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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Friday 9/3, 1:20 CT

The Cubs go for four straight wins!

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports


Friday notes:

  • EXTRA! EXTRA!: Since the Manfred man rule came into existence in 2020, the Cubs have played four games longer than 10 innings, all of them 11 innings. They’re 4-0 in those games.
  • HAPP-ENINGS: Ian Happ has homered in four of his last seven games, and has hit safely in 15 of his last 19, batting .319 (22-for-69) with five doubles, seven homers, 16 RBI, five walks, a .365 OBP, .762 SLG and a 1.127 OPS.
  • THIS GUY IS GOOD: Codi Heuer, acquired from the White Sox at the trade deadline for Craig Kimbrel, has posted a 1.13 ERA (two earned runs in 16 innings) in his first 13 outings with the Cubs, holding the opponent to a .185 BA (10-for-54) with a .258 OBP and a .484 OPS.
  • LOTS OF NEW GUYS: Scott Effross and Alfonso Rivas bring the total number of players to make their Cubs debuts this season to 38 – that’s a single-season franchise mark, surpassing 34 in 2013. Prior to 2013, the record number was 30, in 1902.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Alec Mills, RHP vs. Steven Brault, LHP


Alec Mills, eight starts since the All-Star break: 3.70 ERA, 1.427 WHIP, just nine walks in 41⅓ innings. That’s very competent. Mills is basically a fifth starter, which, hopefully, will be his role on the 2022 Cubs.

His last start, Sunday against the White Sox, was outstanding.

Current Pirates are a small sample size .303 (10-for-33) against him. Bryan Reynolds is 4-for-5 with two homers, so watch out for him this afternoon.


Steven Brault missed most of this year with a lat strain, coming back only at the beginning of August. He’s made five starts, four of which were good and the fifth, August 28 vs. the Cardinals, yikes, eight hits and seven runs in three innings.

Current Cubs are hitting .290 in a small sample size vs. Brault (9-for-30). More than half of that is Jason Heyward (5-for-16, three doubles).


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

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.