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Series Preview: Pirates at Cubs

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Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Pirates got a rare series win over the Reds. Strangely, they haven’t been dogged as much by the Cubs, who they visit to continue their road trip.

Since the Pirates last saw them, the Cubs have taken over the National League Central lead, which they hold by two games over the Brewers, 4 1/2 over the Cardinals and seven over the Pirates.

Currently missing Willson Contreras, Jon Lester, Addison Russell and Justin Grimm to injuries, the Cubs are 13-12 in August. They lost two of three in Philadelphia over the weekend.

The Pirates (63-68) won two in a row for the edge in the series in Cincinnati.

Season Series: 7-5 Pirates

At Chicago

April 14: Pirates 4, Cubs 2

April 15: Pirates 8, Cubs 7

April 16: Pirates 6, Cubs 1

At Pittsburgh

April 24: Cubs 14, Pirates 3

April 25: Cubs 1, Pirates 0

April 26: Pirates 6, Cubs 5

At Pittsburgh

June 16: Cubs 9, Pirates 5

June 17: Pirates 4, Cubs 3

June 18: Cubs 9, Pirates 1

At Chicago

July 7: Cubs 6, Pirates 1

July 8: Pirates 4, Cubs 2

July 9: Pirates 14, Cubs 3

Schedule

Monday, 8:05 p.m. - Trevor Williams (5-6, 4.40 ERA) vs. Mike Montgomery (4-6, 3.43), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Tuesday, 8:05 p.m. - Chad Kuhl (6-9, 4.52) vs. Jake Arrieta (13-8, 3.49), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Wednesday, 8:05 p.m. - Ivan Nova (11-11, 3.97) vs. Jose Quintana (8-11, 4.49), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Cubs

69-60 (71-58 Pythag, 4.98 RS/G, 4.45 RA/G)

Offense

Kris Bryant (.289/.405/.535, 24 HR) and Anthony Rizzo (.275/.394/.526, 30 HR) are, naturally, among the league leaders. Javier Baez has provided .311 OBP to go with 20 homers. Ian Happ (.245/.322/.513, 19 HR) provides power and versatility. The team has weathered the absence of Willson Contreras with a .280/.390/.500 performance by catcher Alex Avila since his deadline-time acquisition.

Pitching

Mike Montgomery is serving as a swingman again, getting groundballs (58.6 percent) and issuing some walks (4.05 per nine innings). Jake Arrieta has a 1.78 ERA in the second half of this season. Jose Quintana’s ERA has stayed about the same in his move across Chicago (4.49 to 4.50), though he’s started to strike out more batters (9.4 per nine innings to 10.4).

Outlook

If anything, I’m more just looking at the Pirates as potentially playing spoiler at this point. Trevor Williams has been pretty good lately, and Chad Kuhl’s had his moments. Ivan Nova’s had his struggles, though I’m sure everyone will be calm and rational in dealing with Jose Quintana.

Poll

How does this series go?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Pirates sweep!
    (83 votes)
  • 24%
    2-1 Pirates
    (78 votes)
  • 35%
    2-1 Cubs
    (114 votes)
  • 14%
    Cubs sweep
    (45 votes)
320 votes total Vote Now