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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Thursday 9/3, 12:35 CT

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The Cubs go for the series sweep.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For the third day in a row, rain might interrupt today’s game, and per this forecast, there’s a fair chance of postponement.

Here’s the Pittsburgh-area radar:

Thursday notes:

  • ROAD WARRIORS: At 10-6, the Cubs are one of only three NL teams with a winning road record (Dodgers, 15-5 and Padres, 11-9).
  • STREAKING: The Cubs started the year 13-3, then had a 5-10 stretch, and are currently working on a 4-1 streak.
  • BEATING THE BUCS: The Cubs are 18-8 in their last 26 games against the Pirates dating to September 26, 2018. That includes 13-1 at Wrigley Field but just 5-7 at PNC Park.
  • WATCHING THE PITCHES GO BY: Cubs hitters have averaged 4.17 pitches per plate appearance, tops in the majors ahead of the Indians (4.13), Rays (4.07) and Athletics (4.07).
  • PACING: The Cubs lead the NL with 149 walks, or 4.14 per game. That would be a pace for 671 walks in a 162-game season, which would break the franchise record (656, set in 2016).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Alec Mills, RHP vs. JT Brubaker, RHP

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

Alec Mills has had an up-and-down year. He makes a good start or two and you think he’s turned the corner, then he turns in a stinker like his last outing in Cincinnati when he served up three home runs. Hopefully this one’s better.

Mills has three career relief appearances vs. the Pirates, but he hasn’t faced anyone on their current roster for more than three at-bats. Perhaps that will be to his advantage this afternoon.

JT Brubaker will be making his seventh MLB appearance today (fifth start). He threw three very good relief innings against the Cubs August 1 at Wrigley Field, allowing one hit with three strikeouts.

As a starter he hasn’t thrown more than five innings in any of his three starts and has posted a 6.00 ERA and 1.533 WHIP. He did throw 85 pitches in his last start, so the Pirates are clearly trying to ramp him up to go longer.

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here is a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Pirates market territories).

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, 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.