Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Sunday 9/4, 1:20 CT: I Was Told There Would Be No Math

Yes, you have to look at it again: Relief pitcher Carlos Marmol of the Chicago Cubs stands on the mound as Derrek Lee of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam scoring teammates Xavier Paul, Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen during the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

When the Brewers defeated the Astros 8-2 on Saturday night, the Cubs were mathematically eliminated from the NL Central race. Of course, they were really eliminated quite some time ago and we all know that, but last night, the math became impossible.

If the Atlanta Braves win today and the Cubs lose -- and the way yesterday's game went, anything's possible -- the Cubs will then be mathematically eliminated from the wild card race; their elimination number from that race is 2. Incidentally, along those lines, the Phillies -- who are probably headed to the best record in franchise history -- have a magic number of 10 to clinch at least a playoff spot.

So it goes. 2012 can't get here soon enough.

Cubs lineup:

Castro ss, Campana rf, Ramirez 3b, Pena 1b, LaHair lf, Byrd cf, Barney 2b, Hill c, Wells p

There you have it -- LaHair's first start.

Pirates lineup:

Presley lf. Harrison 3b, McCutchen cf, Lee 1b, Walker 2b, Jones rf, Cedeno s, McKenry c, Morton p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Charlie Morton
Charlie Morton
Pirates
6-4 W-L 9-8
5.06 ERA 3.74
69 SO 94
37 BB 63
19 HR 6
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Randy Wells 6-4 18 18 1 1 0 0 105.0 108 60 59 19 37 69 5.06 1.38


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Charlie Morton 9-8 25 25 2 1 0 0 149.1 162 70 62 6 63 94 3.74 1.51

Randy Wells not only threw the best game of his career in his last outing, vs. the Giants last Monday, but the best game by any Cubs starter in... well, in a long time. It would be nice to see him repeat that today; however, current Pirates are hitting .294 (24-for-82) against him, with the key culprit being Andrew McCutchen (8-for-16, a double, a triple).

Charlie Morton has thrown two games against the Cubs this year, and in posting a 1.38 ERA with just two walks in 13 innings, he has a win and a no-decision. No current Cub has more than nine career AB against him, and no one has homered off him. So, as I often say here -- clearly, we are doomed.

Today's game is on WGN and ROOT Sports Pittsburgh. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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