Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Saturday 7/6, 3:05 CT: Divisional Follies

Jonathan Daniel

The Cubs just can't beat teams in their own division, even while they do all right outside it. Why do you think that is?

I still can't figure out why the Cubs have had such a poor record against N.L. Central teams. Yes, there are three playoff contenders in the division, but the Cubs have played other contending teams outside the Central reasonably well. The Pirates, Reds and Cardinals have feasted on the Cubs and Brewers, who have a combined 23-51 record within the division (Cubs, 11-26; Brewers 12-25).

But there it is. The Cubs are 25-22 outside the N.L. Central and have an 11-6 record in interleague play, their best interleague mark since 2007. Figure out how to defeat the Pirates, Cardinals and Reds and the Cubs might have something going.

That doesn't give us much hope for the rest of this series, or homestand, which features six more divisional games. Maybe the three interleague games next week will provide a bit of a break.

Cubs lineup:

Borbon CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Valbuena 3B, Schierholtz RF, Barney 2B, Castillo C, Jackson P

The Pirates lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Pirates lineup.

Today's Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson


Cubs

vs. Charlie Morton

Charlie Morton


Pirates

vs. Pit

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Edwin Jackson 4-10 16 16 0 0 0 0 87.2 101 63 56 8 34 79 5.75 1.54


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Charlie Morton 1-1 4 4 0 0 0 0 18.0 16 11 5 0 6 12 2.50 1.22

Edwin Jackson has made three starts against the Pirates this year. June 9 at Wrigley Field, he was very good (seven innings, one run, nine strikeouts). The other two? Not so much. Overall vs. Pittsburgh this year: 15 innings, seven earned runs. Actually, that's a bit better than his overall numbers. I've kind of given up trying to figure out how Jackson will do. At times, he looks really good and you think he's turned the proverbial corner... and then he has another bad start and regresses.

Charlie Morton has made four starts in his return from last year's Tommy John surgery. He threw only two innings in his last outing, but that was because he was lifted after a long rain delay. He hasn't faced the Cubs since 2011, and current Cubs are a small-sample-size 14-for-35 (.400) against him. In short, who knows?

Today's game is on WGN.

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.

Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.

You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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