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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Wednesday 9/20, 6:40 CT

The Cubs go for two straight over the Bucs.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday notes...

  • DOMINATING THE BUCS: The Cubs now are 10-1 this year against the Pirates. The teams have been playing each other since 1887. The Cubs have lost just once in a season to the Pirates just once: 1896, when they were known as the Colts and went 11-1. The Colts won the first four games, two on the road and two at home, before suffering a 10-4 loss at home. Then they swept a later three-game series at home and a four-game series at Pittsburgh. The Colts outscored the Pirates, 85-47. They were +10 for the season, 815-805, so they were -28 vs. their 11 other opponents. This year, the Cubs are +60 (88-28) vs. the Pirates and +39 vs. everyone else. In 1945, the Cubs went 21-1 against the Reds, outscoring them by 74 runs, so the Cubs need to outscore the Pirates by 14 runs today and tomorrow to match that differential. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • SEIYA UPDATE: Seiya Suzuki, last 31 games since August 18: .362/.420/.707 (42-for-116) with 12 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 25 RBI and 23 runs scored.
  • WITHIN THE DIVISION: The Cubs improved to 29-18 vs. N.L. Central teams this year with Tuesday’s win. With five games remaining within the division, that breaks down this way: Brewers (5-5), Cardinals (8-5), Pirates (10-1), Reds (6-7).
  • STREAKING: Nico Hoerner is on a career-high 13-game hitting streak in which he is batting .370/.417/.389 (20-for-54) with a double, four walks and 10 runs scored.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Justin Steele, LHP vs. Mitch Keller, RHP

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

Justin Steele made two bad pitches last Friday in Arizona at the worst possible time — each with two men on base. Those resulted in a pair of three-run homers that won the game for the D-backs.

It was said afterwards that D-backs hitters likely knew what was coming, as they appear to have scouted the Cubs well. It would do the Cubs well to start mixing things up.

Steele’s only start vs. the Pirates this year was August 24 in Pittsburgh. He allowed three runs in six innings. That’d be okay, though Steele has done better this year.

Mitch Keller threw eight scoreless innings against the Cubs August 25 in Pittsburgh. That was the only game the Pirates have won against the Cubs this year.

Since then, Keller has made two good starts (against the Cardinals and Nationals), allowing one run in six innings and none in eight, respectively, and in between got torched by the Braves for eight runs and 12 hits in five innings.

Which of those groups would the Cubs like to be associated with?


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 — also see the note at the top of this preview.

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.