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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Wednesday 4/13, 11:35 a.m. CT

The Cubs go for a sweep of this brief two-game set.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday notes:

  • SEIYA!: Seiya, Suzuki, who hit his first career homer Sunday against Milwaukee, is the second Japanese-born player with three homers in his first four career MLB games. The other: Shohei Ohtani (H/T: ESPN Stats & Info).
  • MORE SEIYA: Seiya Suzuki has swung at just 5.1 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, the lowest mark among any qualifying player in baseball. (H/T: Fangraphs)
  • THOSE STINGY STARTERS: Kyle Hendricks (one earned run in 5⅓ innings), Justin Steele (no earned runs in five innings), Marcus Stroman (one earned run in five innings) and Drew Smyly (no earned runs in five innings) have combined to give Cubs starting pitchers an ERA of 0.89 to start the season. That’s the second-best starter ERA to start a season since 1912 (0.79 ERA in 1927). The two runs allowed by Cubs starters through four games is a franchise-best surpassing four runs allowed in both 1907 and 2020.
  • THE REST OF THE PITCHING: The Cubs’ 2.50 team ERA is their lowest through four games since 2017, when the staff had a 2.19 ERA in the team’s first four games (and a 2.93 ERA through five games).

From yesterday’s game:

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Zach Thompson, RHP

USA TODAY NETWORK
USA TODAY NETWORK

Kyle Hendricks looked like vintage Professor on Opening Day against the Brewers, a good sign. He threw 83 pitches (51 strikes) and pitched into the sixth inning. Hopefully he can go seven today.

Kyle made five starts against the Pirates in 2021 and had a devilish 6.66 ERA with five home runs allowed. Before 2021 Kyle’s ERA vs. Pittsburgh was 3.02, so I’d expect it to head back down starting today.

Zach Thompson made two starts vs. the Cubs last year when he was with the Marlins, one before, one after the Cubs selloff. Both were good. He threw four no-hit innings vs. the Cubs June 20 at Wrigley Field, but threw 73 pitches and allowed a run. August 14 in Miami, he allowed four hits and a run in six innings.

Acquired over the winter with a couple of minor leaguers in a trade for Jacob Stallings, Thompson is making his Pirates debut today.

Statcast
Statcast

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 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.