9/4 Extra bases
* Dale Sveum played for the Pirates from 1996-97 and again in 1999, and he knows all about the losing seasons in Pittsburgh. On Tuesday, the Pirates won their 81st game, and are guaranteed their first non-losing season in 21 years.
“It’s obviously been a tough run for them for 20 years,” Sveum said. “I was there for parts of it, and it’s good to see they finally got over that hump, and not only got over the hump, but there’s an above average chance they’ll be in the playoffs as well. It’s good for the city and the organization. A lot of people have been there for a long time. It’s nice to see that organization turn the corner.”
The Cubs still have seven games against the Pirates with a series in Pittsburgh Sept. 12-15 and at Wrigley Field Sept. 23-25. After Wednesday’s game against the Marlins, the Cubs will play 20 of their final 23 games against National League Central teams.
* The Cubs don’t know who will be their closer in 2014, but Sveum said they may use right-hander Pedro Strop in save situations in the final month of games.
“I don’t think you’ll have any idea at the end of this season about what’s going to happen,” Sveum said of the Cubs’ ‘pen. “So many things go into play there and it’s a long offseason. Certain things come up. There’s no way you can predict or plan what’s going to happen by Spring Training next year.”
The Cubs have used 21 relievers this season, with Chang-Yong Lim and Justin Grimm in the bullpen waiting to make an appearance.
* No decision has been made on the next step for right-hander Scott Baker, who made his final Minor League rehab start on Monday for Class A Kane County. Baker has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, which he had in April 2012.
* With right-hander Alberto Cabrera making his season debut and lefty Zac Rosscup making his big league debut, the Cubs have utilized 52 players, one shy of the franchise record 53 who appeared last year. Still looking to make their debuts are Lim, Grimm and catcher J.C. Boscan.
The Cubs have utilized 11 rookies this season, and only four players on the current 25-man roster were on the 2012 Opening Day roster. That list includes Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija.
* On Friday, the Cubs play host to the Brewers for a weekend series. Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday: LHP Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.74) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (9-8, 3.32)
Saturday: RHP Jake Arrieta (2-1, 3.77) vs. RHP Johnny Hellweg (0-3, 10.97)
Sunday: LHP Travis Wood (8-11, 3.17) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (10-9, 4.31)
— Carrie Muskat