The Chicago Cubs return to Wrigley Field for a seven-game homestand, starting Thursday with a four-game series against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Cubs (58-75, fourth in NL Central) swept a two-game series against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday in Minneapolis. Frank Schwindel’s three-run home run was the only offense Chicago needed, and Justin Steele and Adbert Alzolay combined for a two-hitter in a 3-0 win.
Chicago also activated right-handed pitcher Dillon Maples from the 10-day injured list, but scratched infielder Matt Duffy due to neck stiffness. Maples had been out since July 29 with a blister on his right middle finger.
Another right-hander, Keegan Thompson, will receive another start in the series opener against the Pirates. He entered the rotation on Aug. 21, but has pitched only six innings in two starts as he tries to lock in a rotation spot for 2022.
The Pirates (48-84, fifth in NL Central) have lost four of their last five after being swept by the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox. Pittsburgh recalled righty Max Kranick from Triple-A, and he gave up the go-ahead three-run homer to Gavin Sheets on Wednesday.
Kranick wasn’t the only pitcher called up as the Pirates brought up former Cub Shelby Miller as well. Pirates manager Derek Shelton said Miller will primarily be used as a reliever.
The Cubs’ sweep over the Twins lifts Chicago a half-game up on Minnesota for the eight-worst record in the MLB. Chicago is one game back of the Kansas City Royals.
The Pirates have docked their ship at the bottom of the standings with the fourth-worst MLB record. Pittsburgh is seven games behind the Miami Marlins, and five games ahead of the Texas Rangers.
Pirates: Jose Soriano (elbow), Dillon Peters (back), Chase De Jong (knee), Blake Cederlind (elbow), Trevor Cahill (calf), JT Brubaker (thumb), Ke’Bryan Hayes (hand), Michael Chavis (elbow)
Cubs: Brad Wieck (heart), Kohl Stewart (elbow), Dillon Maples (blister), Jonathan Holder (shoulder), Adbert Alzolay (hamstring), Nick Madrigal (hamstring), Nico Hoerner (oblique), David Bote (ankle), Sergio Alcantara (ankle), Jose Lobaton (shoulder), P.J. Higgins (forearm), Willson Contreras (knee)
Thursday: Mitch Keller, RHP (4-10, 6.75 ERA, 1.81 WHIP) vs. Keegan Thompson, RHP (3-3, 3.09 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)
Friday: Steven Brault, LHP (0-3, 4.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) vs. Alec Mills, RHP (6-6, 4.32 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
Saturday: TBA vs. Kyle Hendricks, RHP (14-6, 4.43 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)
Sunday: Wil Crowe, RHP (3-7, 5.46 ERA, 1.59 WHIP) vs. Zach Davies, RHP (6-10, 4.91 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)
How to Watch
Thursday: 7:05 PM, Marquee Sports Network
Friday: 1:20 PM, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (out-of-market only)
Saturday: 1:20 PM, Marquee Sports Network
Sunday: 1:20 PM, Marquee Sports Network
All times Central