370/.675 (68-for-203) with 21 doubles, 16 homers, 36 RBI and a 1.045 OPS (fifth-best in the N.L. in that span). Castellanos’ 88 extra-base hits (58 doubles, three triples, 27 homers) lead the majors, three ahead of Rafael Devers (85) and Nick is the first player since at least 1920 to reach 88 extra-base hits while playing for two teams in the same season.
  • NICKY TWO BAGS: Castellanos has nine doubles in his last 10 games to extend his major league leading total to 58. It is just the 10th time since 1871 that a player has reached 58 doubles in a season and the first time since 2000 when Todd Helton had 59. 59 or more doubles have been recorded just nine times in a season. Prior to Helton in 2000, it was done in 1936 by Joe Medwick (64) and Charlie Gehringer (60).
  • NOBODY BEATS THE RIZ: Anthony Rizzo played in all four games of the Cardinals series, just four days after suffering a lateral sprain of his right ankle September 15 vs. Pittsburgh. Rizzo went 7-for-14 with a double, solo homer and a walk in the four-game series, batting leadoff in each contest. In 56 career games batting leadoff, Rizzo is hitting .340/.433/.615 (68-for-200) with nine doubles, two triples, 14 homers and 37 RBI.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Also of interest:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Mitch Keller, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It has been noted that Kyle Hendricks doesn’t have good numbers on the road this year, and overall that’s true: 15 starts, 4.94 ERA, 1.443 WHIP.

However, he has pitched better away from Wrigley Field since the All-Star break. He’s made six starts on the road since the ASB. Four of them have been really good. The other two were clunkers.

One of the good ones was August 16 at PNC Park. Kyle threw seven innings that night and allowed three hits and one run. Kyle has a 2.25 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in three starts against the Pirates this year. He has not allowed a home run in 23 innings in September.

Mitch Keller was the Pirates’ second-round pick in the 2014 draft, the same round the Cubs took Jake Stinnett.

Keller has been one of the Pirates’ top pitching prospects, but his MLB results do not show that. The Cubs pounded him in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, six runs in 4⅓ innings including home runs by Nicholas Castellanos and Jason Heyward.

His results since that game have been pretty bad: five starts, 6.65 ERA, 1.662 WHIP. He does have a good walk rate in those starts (just four in 21⅔ innings) and has struck out 34. Looks like a day to put the ball in play.

Observation: It’s not very often in 2019 that we get a pitching matchup where both pitchers are clean-shaven.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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.