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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Monday 9/21, 6:05 CT

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The Cubs hope to resume their winning ways in Pittsburgh.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

News item:

I would imagine it’d be Rex Brothers optioned to the Alternate Site in South Bend to make room for Jose Quintana on the active roster.

Monday notes:

  • ABOUT JON: Jon Lester enters tonight’s start having tossed 993 innings in his Cubs career, so he’s seven innings short of becoming the eighth left-handed pitcher in Cubs history with at least 1,000 innings pitched, and the first since Ken Holtzman (1,447 innings from 1965-79). Most likely, this will happen in his next outing, but it would be nice for him to throw seven tonight. More on Jon below.
  • ROAD WARRIORS: The Cubs have fared better offensively on the road this season … the club has posted a .243 average (168-for-690) with 33 homers in 20 road games, compared to a .210 average (211-for-1,003) with 30 homers in 33 home games.
  • MORE ROAD WARRIORS: Jason Heyward leads the Cubs with a .358 average (19-for-53) and .463 OBP on the road. Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and David Bote all have five homers on the road this season.
  • EVEN MORE ROAD WARRIORS: The Cubs have scored 44 runs in their last seven road games (6.3 runs per game), including four games with at least eight runs scored.
  • ON THE OTHER HAND: In 12 games since September 7, the Cubs have allowed just eight homers, while hitting only four home runs. The eight 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.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. JT Brubaker, RHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After a few rough outings, Jon Lester has been quite good over his last two starts: 11 innings, seven hits, two runs, nine strikeouts. He’s made two starts vs. the Pirates this year. One was good, the other not so much.

Throughout his career, Jon has been a pitcher who’s stepped up when the occasion called for it. This is such an occasion. Even at nearly 37, I think he’s got enough left to throw a good game tonight.

JT Brubaker is making his 10th MLB appearance (eighth start). Two of those previous nine outings were against the Cubs, three innings of shutout relief August 1 at Wrigley Field (the Cubs won the game anyway) and a decent start September 3 at PNC Park.

He’s made two starts since then, getting pounded by the White Sox and throwing pretty well against the Reds.

These are pretty small sample sizes, but Brubaker has a 7.08 ERA in 20⅓ innings at PNC compared to a 1.76 ERA in 15⅓ innings on the road.

If that holds up, the Cubs could break out the bats tonight.

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

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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.