Series preview is here.
Thursday: 7:05 pm CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM
Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.
Scouting Report from Brooks Baseball.
Trevor Williams: Trevor Williams has thrown 5,258 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2018, all of them occuring in the MLB Regular Season. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (92mph), also mixing in a Sinker (89mph), Slider(82mph) and Change (84mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (76mph).
His fourseam fastball has less armside movement than typical, has some natural sinking action and has essentially average velo. His sinker has below average velo, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has some natural sinking action. His slider has short glove-side cut and has some two-plane movement. His change generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups. His curve (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 6 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth and has slightly below average velo.
Sean's Note: Williams has been outstanding for the Pirates this season. He has a very low strike out rate but also a very low home run rate. He has a batting average on balls in play well below league average, so luck is probably also a factor in his 3.04 ERA. He has no big splits, right handed and left handed hitters have almost identical numbers against him. The Cubs have been baffled by Williams scoring just two runs in 13 innings against him this season.
Final Thoughts: The Cubs barely hung on to beat the Pirates in extra innings on Wednesday. The win kept the Northsiders in first by only a half game over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers are off Thursday, so the outcome of the game will either give the Cubs a full game lead or lead to a tie in the standings. Jon Lester has made numerous big starts in his career, so the pressure won't be an issue. Chicago showed some offensive life on Wednesday, it will be hard to score against the stingy Williams.