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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Sunday 8/27, 12:35 CT

The Cubs go for the series win!

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Sunday notes...

  • EVEN MORE JORDAN WICKS STRIKEOUT FACTS: 55 pitchers before Wicks had made their MLB debut starting for the Cubs and struck out at least three batters. Baseball-reference has play-by-play on 42 of the games, the first in 1917. The only previous Cub with three strikeouts in his first inning was Thomas Diamond, on August 3, 2010, at home against the Brewers. His inning went: strikeout swinging, strikeout swinging, walk, single, RBI single, strikeout swinging. Ten others had two strikeouts in their first inning: Dutch Ruether (1917), Cliff Chambers (1948), Kerry Wood (1998), Kyle Farnsworth (1999), Phil Norton (2000), Joey Nation (2000), Juan Cruz (2001), Mark Prior (2002), Matt Swarmer (2022) and Caleb Kilian (2022). Chambers, Cruz, Swarmer and Kilian retired the side in order. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • AGAINST THE BUCS: The Cubs have won eight of their first nine games this year against the Pirates. They have done that in only four previous seasons: 1890, 1896, 2008 and 2016. In the first and last of those years, they lost the 10th game. In 1896, they won all three later games to finish the season 11-1. In 2008, they won the 10th game, lost three in a row, then won the final five to finish 14-4. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • THE PITTSBURGH-AREA NATIVE KEEPS HITTING AT HOME: Ian Happ, nine games vs. Pirates this year: .351/.429/.757 (13-for-37) with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, 15 RBI and 11 runs scored.
  • MORE HAPP-ENINGS: Happ has reached base safely in each of his last 55 starts against the Pirates dating to September 26, 2018. His double Saturday broke a tie with Stan Musial (July 8, 1951 (second game) to August 29, 1953) for the longest run against the Pirates in the major leagues (since 1901).
  • FINALLY, A BIT OF BREATHING ROOM: Saturday’s four-run margin of victory snapped a 10-game streak in which all Cubs games had been decided by one or two runs (a 6-4 record). The last time the Cubs played in at least 11 straight games decided by two runs or fewer was June 26-July 10, 1980 (13 games).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Javier Assad, RHP vs. Bailey Falter, LHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Javier Assad appears to have matured into a quality MLB starter just at the time the Cubs needed him most.

Four starts this month: 2.86 ERA, 1.136 WHIP, the Cubs won all four games.

Assad has not faced the Pirates this year. His one start against them last year, September 23 at PNC Park, didn’t go all that well: four innings, four runs (three earned), three walks. Hopefully this one will be better.

As a starter for the Phillies this year, Bailey Falter had mixed results and was sent to Triple-A. The Pirates acquired him at the trade deadline for Rodolfo Castro.

In four outings for the Bucs, three starts and a game where they used an opener, he’s thrown a bit better: 3.26 ERA, 1.397 WHIP, decent peripherals.

He started against the Cubs July 24, 2022 in Philadelphia and, among other things, Yan Gomes homered twice off him. Dansby Swanson is 3-for-5 off Falter.

And now I have to put in the obvious name pun: We are hoping Falter will... falter, today.


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.