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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates preview, Thursday 9/21, 6:40 CT

The Cubs go for the series win, in a very important game.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday notes...

  • LET THERE BE LIGHTS: Tonight’s game will be the Cubs’ last of the regular season under the lights at Wrigley Field this year. It will be their 889th regular season night game at home. They are 19-18 in such games this season and 471-417 since lights were installed in 1988. That is a .530 winning percentage, which is seven points higher than their .523 in their 1,897 day games since the first completed night game, on August 9, 1988. They are 993-904 in daylight. The 889 night games amount to 31.9 percent of all home games starting with the first completed night game. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • SCORING RUNS IN BUNCHES: The Cubs’ 10-run game against the Pirates made 2023 the fourth time in franchise history (since 1901) the team has plated 10 or more runs at least 23 times in a season and the first time since 1935 (24 times). They also did it in 1930 (28 times) and 1929 (34 times, the franchise record).
  • THE PITTSBURGH-AREA NATIVE: Happ vs. the Pirates this year: .347/.429/.735 (17-for-49) with six doubles, two triples, three home runs, 19 RBI and 13 runs scored in 12 games.
  • MORE HAPP-ENINGS: Ian Happ is on a six-game hitting streak in which he is batting .423/.464/.769 (11-for-26) with three doubles and two home runs.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Pirates lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Johan Oviedo, RHP

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

Kyle Hendricks is no stranger to important games, having started the NLCS clincher in 2016 and Game 7 of the World Series.

This one doesn’t have the impact of those, but is certainly important to this year’s Cubs.

Kyle has a 3.15 ERA and 1.223 WHIP over his last six starts, which includes a solid two-run outing in 5⅔ innings August 25 in Pittsburgh.

Do that again and I think the Cubs win this game.

Johan Oviedo has started twice against the Cubs this year and overall has allowed 13 hits, a walk and six runs in 10⅓ innings.

This month he has one decent start and two bad ones, and the two bad ones are on the road.

In five career starts at Wrigley, Oviedo has a 6.17 ERA and 1.757 WHIP. Let’s hope the Cubs keep that going tonight.


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.