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Game Thread: Nova’s turn against the Cubs

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs, scratching to hold on t first place in the National League Central only 0.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers, play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who’ve already taken the first two of the four game series while allowing the Cubs only one run. The Pirates send Ivan Nova (9-9, 4.01) to the mound against left-hander Jose Quintana()

The 29 year old Quintana, acquired in a deadline deal with the cross-town White Sox last year, has only faced the Pirates once in 2018, allowing a run in five innings of work. He throws a 91.5 mph fastball along with a curve 24% of the time, two-seamer 14% and change 9%. He’ll only face two left handed batters, Adam Frazier and Cory Dickerson, each of whom hit left-handers well.

Nova’s pitched well of late, allowing two or fewer runs in six of his last seven starts, with a 2.56 ERA in 38 23 innings over that stretch. This will be his fourth start against the Cubs this year, compiling a 2.33 ERA in 19 13 innings so far. He’ll face a lineup with only two right-handed batters, Javy Baez and David Bote. So far this year Nova has allowed a .815 OPS to lefties (279/322/493) while only a 710 OPS to right-handers (249/289/422).

David Bote will fill in at third base for the Cubs after Kris Bryant was hit in the hand by a pitch last night.

Josh Bell takes a seat in favor of Jordan Luplow, with Jose Osuna shifting to first base and Pablo Reyes to third.

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PIRATES

1 L Adam Frazier 2B

2 R Starling Marte CF

3 R Jose Osuna 1B

4 R Elias Diaz C

5 L Cory Dickerson LF

6 R Pablo Reyes 3B

7 R Jordan Luplow RF

8 R Kevin Newman SS

9 R Ivan Nova RHP

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CUBS

1 L Daniel Murphy 2B

2 R Javy Baez SS

3 L Anthony Rizzo 1B

4 L Jason Heyward CF

5 S Ian Happ RF

6 L Kyle Schwarber LF

7 S Victor Caratini C

8 L Jose Quintana P

9 R David Bote 3B