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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Wednesday 6/21, 11:35 a.m. CT

The Cubs go for another sweep of the Bucs.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday notes...

  • BACK-TO-BACK BLANKINGS: The Cubs’ 8-0 and 4-0 wins the last two nights were the 104th time since 1901 that they have won consecutive shutouts: eight streaks of three games and 96 of two. The last streak before Monday and Tuesday was May 16-17 of last year, also against the Pirates, but at Wrigley Field. Those scores were 9-0 and 7-0. They have blanked the Pirates in back-to-back games 10 times, four at home and six on the road. The previous times at Pittsburgh were in 1906 (1-0 and 1-0 in a doubleheader), 1916 (3-0 and 2-0), 1944 (5-0 and 1-0 in a doubleheader), 1989 (1-0 and 8-0) and 2018 (1-0 and 1-0). The Cubs have not allowed the Pirates to score in 24⅓ innings, since a one-out RBI groundout in the third inning of the series finale in Chicago last Thursday. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • MORE ON SHUTOUTS: Tuesday’s shutout was the Cubs’ ninth of the 2023 season, most among N.L. teams and second in MLB to the Blue Jays (10). The Cubs had 11 shutouts all of last year.
  • HE’S HOT: Mike Tauchman, last 10 games since June 10: .342/.422/.553 (13-for-38) with two doubles, two home runs, six walks and 11 runs scored.
  • RUNS vs. BUCS: In the first five games against Pittsburgh this season, the Cubs have scored 40 runs on 56 hits (four of those hits home runs), 23 walks and four hit by pitches. This marks the first time the Cubs have scored at least 40 runs in their first five games against a team since 2016 when they scored 46 runs in their first five contests against the Reds. (H/T: Elias)

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Rich Hill, LHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Hendricks vs. Rich Hill. What year is this, 2016?

Actually, that’d be good because, well, you know what happened with the Cubs that year.

Because Hill started his career with the Cubs and played with them through 2008, I checked to see if there had been any Cubs player or players who were teammates of both Hendricks and Hill.

The answer is no — but there is an interesting connection. Jeff Samardzija played on the 2008 Cubs with Hill, and on the 2014 Cubs, where Hendricks made his MLB debut. Samardzija was traded to the A’s July 2, 2014. Six days later Hendricks made his debut, so essentially, Kyle took Shark’s spot in the Cubs rotation.

Overall his numbers so far this year are good, though his K rate is pretty low. On the other hand, he’s allowed just one home run in 28⅓ innings, which is very good.

A lot of that is likely coming from the fact that he’s now calling his own pitches:

The secret to Kyle Hendricks’ recent success is that he informed the Cubs that he’s going to pitch his own style, calling his own pitches, and not change his ways just to fit into an algorithm.

If you’re nicknamed The Professor, you should be able to do that. The results have been very positive.

Rich Hill has had some good starts this year but over his last five outings: 5.10 ERA, 1.467 WHIP. Even though he’s been around forever, most Cubs haven’t faced him a lot. Trey Mancini is 3-for-8 with two home runs and three walks.


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 2023 Game Thread procedure will be like last year’s, 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.