Game One Hundred Fifty-Nine: Cubs (101-57) vs. Pirates (78-80)
- Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
- Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Rob Zastryzny, LHP (1-0, 1.46/1.05/2.01) vs. Ivan Nova, RHP (12-8, 4.37/1.27/4.20)
Weather permitting … The Cubs look to finish their season against the Pirates with another win in Pittsburgh. The Cubs are 14-4 versus the Bucs this season (6-3 at PNC Park), and will look to bounce back from just the fourth loss of the year to the Pirates behind Rob Zastryzny and a scheduled bullpen day.
The Cubs have an opportunity tonight to win the final game of the season at PNC Park for the second time in as many years.
The Cubs finally took exception with the Pirates throwing at their batters on Wednesday night. It will be interesting to see if Clint Hurdle has moved on or if he has pitchers go headhunting again tonight. Major League Baseball has to do something about teams like the Pirates and Cardinals. The eye-for-an-eye mentality is as outdated as AstroTurf and multi-purpose stadiums. There is simply no place in today’s game for managers like the ones in the NL Central Division.
Rob Zastryzny will be the first pitcher out of the pen for Joe Maddon tonight. Zastryzny and Mike Montgomery are among the relievers expected to pitch tonight. And Jake Buchanan should also be part of the group that will be scheduled for at least one inning.
Winning tonight’s game would be the perfect way to say good-bye to the Pirates until next year.
Tonight all starts with Rob Z. …
Rob Zastryzny makes his first start in the big leagues. Zastryzny has completed a grand total of five innings since pitching 3 2/3 innings in relief of Jason Hammel against the Dodgers on Aug. 27. It is unclear at this point how long the Cubs will let him pitch tonight. Based on the way Maddon has handled things at PNC Park this week he will probably treat this like a Spring Training start … aim for two innings and based on the pitch count, push for three.
Zastryzny went 20 days in between appearances. Rob Z. pitched a scoreless inning against the Giants on Sept. 4 and did not pitch in another game until Sept. 24 against the Cardinals.
Maddon has really liked what he’s seen from Rob Z. and thinks he as a future as a starter in the big leagues.
Over his last three outings, Zastryzny has allowed one run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts in four innings (2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP).
Rob Zastryzny was a combined 10-5 in 24 games, 23 starts, with a 4.31 and 1.23 WHIP for Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season.
Zastryzny makes his second appearance against the Pirates tonight. Zastryzny picked up the win in the extra innings marathon back on Aug. 29 at Wrigley after allowing one run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts in an inning of work.
Francisco Cervelli (1-for-1), David Freese (1-for-1), Jordy Mercer (one walk) and Sean Rodriguez (0-for-1) all had one plate appearance against Zastryzny on Aug. 29.
The Cubs get their first look at Ivan Nova tonight. The Pirates acquired Nova from the Yankees at the deadline for players to be named later. The Pirates have since sent Tito Polo and Stephen Tarpley to the Bronx to complete the trade.
Nova has been a mixed bag with the Pirates. The Nationals and Reds scored at will on Nova in each of his last two starts. Nova is coming off back-to-back loses and has allowed 11 runs, nine earned, on 18 hits in his last seven innings.
In his last five starts, Nova is 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Nova has given up 16 runs, 13 earned, on 34 hits with two walks and 25 strikeouts in 28 innings.
With the Pirates, Ivan Nova is 5-2 in 10 starts with a 3.49 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 2.74 FIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Ivan Nova
- Ben Zobrist: 6-for-32 with five walks
- Munenori Kawasaki: 1-for-4
- Chris Coghlan: 0-for-3
- Dexter Fowler: 2-for-3
- Jason Heyward: 1-for-3
- Miguel Montero: 0-for-1 with one walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …