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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Wednesday 9/29, 5:35 CT

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The Cubs look to even up their series in Pittsburgh.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday notes:

  • A FOUR-HIT RARITY: Nick Martini’s four-hit game Tuesday was just the fourth by any Cub this year. The others: Willson Contreras May 12, Rafael Ortega August 1 and Robinson Chirinos August 13. Oddly, the Cubs lost all four of those games. Ortega’s was the game in which he hit three home runs.
  • AGAINST THE NEW GUY: Today marks the fourth time this season the Cubs will face a starting pitcher making his big league debut (Roansy Contreras of the Pirates), with the Cubs winning two of the first three: Vladimir Gutierrez on May 28 (Cubs defeated the Reds 1-0), Aaron Ashby on June 30 (Cubs lost to the Brewers 15-7) and Joe Ryan on September 1 (Cubs defeated the Twins 3-0).
  • FRANK THE TANK NEWS: Frank Schwindel last night recorded his 23rd multi-hit game since being called up by the Cubs July 30. His 23 multi-hit games are tied for the most by any Cub this season with Willson Contreras.
  • REMINDER: The Cubs have had 21 different players hit at least one homer this season. That’s one short of the franchise record. 22 different players homered for the Cubs in 1996, 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2013. Trent Giambrone and Nick Martini are position players on the active roster who have not homered this year. Also, no Cubs pitcher has homered in 2021.

Here are today’s particulars.

This, I think, is a first. Two hours to game time is our normal procedure here. Generally, both lineups are available by then, but today at posting time, neither the Cubs lineup nor the Pirates lineup had been released. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the lineups. Also, there’s a roster move coming later this afternoon, as Trent Giambrone is being called up. Details to come.

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Roansy Contreras, RHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

This will be Kyle Hendricks’ final start of 2021, and I’m sure he’s probably happy about that, as this has been the worst year of his career.

Really, it’s been three separate seasons for Kyle:

April: five starts, 7.54 ERA, 1.765 WHIP, 10 HR in 22⅔ innings
May 4-August 6: 18 starts, 2.89 ERA, 1.196 WHIP, 12 HR in 112 innings
August 12-September 22: eight starts, 8.49 ERA, 1.548 WHIP, 9 HR in 41⅓ innings

So: DFA candidate, top of the line starter, DFA candidate

If you can figure out how that all happened, let Kyle know. He’s a pretty smart guy and I suspect he’ll spend the offseason trying to figure out how to get back to pre-2021 Kyle.

Against the Pirates this year, Kyle has had a rough time: 7.45 ERA, 1.603 WHIP, five HR in four starts covering 19⅓ innings. His only start at PNC Park this year, May 27, was a good one, though: seven innings, three runs, no walks, five strikeouts.

Hopefully, he can wrap things up for 2021 on a high note.

Statcast

Roansy Contreras is a hard-throwing righthander who was originally signed by the Yankees. Earlier this year he was sent to the Pirates as part of the Jameson Taillon deal.

In 13 starts split between Double-A and Triple-A in the Pirates system this year, Contreras has 82 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 58 innings. That’s really good! Only one of those starts has been above Double-A, though.

Contreras is making his MLB debut tonight, at age 21. He has obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on their active roster. Let’s hope they have a good scouting report on him.

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

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.