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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Saturday 8/1, 7:15 CT

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The Cubs go for two straight over the visitors from Pittsburgh.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday notes...

  • PATIENCE! Cubs hitters Friday night saw 183 pitches in nine innings and have averaged 4.21 pitches per plate appearance, tops in the majors (Second at 4.16: Rays).
  • NO PLACE LIKE HOME: In Friday’s game, Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-3 with two RBI, a HBP and a walk, and has now reached base safely in his last 21 games at home dating to August 7, 2019. During this stretch, Rizzo has hit .443 (27-for-61) with a 1.351 OPS at Wrigley Field.
  • OUCH! Rizzo has been hit by pitches six times in the Cubs’ seven games, leading the majors. No other player has more than three HBP this year. Per Elias, the only other player since 1900 to get hit by six pitches in his team’s first seven games to a season was Jake Stahl of the 1904 Washington Senators.
  • PUT ON YOUR HITTING SHOES: The Cubs are averaging 6.29 runs per game, second-most in the majors and trailing only the Padres (6.50). And, the team’s .359 OBP is second in baseball, behind the Phillies (.361), though the Phillies have played just three games this season.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Tyler Chatwood, RHP vs. Mitch Keller, RHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Chatwood’s first start of 2020 was remarkable in that he allowed just one run on three hits and two walks in six innings, with eight strikeouts. That was the first time as a Cub that he struck out at least eight and walked two or fewer. Progress!

And things have definitely been on the upswing for Chatwood. In his last 33 games (three starts) since July 4 of last season, he has posted a 2.56 ERA (11 earned runs in 38⅔ innings) with 13 walks, 47 strikeouts, a .186 opponent batting average (26-for-140) and a .526 opponent OPS.

Last year against the Pirates: five relief appearances, eight innings, one run (1.13 ERA), five hits, three walks (1.000 WHIP), five strikeouts. Keep up the good work.

Mitch Keller has been one of the Pirates’ top pitching prospects for a while, but in 11 starts last year he was awful: 7.13 ERA, 1.833 WHIP, six home runs in 48 innings. That included being pounded for seven hits and six runs in 4⅓ innings by the Cubs last August 18 in the Little League Classic. He did have a better outing against the Cubs September 24 in Pittsburgh, five innings of one-run ball.

In his first start of 2020 he held the Cardinals to one run in five innings last Sunday.

Keller has talent. I just wish they could find a photo of him where he looks older than 15.

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here is a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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 2020 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.