The Cubs All-Star first baseman felt his back first tighten up last Monday in Cincinnati, but then the team had back-to-back off-days thanks to a rainout, so they had hoped he'd be good to go for the weekend in Milwaukee.
Though they aren't playing Monday, Cubs players managed to make the best of their situation as they took to Wrigley's snowy diamond for a little snow-day fun. The Cubs played their first nine games of the regular season on the road. He struck out four and has held Pittsburgh, posting a 1.50 ERA in two career starts versus the Buccos. Kris Bryant is 1 for 7 against Nova, while Anthony Rizzo is 3 for 8, and Wilson Contreras is 2 for 5.
Rizzo said his low back tightness has been getting better each day and right now, it's just a matter of ensuring this doesn't linger throughout the next six-plus months.
Meanwhile, Tyler Chatwood will make his second start of the season and his Wrigley Field debut for the Cubs on Monday.
The Pirates are just 1-7 in Nova's last eight starts and are 5-16 in his last 21 road outings.
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Chatwood allowed one earned run, six walks and four hits in six innings in his first start against Cincinnat while striking out four.
As of this writing, 70% of the betting tickets wagered at online sportsbooks are on the Cubs to beat the Pirates on the money line.
"It's just something that gradually happens", Rizzo said.
Players made the most of the snow delay on Monday, having a snowball on the field before heading back into the warmth of the clubhouse.
But without the benefit of an off-day Tuesday, Pittsburgh will take the field for 13 straight days and 26 of the next 27.
At least the Pirates are hot.
"My biggest thing with him is that I want him to do less before games", Maddon said.