The Chicago Cubs will try to keep their winning ways going Saturday afternoon when they play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Chicago (61-75) has won the first two games of the four-game series, giving them four consecutive victories overall.
The Pirates (48-87) have dropped their past four and six of the past seven.
On Friday, Pittsburgh trailed 5-0 but tied the score in the sixth inning on Anthony Alford’s second home run of the day. In the bottom of the inning, a solo shot from Frank Schwindel put Chicago back on top 6-5, and that wound up being the last run of the game.
“They continue to fight,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said of his players. “We just weren’t able to finish it off.”
The Cubs were without manager David Ross for Friday’s game after he and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer tested positive for COVID-19.
Ross and Hoyer are vaccinated and will quarantine for at least 10 days per Major League Baseball protocols.
Bench coach Andy Green is serving as Chicago’s manager in the interim.
“The best message to send right now is Rossy doesn’t feel anything at all,” said Green, who was ejected from the Friday win after arguing a call at second base.
“He’s completely fine. He’s totally normal. That tends to be the case with those of us who are vaccinated and have made that choice that when we contract it, that part’s unfortunate, but the fortunate part is, he feels great. He’s only frustrated he can’t be in the dugout every day and can’t manage the team.”
The Cubs said they tested all of those around Ross and Hoyer and there have been no other positive tests.
“We hope all of us stay healthy and continue to test negative so we don’t have any other further spread,” Green said. “It’s everywhere around right now, not just with Ross. Obviously, it’s spreading and we’re gonna do everything we can to protect everybody.”
On Saturday, Green and the Cubs will start Kyle Hendricks (14-6, 4.43 ERA), who is tied with the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright for second in the majors in wins.
Hendricks, whose 11-game winning streak from May 16-Aug. 6 was the longest in the majors this season, will make his 23rd career start against the Pirates.
The right-hander is 7-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 122 1/3 innings against Pittsburgh, including 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts this year.
Hendricks is looking to bounce back from a rough start on Sunday, when he gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 13-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
The Pirates had not announced a starter for Saturday’s game although JT Brubaker could be activated off the 10-day IL and take the hill. The right-hander has been sidelined due to a right thumb contusion.
Brubaker (5-13, 5.27 ERA) made his last appearance Aug. 24 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, when he gave up four hits in five shutout innings en route to a 4-2 win.
Schwindel enters play Saturday having homered four times in his past five games. He went 3-for-4 on Friday.
–Field Level Media