Major League Baseball
Pirates-Cubs preview
Major League Baseball

Pirates-Cubs preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 2:42 p.m. ET

CHICAGO -- After giving up three runs on five hits in throwing only 39 pitches Saturday in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs are moving Jason Hammel up one day in the rotation to start Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I didn't even pitch today in my mind," Hammel told the Chicago Sun-Times after the game Saturday. "I barely threw 40 pitches. It was a side day for me pretty much."

Now Hammel, who is 3-2 in August with two straight losses, will get a chance to make amends.

The Cubs made the last-minute rotation switch Tuesday, moving originally scheduled starter Mike Montgomery to Thursday.


Montgomery, 27, acquired on July 20 from Seattle, was to make his third start with the Cubs and first against an NL Central foe. He allowed only three runs despite walking four and giving up six hits in a no-decision outing Friday at the Dodgers, a 6-4 Cubs win in extra innings, but threw a season-high 90 pitches.

"We want to get 'Hammer' back out there a little sooner, and Montgomery, coming off 90 1/8pitches 3/8 in his last outing, gives him an extra day," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday, via "It makes all the sense in the world to do it."

Hammel will face 39-year-old right-hander Ryan Vogelsong in a series finale at Wrigley Field.

"He's performed very well," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle of Vogelsong. "(He's) given us a chance to win every game he's pitched. He's been pitch-efficient.

"He reminds me of the generation that I kind of grew up with and played with. He's still got the core values. He's done what he need to do to improve himself and get better and he's had a very consistent and strong system in his own skill set."

Vogelsong (3-3, 3.02 ERA) makes his 18th appearance and eight start of the season in the finale of Pittsburgh's seven-game road trip.

Wednesday's appearance would be Vogelsong's sixth this month. He's 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in that span, including a 5 1/3 inning outing and win against the Brewers last Friday in Milwaukee.

Vogelsong rejoined the Pirates in 2016 after five seasons with the San Francisco Giants and three seasons prior to that in Japan.

He suffered a left eye injury when he was hit by a pitch from Rockies starter Jordan Lyles on May 23. Vogelsong had surgery in early June to repair damage from facial fractures and was on the disabled list until Aug. 4.

"I don't think he's the same guy," Hurdle said. "There's probably a little bit of a velocity gap from what he was able to do. However the experience, the makeup on the mound, awareness of the league, knowledge of hitters, belief in himself and his skill set plays up very well."

The Cubs remain home following Wednesday's game, hosting another series with a NL Wild card contender. The San Francisco Giants, currently leading the wild card standings, visit Wrigley Fielder a four-game series.

The Pirates return home for a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers starting Friday.


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