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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Thursday 8/24, 6:05 CT

The Cubs open a four-game series against the Bucs.

Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Today’s roster move: Here

Thursday notes...

  • ABOUT THOSE CLOSE ONES: The Cubs’ last eight games have all been decided by no more than two runs: five wins, three losses. That is one game short of their longest such streak since 1995. They played nine in a row in 2013 and 2021, going 5-4 both times. They also played nine straight in 1994 (4-5) and played eight twice in 2000 (4-4 and 1-7). Their team record is 13, set in 1965 (7-6) and tied in 1969 (6-7) and 1980 (4-9). They have had two streaks of 11, in 1928 (6-5) and 1932 (8-3), and three of 10: 1906 (8-2), 1936 (3-7) and 1991 (4-6). The Major League record is 18, by the Twins, in 1965 (9-9). The Phillies played 17 in 1960 (5-12). The 2014 Yankees (9-7) were the last of three teams with 16 and the Rays (5-9) last season became the fifth with 14. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • INTERLEAGUE WRAP: The Cubs have completed their schedule against A.L. teams for the 2023 regular season with a 25-21 record, broken down as follows: 9-6 vs. A.L. East teams, 7-8 vs. A.L. West teams, 9-7 vs. A.L. Central teams. They won’t play an A.L. team again until... well, we can dream... maybe late October?
  • JUST KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON: Seiya Suzuki, month of August, 15 games: .353/.382/.725 (18-for-51) with two doubles, a triple, five home runs and 13 runs scored. Suzuki has a six-game hitting streak and has reached base in 12 of the 15 games.
  • CLOSING THE DOOR: Adbert Alzolay has converted his last 15 save chances since July 5, the most in the majors during that stretch. The 15 straight converted save opportunities are the most by a Cub since Craig Kimbrel converted 16 consecutive save chances May 18-July 25, 2021. His 19 saves are tied with Kimbrel and Evan Phillips for eighth in the National League, even though he had only four saves entering July.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Justin Steele, LHP vs. Rob Zastryzny, LHP

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

Justin Steele hasn’t been quite as good recently as he was earlier in the year, but I think he’s still a legitimate Cy Young candidate. He’s reached a career high in innings and the Cubs will likely have to carefully manage his workload the rest of the year, especially through the postseason.

Steele has not faced the Pirates this year and last year’s outings against them weren’t very good. On the other hand, the Pirates have a lot of new players this year and only Andrew McCutchen has more than a handful of at-bats against him (1-for-15, four strikeouts).

Well, well, well, look who’s here, old friend Rob Zastryzny, just recalled by the Pirates from Triple-A today.

This is very likely a bullpen game for the Pirates, because Our Pal Rob has been relieving in Triple-A and hasn’t thrown more than 32 pitches in any game there.

But this gives me a chance to tell you about the only other game Rob started in MLB, back in 2016 for the Cubs. It was on a rainy night in Pittsburgh... no I am not making this up! Keep reading! ... after the Cubs had already clinched the division title. The game was tied 1-1 in the sixth inning when it started pouring and they couldn’t finish, and so it was declared a tie.

The only way you can have a tie game in MLB now is:

  • It’s the last game of the year between the teams, and
  • There are no possible makeup dates, and
  • The game has no impact on the postseason

That game qualified under all three criteria, and it is the most recent tie game between any MLB teams. The full story is here.


Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. You can find out if Marquee is available via a provider in your area here.

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.