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Chicago Cubs vs. Minnesota Twins preview, Sunday 9/20, 6:05 CT

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The Cubs play their final regular-season home game of 2020.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

If you think you haven’t seen the Twins on Sunday Night Baseball in a while, you’re right. This is their first appearance on SNB in more than a decade, since August 22, 2010 at Target Field vs. the Angels. They won that game 4-0. Let’s give them the opposite result tonight.

Sunday notes:

  • JUST FOR YU: Here are the NL ranks for Yu Darvish: first in quality starts, tied for first in wins, third in ERA and strikeouts per walk ratio (6.58), fifth in WHIP (0.94), tied for fifth in strikeouts (79), sixth in opponents’ OPS (.557) and ninth in opponents’ average (.205). More on Darvish below.
  • WHERE DID THE LONG BALL GO?: In 11 games since September 7, the Cubs have allowed just seven homers, while hitting only four home runs. The seven homers allowed are tied for the second-fewest in the majors during this span, while the four home runs hit are the fewest in the majors during this span.
  • THE QUALITY GOES IN BEFORE THE NAME GOES ON: The Cubs this season have 27 quality starts, the most in the NL and second in the majors behind the Indians (35) … starting pitchers have a 1.38 ERA (28 earned runs in 182⅔ innings) in those 27 quality starts, with the team going 24-3 in those games.
  • J-HEY UPDATE: Jason Heyward is hitting .349 (22-for-63) with four doubles, a triple, four homers, 10 RBI, 15 walks, a .468 OBP and a 1.103 OPS in his last 21 games dating to August 24. His 1.103 OPS ranks third in the majors during this span, trailing only Freddie Freeman (1.237) and Manny Machado (1.149).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Twins lineup:

Yu Darvish, RHP vs. Jose Berrios, RHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yu Darvish hasn’t been quite as dominant in September as he was prior to this month. However, a 2.70 ERA and 0.800 WHIP in three starts covering 20 innings is still pretty good! He’s walked only four and struck out 27 in those three starts.

Darvish hasn’t faced the Twins since 2014 and current members of the Twins are a small-sample-size 11-for-62 (.177) with no home runs and 29 strikeouts against him. That sounds like a recipe for success, especially on a cool evening that seems suited for pitching.

If you did not already know this, Jose Berrios and Javier Baez are brothers-in-law, as their wives are sisters.

The two have never faced each other in a regular-season game. In the only game Berrios has pitched against the Cubs, June 29, 2018, Baez did not play. Berrios did retire Baez in the 2019 All-Star Game, though.

In that 2018 game at Wrigley Field, played on a 96-degree afternoon, the rest of the Cubs pounded Berrios for six hits, four walks and four runs in 4⅓ innings.

Berrios was one of the better pitchers in the American League from 2017-19, but his numbers are a bit worse this year, especially an elevated walk rate. He’s been better in September than previously, with a 2.81 ERA and 1.125 WHIP in three starts covering 16 innings.

So we might be in for another pitchers’ duel tonight.

Today’s game is on ESPN.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

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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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every thread related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

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.