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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Friday 5/7, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs look for their fourth straight win.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Friday notes...

  • CLOSE CALLS: Four of the Cubs’ last five games have been decided by one run, including the last two games of last weekend’s Reds series (3-2 win, 13-12 loss) and the last two games of the Dodgers series (4-3, 6-5 wins). Overall the Cubs are 6-3 (.667) in one-run games.
  • BREAK-EVEN: The Cubs are 15-16. A win today would put the Cubs back at .500 for the sixth time this season (1-1, 3-3, 4-4, 9-9, 10-10).
  • THE DUFF: Matt Duffy has hit safely in nine of his last 12 games dating to April 24, hitting .364/.475/.899 (12-for-33) with nine runs scored, two doubles, two RBI, seven walks and three stolen bases. Duffy leads the N.L. (min. 60 PA) with a 93.5-percent contact rate.
  • THE BATS: In the Cubs’ last 18 games since April 17, the team has hit .260 (159-for-611) with a major-league high .816 OPS.
  • THE PITCHERS: Cubs relievers have struck out 28 percent of batters faced, the second-best mark among NL bullpens, trailing only the Padres (29 percent).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Zach Davies, RHP vs. Trevor Cahill, RHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Zach Davies has been just awful this year. There’s no sugarcoating it. A Game Score of 50 is supposed to be about average. Only one of Davies’ six starts qualifies under that criterion. Fortunately, it’s the one he had against the Pirates April 4 at Wrigley Field, 5x innings, four hits, two runs. (SHHH! Let’s not talk about his subsequent outing in Pittsburgh, his worst start of the year, a Game Score of 16.)

He’s just got to get better. Right? RIGHT?

Cities Trevor Cahill has pitched in as a home-team player since he left the Cubs as a free agent after 2016: San Diego, Kansas City, El Paso, Lake Elsinore, Oakland, Nashville, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Pittsburgh.

Just think of the frequent-flyer miles.

In all that time he’s pitched in just one game against the Cubs: June 3, 2019 at Wrigley Field when he was with the Angels. The Angels used an opener (Cam Bedrosian) that day and Cahill entered in the second, throwing 4⅓ innings, allowing six hits and five runs.

This year he’s made five starts for the Pirates. Two were pretty good and three were awful, thus the 7.40 ERA and 1.521 WHIP. His peripherals are a bit better than those numbers, but Cahill’s been around forever (in his rookie year in Oakland in 2009, one of his teammates was Jason Giambi). He’s still only 33, though.

Hopefully this will be one of his bad games. Nothing personal, Trevor, plus, you got a Cubs World Series ring.

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 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 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.