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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Tuesday 9/22, 6:05 CT

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The Cubs go for two straight over the Bucs.

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Today’s roster move: Here

Tuesday notes:

  • HOT, OR NOT?: The Cubs are 9-4 in their last 13 games and since August 30, the Cubs have won 13 of their last 21 contests.
  • HAPP vs. BUCS: Pittsburgh-area native Ian Happ has reached safely in each of his last 11 games against the Pirates dating to September 15, 2019, hitting .390 (16-for-41) with four doubles, four homers, nine RBI and a 1.212 OPS in that stretch.
  • WILLSON AT PNC: Willson Contreras is hitting .367 (22-for-60) with a 1.065 OPS in his last 16 games at PNC Park since May 29, 2018, reaching safely in each of those contests. In that span he has nine extra-base hits (six doubles, a triple, two homers) and eight RBI.
  • WHAT A RELIEF!: The Cubs bullpen has posted a major league-best 2.00 ERA (16 earned runs in 72 innings) in 22 games since August 29, nearly a half-run better than the next-closest team. The Padres are next-best with a 2.42 ERA in that same time frame. In this span the Cubs pen has held opponents to a .176 average (43-for-245) and a .541 OPS, both the best marks from major league relievers since August 29.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Sigh. Jose Martinez again. Hopefully the other eight guys can hit. Jason Heyward gets the night off vs. the lefty Steven Brault (though Heyward is 5-for-16 lifetime with three doubles against Brault) and Kris Bryant is out with the oblique injury suffered Monday. About KB:

Pirates lineup:

Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Steven Brault, LHP

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

This start for Jose Quintana, I think, is a calculated risk.

Q missed the beginning of the season because he sliced his thumb open in a dishwashing accident at home in early July.

He came back August 25 and threw three innings against the Tigers. Five days later he threw three more innings against the Reds. The results: six innings, four runs, 6.00 ERA, nine strikeouts — aren’t great, but I thought he threw better than the numbers indicated.

But on September 2 he went back on the injured list with what was termed “left lat inflammation.” So now he hasn’t pitched in a game in three weeks. He threw 55 pitches and 61 pitches in the two outings last month; you’d want to hope he’s stretched out to maybe throw 75 tonight.

I could put some of Q’s previous numbers against the Pirates here but I don’t think they mean much. This could be a great outing or a failure, there’s a wide range of possible results. Hope it works.

Steven Brault threw the game of his life last Thursday against the Cardinals, a two-hit complete-game victory. It was the first time all year he’d gone past the fifth inning. His two starts previous to that were lousy: 7.27 ERA, 1.962 WHIP.

On the other hand, he threw three innings against the Cubs as a starter August 2 at Wrigley Field and retired all nine batters he faced, striking out four and allowing only one ball out of the infield.

So, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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.