MLB Game Preview - Cubs v Pirates

 
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Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Chi Cubs0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 160
Pittsburgh0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 382
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  W: J. Musgrove (5-7)   L: T. Chatwood (4-6)   S: F. Vázquez (27)
4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, August 18, 2018
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 35,100

Cubs' Chatwood waits his turn, gets start against Pirates

According to STATS
According to STATS

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. The Pirates are 28-19 (.596) against the NL Central in 2018, the second-best record by any NL team against its own division this season (Braves vs. NL East, 40-19). This is on pace to be the Pirates best record against the NL Central since the division was formed in 1994.
  2. The Cubs are scoring 4.15 runs per game since the All-Star break, down from 5.12 runs per game prior to the All-Star game. The team's decrease of 0.97 runs during this time period is the third-largest in MLB.
  3. Pittsburgh is batting .274 with runners in scoring position in 2018, the fourth-best mark in MLB. This is on pace to be the team's highest such mark since 2008 (.276).
  4. Since July 1, Jon Lester has an 8.01 ERA in eight starts, including a five-inning, four-earned run performance against the Pirates on July 31. Lester has also allowed a 1.064 OPS to opponents since July 1, the highest such mark among MLB pitchers who made at least five starts during this period.
  5. Since making his debut with the Pirates on August 6, 2016, Ivan Nova has averaged 1.58 walks per nine innings. This is the second-lowest such mark among MLB pitchers (minimum 250 IP) during this period (Clayton Kershaw, 1.47).
  6. Through June 30, Albert Almora Jr. slashed .332/.369/.461 in 261 plate appearances. However, since July 1, Almora Jr. is slashing .216/.266/.294 in 110 plate appearances with his home run against the Brewers on Wednesday being his first home run since June 28.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 8/16/2018 thru 8/19/2018

Tyler Chatwood took the high road when he was demoted from the Chicago Cubs' rotation in late July. The right-hander figured going to the bullpen would give him a chance to work on his control and be ready should he get a chance to start again.

That chance comes Saturday when Chatwood (4-5, 5.06 ERA) will start against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. That was announced Friday when the Cubs placed Mike Montgomery on the disabled list because of left shoulder inflammation. Left-handed reliever Randy Rosario was promoted from Triple-A Iowa.

Montgomery had been scheduled to start Saturday, but he felt discomfort during a bullpen session Thursday.

"It was weird because I didn't know that Monty was dealing with anything, but, obviously, you're excited any time you get to start," Chatwood said.

"I feel good, and I'm in a good place."

He was the odd man out of the rotation when Chicago acquired Cole Hamels.

"Obviously, you never want that, but I think there's some stuff I need to work out," Chatwood said at the time. "So this will give me an opportunity to do that. Then, hopefully, whenever I start feeling good again, get back into the rotation."

He admitted going to the bullpen made it easier to work on his delivery midseason.

"It's hard to try overhaul your mechanics ... in the middle of a year and get big league hitters out, especially when you're on a first-place team," he said.

As a reliever this month, Chatwood has given up four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in three games, including a scoreless, one-hit inning against Pittsburgh on Aug. 1.

He will be matched against Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove (4-7, 3.49 ERA) Saturday, and he will have a couple of tough acts to follow.

Chicago (71-50) moved to a season-best 21 games above .500 on Friday with its second straight 1-0 win over the Pirates (61-62), who have lost five in a row overall and are below .500 for the first time since July 15.

Hamels on Friday and Jon Lester on Thursday had strong starts against Pittsburgh as the Cubs won on solo homers, by Ian Happ on Thursday and Kyle Schwarber on Friday.

The Pirates not only have been shut out in the first two games of the four-game series, but they also tied a club record Friday by hitting into seven double plays.

"We couldn't find dirt, plays, and they have a good defense," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Ineffective Pirates offense is nothing new to Musgrove, who has received miniscule run support lately. He has given up seven earned runs in 27 innings in four starts since the All-Star break. He has lost three straight decisions with just one run of backing, total.

His last start was a 4-3 loss Sunday in San Francisco, when he gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings but struck out six, threw 70 of 92 pitches for strikes and had just two extra-base hits against him.

"I thought he pitched, obviously, better than the result of giving up four runs," Hurdle said. "He's been efficient. He's been effective."

Against the Cubs, Musgrove is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts, including a 2-1 win May 30 when he gave up one run in seven innings.

Updated August 18, 2018

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