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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Sunday 4/4, 1:20 CT

The Cubs go for the series win.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Sunday notes:

  • GO, GO, JAVY: Javier Báez Saturday recorded his fifth career multi‐stolen base game (last done July 23, 2019 in San Francisco).
  • GO KB!: Kris Bryant Saturday hit the Cubs’ first home run of the season, a solo blast to the center field basket in the third inning. That was the third time in the last four seasons Bryant has homered within the team’s first two games of the season.
  • TODAY’S SILLY EARLY-SEASON PROJECTION: Including three sac flies on Opening Day and David Bote’s second‐inning sac fly Saturday, the Cubs are on pace for 324 sac flies this season, which would obliterate the franchise record of 66 set in 1975.
  • PITCHERS HITTING: So far in 2021, MLB pitchers are hitting .082/.099/.116 (5-for-61, two doubles) with 37 strikeouts. Cubs pitchers: 0-for-3, two strikeouts. Still want pitchers batting? Read this:

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Zach Davies, RHP vs. Mitch Keller, RHP

MLB Photos via Getty Images
MLB Photos via Getty Images

Zach Davies is making his Cubs debut this afternoon. He had an outstanding spring, allowing just two earned runs in 16⅔ innings (1.08 ERA), with 14 strikeouts. He did walk nine, and that’s not a good sign for a guy who relies on location, control and command.

He didn’t face the Pirates in 2020 as a member of the Padres, but in 2019 he posted a 1.98 ERA and 1.207 WHIP in five starts against them when he was with the Brewers. Current Pirates are hitting .242 (23-for-81) against Davies with one home run (Colin Moran).

As you can see from the lineup tweet above, today is Mitch Keller’s birthday. He turns 25 today.

Keller has been one of the Pirates’ top prospect pitchers for quite some time. Last year he made only five starts due to an oblique injury.

In fact, it was in a start against the Cubs, August 1 at Wrigley Field, where he suffered that injury. Ian Happ and Javier Baez homered in that game just before Keller departed.

Keller returned for three September starts and threw pretty well: 2.57 ERA, 1.143 WHIP, but he had a very odd split for that WHIP: 14 innings, two hits, 14 walks.

Besides Happ and Baez, Jason Heyward has also homered off Keller.

I hereby declare this the “Pitchers Who Look Like Teenagers” matchup.

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

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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 2021 Game Thread procedure will be a bit different than previous years. It will be similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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 post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, 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 the overflow thread 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 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.