The Chicago Cubs will try to complete a four-game sweep of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
Chicago is coming off a 7-6 comeback win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Cubs scored three runs in the ninth inning, including a walk-off infield single by Frank Schwindel, who evaded a tag as he dived headfirst toward first base.
Schwindel will look to stay hot at the plate in the series finale. He hit his 10th homer of the season in addition to having the game-winning single, and he quickly has connected with Cubs fans since being selected off waivers from the Oakland Athletics in July.
“He’s been great. There’s really no other way to slice it,” said Cubs bench coach Andy Green, who is serving as the team’s interim manager while David Ross is away because of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. “He’s done everything you could possibly want a baseball player to do. Now, we just want to see it on repeat for a long time.
“He’s happy to get an opportunity, but he’s running with the opportunity, and when you run with the opportunity, you get more opportunities. I know (Ross) is really fond of the way he’s played baseball. It’s hard not to be right now.”
Veteran right-hander Zach Davies (6-10, 4.91 ERA) will take the mound as Chicago (62-75) goes for its sixth win in a row. Davies is winless in his past seven starts, going 0-4 with a 6.82 ERA during that span.
In 17 career starts against the Pirates, Davies is 6-6 with a 4.64 ERA. He has faced Pittsburgh three times this season, going 2-1 with a 5.65 ERA.
The Pirates (48-88) will counter with right-hander Wil Crowe (3-7, 5.46), who is scheduled to make his 21st start of the season. Crowe has gone five starts without a victory and is seeking his first win since July 30 against Philadelphia.
In his most recent outing, Crowe gave up three runs on five hits in five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. He is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Cubs.
Pittsburgh has lost five games in a row, with two of its past three losses coming on walk-off hits.
“We continued to battle,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said after Saturday’s loss. “We had good ABs. We put up (a) five spot up and down the lineup. … A lot of good things happened there.
“But the thing is, when we get five that (fifth) inning, we have to continue to grind through it and give us more run-scoring opportunities. We didn’t do that.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras rejoined the team this weekend after being on the 10-day injured list because of a sprained right knee. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run in his return Saturday.
“He’s a big part of our club, obviously, and adds a huge presence both behind the plate and at the plate,” Green said. “Any time you get one of your absolute best back in the lineup, that’s fun for all of us.”
–Field Level Media