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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Monday 6/20, 6:05 CT

The battle for third place in the NL Central commences!

Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Today’s roster move: Here

Monday notes...

  • IT LAST HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO: Sunday afternoon, Adrian Sampson became the first Cubs reliever since Dave Roberts, August 23, 1977 vs. the Giants, to throw at least 4⅔ shutout innings with one or no baserunners allowed. (The Cubs lost that 1977 game, 4-3 in 13 innings.)
  • WILLSON!: Willson Contreras extended his hitting streak to seven games with his eighth-inning single Sunday. Willson’s last 19 games since May 30: .333/.429/.653 (24-for-72) with five doubles, six home runs and 14 runs scored.
  • THE YOUNG PITCHERS: The next four Cubs probable starting pitchers against the Pirates have a combined 41 starts among them: Caleb Kilian (two starts), Matt Swarmer (four starts), Keegan Thompson (13 starts) and Justin Steele (22 starts). The last time that the sum of starts for the four Cubs starters in a four-game series with no pitcher starting more than one game in the series was 41 or fewer was: 29 combined starts from April 24-27, 1902 at Pittsburgh by Cubs starters Pop Williams (two starts), Mal Eason (26 starts), Bob Rhoads (no starts) and Jim Vrain (one start). (H/T: Ed Hartig)
  • HAPP-ENSTANCE: Ian Happ, last 18 games since May 31: .369/.447/.600 (24-for-65) with five doubles, two triples, two home runs and nine walks.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Caleb Kilian, RHP vs. JT Brubaker, RHP

MLB Photos via Getty Images

I continue to believe that Caleb Kilian will be a solid rotation starter for the Cubs. Maybe not a No. 1, but certainly good enough to be a No. 3. As you can see by the graph below, he can throw his four-seamer at 95-plus, and has a good mix of other pitches.

The results so far: One decent start vs. the Brewers, one bad one vs. the Padres. He still hasn’t allowed a home run in nine MLB innings, so that’s good, but has issued seven walks, which... isn’t.

He has obviously never faced the Pirates or anyone on their active roster. This will be his first start on the road.

JT Brubaker... here’s where the W-L record (0-7) does not reflect his pitching. The Pirates are 5-8 in his 13 starts, which isn’t great, but it’s certainly better than 0-7. Much of his issue is lack of run support — Brubaker ranks 127th of 137 qualified MLB starters this year in run support. That’s reflected in the two starts he’s made against the Cubs this year. The Pirates scored three runs in those two starts, while Brubaker has given the Cubs eight runs (five earned) in 8⅔ total innings this year. He did strike out 10 in his last start against the Cubs, May 17 in Pittsburgh, but the Cubs won 7-0.

Here’s for another one just like that one.


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.