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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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This is an important series, and hopefully the Cubs can take advantage of a team having a rough year.

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Cubs are currently 11-9 against teams with winning records and 20-13 against teams .500 or worse. Despite dropping the last two games to the Twins this past weekend, the Cubs have won eight of their last 12.

Besides having the worst record in MLB by four games, the Pirates are currently 6-15 against teams with winning records and 9-23 against teams .500 or worse. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games.

So that should make for a winning series this week. Right? Right?

Fun fact

The games on Tuesday and Wednesday in this series are the only Cubs games in this abbreviated 60-game season that exactly match dates on the original 162-game schedule. The Cubs were supposed to make a two-game visit to Pittsburgh on September 22 and 23 in that schedule.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jon Lester, LHP (2-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.305 WHIP, 5.17 FIP) vs. JT Brubaker, RHP (1-2, 4.79 ERA, 1.430 WHIP, 3.89 FIP)

Tuesday: TBD vs. Steven Brault, LHP (1-3, 4.04 ERA, 1.318 WHIP, 3.79 FIP)

Wednesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (6-4, 2.93 ERA, 0.991 WHIP, 3.27 FIP) vs. Trevor Williams, RHP (1-8, 6.70 ERA, 1.631 WHIP, 6.37 FIP)

Thursday: Alec Mills, RHP (5-4, 4.14 ERA, 1.074 WHIP, 4.92 FIP) vs. Chad Kuhl, RHP (1-3, 5.03 ERA, 1.475 WHIP, 5.83 FIP)

TBD for Tuesday could be Adbert Alzolay or possibly even Jose Quintana, though the Cubs have not officially announced anything for that date as of the time this series preview posted.

Times & TV channels

Monday: 6:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Tuesday: 6:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 6:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Pirates market territories)

Thursday: 12:35 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

NOTE: The Thursday game was listed as a 6:05 p.m. CT start on original schedules. Sometime within the last week or two, that game time was changed.

I suspect the reason for the change is the fact that teams in contention had to quarantine beginning Sunday, even in their home cities.

The Cubs flew to Pittsburgh Sunday night, although they have been flying out the day of the game all year up to now. But teams had to start the hotel quarantine as of Sunday night, and it wouldn’t have been practical for them to go to a hotel in Chicago Sunday night, only to get up early to fly to Pittsburgh today.

Having a day game Thursday allows them to get back early enough to quarantine in a Chicago hotel starting Thursday night. Otherwise they’d have likely had to stay in Pittsburgh an extra night.

Prediction

The Pirates have played a bit better at home (10-18) than on the road this year. Or maybe that should read “a little less bad at home than on the road,” as they have been 5-20 away from PNC Park so far this season. Still, the Cubs are 5-1 vs. the Pirates so far this year and took two of three at PNC earlier this month. The Cubs will win three of four.

Up next

The Cubs return to Chicago to complete the 2020 regular season with a three-game series against the White Sox on the South Side.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    4
    (38 votes)
  • 46%
    3
    (81 votes)
  • 23%
    2
    (41 votes)
  • 5%
    1
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    0
    (5 votes)
174 votes total Vote Now