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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Thursday 5/27, 11:35 a.m. CT

The Cubs go for the series sweep!

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Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Leading off today with a nice story about Matt Duffy:

When Matt Duffy saw Jed Hoyer’s number pop up on his phone on Nov. 28, he thought, “I can’t do this right now. I’ve got to let it go to voicemail.” Duffy was a free agent, in need of a job. Hoyer is the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. But at the time Hoyer called, Duffy was in Napa Valley on a wine-tasting tour, preparing to propose to his girlfriend, Rachael Crow.

Duffy, who helped spark the Cubs’ surge in May before going on the injured list Tuesday with a lower back strain, had spoken to Hoyer the previous offseason before signing with the Rangers. He knew Hoyer already had spoken with his agent, Paul Cohen, and was planning to contact him directly. But less than an hour away from his proposal, he said he was trying to remain calm, act normal. He did not want to be distracted by a conversation about his future job prospects.

In the end, it all worked out. Crow said yes to Duffy’s proposal. Duffy returned Hoyer’s call the following afternoon. The Cubs announced the signing of Duffy to a minor-league contract on Dec. 16.

The wedding, meanwhile, is scheduled for November 2022.

Thursday notes:

  • WINNING WAYS: The Cubs are 15-7 in May and the team’s .682 winning percentage to start this month ranks second in the N.L. and fourth in the majors behind the Rays (18-6/.750), Padres (17-6/.739) and Yankees (16-6/.727).
  • HAPP-Y NEWS: Ian Happ has 16 hits in his last 13 games since May 1 and is hitting .320/.382/.700 (16-for-50) in that span with four doubles, five homers, 10 RBI and four walks. Those nine extra-base hits have all been in his last 12 games since May 2 after collecting none in his first eight games of the season

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Tyler Anderson, LHP


This is another pitching rematch, of the game May 9 at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks got touched up for four runs in the first inning, largely due to the play on which Jake Marisnick was injured — if he catches that ball, it’s a scoreless inning. After that Kyle settled down, and since that game he’s made two starts and allowed two earned runs in 14⅔ innings with one walk and 12 strikeouts. I’ll expect that Kyle to stick with us the rest of the season.

Tyler Anderson threw eight strong innings against the Cubs that afternoon, allowing just two runs. Since then he has made two starts and been absolutely pounded: 10 innings, 11.70 ERA, 2.000 WHIP, five home runs allowed.

In general, the Cubs have hit lefthanders quite well this year: .255/.332/.438 with 19 home runs in 416 at-bats. They are 11-3 vs. LH starters this year. I feel good about their chances this morning/afternoon.

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

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

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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.