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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Tuesday 4/12, 3:12 CT

The Cubs play their first road series of 2022.

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

I had been scratching my head trying to figure out the weird start time for today’s game and then I realized I needed to be thinking in Eastern time: 4:12 p.m. on 4/12. Plus it’s Pittsburgh’s area code and they’re doing a ticket promotion:

Tuesday notes:

  • FOR THE NUMEROLOGISTS: Cubs PR guru Will Nadal pointed out that the Cubs and Brewers combined for nine runs in each game of the three-game series over the weekend. Elias notes that it’s the first time since 1968 that the Cubs and their opponents have ended every one of the first three games of a season with the same amount of combined runs in each. That year, 13 runs in each of the first three games: 9-4 loss, 10-3 win at Cincinnati, 8-5 loss vs. St. Louis, and the streak extended to four with a 7-6 win over the Cardinals.
  • MORE NUMEROLOGY: Alfonso Rivas has changed his uniform number to 36 from 67 (H/T: Cubs assistant clubhouse manager Danny Mueller). Rivas went 1-for-2 with a run on Sunday and enters today’s game with a career-high eight-game hitting streak dating to last September 12 in which he’s hitting .375 (9-for-24) with a .923 OPS.
  • THIS IS WHAT WE WANTED: Cubs hitters have averaged 4.31 pitches per plate appearance in the very early going, tops in the majors (the Twins are second, 4.20) ... the team’s six runs per game rank second in the NL (Cardinals, 6.33) and tied for fifth in the majors.
  • PITCHING, TOO: 2022 marks the first time since the pitching distance was moved to its current 60 feet and six inches in 1893 that each of the Cubs’ first three starting pitchers in a season went at least five innings and allowed one run or fewer. (H/T: Ed Hartig)

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Drew Smyly, LHP vs. Jose Quintana, LHP


Well, this is an interesting matchup. These pitchers could have been teammates on the 2018 Cubs, except Drew Smyly wound up rehabbing for that entire season, pitching just one inning in the system (at South Bend) and then he was traded to the Rangers to free up some money to pay Cole Hamels in 2019.

Seems like ancient history, right?

Obviously Jed Hoyer still liked him enough to bring Smyly back this year. He’s not expensive — $4.25 million for 2022 with a mutual option or $1 million buyout for 2023, with possibly $2.5 million in incentives. Smyly turns 33 in June, hopefully the Cubs can squeeze one good year out of him.

Smyly had a decent year in Atlanta in 2019. He faced the Pirates twice last year and allowed six runs in 11 innings, which isn’t great. He struck out 11 in those 11 innings, though. Bryan Reynolds has homered twice off him in 11 career at-bats.

Jose Quintana’s last good year was 2016. Yes, really. He was decent his first couple of years with the Cubs, but not nearly as good as he had been with the White Sox, and his last two-plus years have been just bad. He hasn’t faced the Cubs since 2015, so that’s largely irrelevant. Most current Cubs haven’t seen him, but Jonathan Villar is 5-for-14 (.357) with a homer and double off Quintana.


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 2022 Game Thread procedure will be like last years, 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.