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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Thursday 9/26, 6:05 CT

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The Cubs have four games remaining in the 2019 season.

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Thursday notes:

  • THEY CAN’T WIN FOR LOSING: Wednesday’s loss clinched a losing September for the Cubs, as they are 9-14 with four games remaining. It is the Cubs’ second losing month this year (also June, 14-15). The last time the Cubs had two losing calendar months in one season was 2014, when they had four (April, May, July, September).
  • THE SCHWARBINO: In his last 53 games since July 28, Kyle Schwarber has posted a 1.049 OPS, the fourth-highest mark in the N.L. in that span. Only by Nolan Arenado (1.084), Ketel Marte (1.067) and Eugenio Suarez (1.062) have been better.
  • JUST... ONE... MORE... RUN: The Cubs have played 46 one-run games this season, tied for ninth-most in the majors. Their .413 winning percentage (19-27) in those contests ranks 26th in the majors and 14th in the N.L.
  • CENTRALLY LOCATED: With four games remaining, the Cubs have a 35-37 record within the N.L. Central. They were 24-13 record against divisional opponents at Wrigley Field and are 11-24 on the road so far.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Insert “other split squad” joke here. Given that most of the Cubs regulars scored only four runs over the last two days, this lineup will probably score 10.

Pirates lineup:

Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Joe Musgrove, RHP

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

Jose Quintana, enigma. We know he has talent, he will occasionally dominate teams.

And then he has a month like his September: 11.85 ERA, 2.195 (!) WHIP, only 13⅔ innings pitched in four starts.

I mean, just about anyone from the Cubs farm system or the waiver wire could have done that.

That includes a five-run, fewer-than-three-inning outing vs. the Pirates September 15 at Wrigley Field.

He did throw seven shutout innings against the Pirates August 18 in the Little League Classic in Williamsport. It would be nice to see a start like that tonight so that Jose’s season ends on a high note.

Joe Musgrove since the All-Star break: 12 starts, 5.01 ERA, 1.268 WHIP, 11 home runs in 64⅔ innings.

Probably his best start since the break was August 16 vs. the Cubs at PNC Park, where he allowed two runs in 7⅓ innings. That’s also his longest start since June.

Two teams playing for nothing, with pitchers who are struggling. It’ll probably be a pitchers’ duel.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Pirates market territories).

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.