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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Thursday 9/30, 5:35 CT

The Cubs go for the series win in Pittsburgh.

Trent Giambone gets his first MLB hit
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Thursday notes:

  • THE CENTURY CLUB: The Cubs’ win Wednesday was the Pirates’ 99th of 2021. If the Cubs win today, that would make the Pirates the fourth 100-loss club this year (also the Orioles, Diamondbacks and Rangers). That would tie the MLB record for most 100-loss teams in a season (2019, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, Marlins).
  • WINS VS. LOSSES: The Cubs have batted .263 (586-for-2,226) with an average of 5.6 runs per game (383 total) in their 68 victories with a 2.22 ERA (152 earned runs in 615 innings). In the 90 Cubs losses, the club has hit .215 (633-for-2,948) while averaging 3.3 runs per game (301 total) with a 7.13 ERA (605 earned runs in 764 innings).
  • THE GOOD SEPTEMBER: The Cubs are hitting .263 (219-for-832) with a .341 on-base percentage and averaging 4.88 runs per game in September, the team’s best marks of any month this season, matching their .263 BA and surpassing its .336 OBP and 4.85 runs per game in May.
  • THE DUFFSTER: Matt Duffy is batting .321/.360/.536 (27-for-84) with six doubles, four homers, 13 RBI and an .895 OPS in 22 September contests. He is currently on a nine-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .371/.421/.514 (13-for-35) with a .935 OPS. That’s one game short of his career-best 10-game hitting streak, done twice in his career (most recently, August 10-18 of this season), so he could tie that tonight.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Why the Cubs wouldn’t give a start to Trent Giambrone in this game is beyond me.

The Pirates lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Pirates lineup.

Justin Steele, LHP vs. Miguel Yajure, RHP


Justin Steele splits, 2021:

As reliever: 11 games, 13⅓ innings, 2.03 ERA, 1.050 WHIP, 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings
As starter: 8 games, 36⅔ innings, 5.89 ERA, 1.582 WHIP, 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings

These are admittedly small sample sizes, but it’s looking like Steele would be better used in relief.

Steele has one appearance against the Pirates this year, two scoreless innings May 9 at Wrigley Field.

Hopefully tonight goes better than his other starts.


For the second straight night, the Pirates will start a guy they got in the Jameson Taillon trade with the Yankees.

Miguel Yajure pitched in three games for the Yankees last year and in three games (two starts) for the Pirates this year. Overall he’s thrown 20 MLB innings in six games and posted a 3.60 ERA and 1.154 WHIP. Per the Statcast graphic below he’s mostly a soft-tosser and throws a lot of offspeed stuff.

He has never faced the Cubs, though, oddly, he faced Willson Contreras in a Triple-A game when Willson was on a rehab assignment at Iowa August 31. Contreras homered off him, for whatever that’s worth.

I would guess, that like Roansy Contreras Wednesday night, Yajure won’t go more than three or four innings.


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.