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The Cubs CAN Beat The Pirates. Right? Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Monday 5/31, 12:35 CT

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Perhaps it's best to pretend the previous six games between these two teams didn't happen. (Yes, I know they actually did. Still, go with this.)

Since the teams' last meeting on May 16, the Pirates are 4-9 and are currently on a five-game losing streak during which they have been outscored 30-10. Their Pythagorean win projection, based on runs scored and allowed, is a grotesque 13-38 (seven games worse than their actual record, mainly from a number of blowouts early in the season). They are on pace to allow 940 runs this season. It's way past time for the Cubs to pay these guys back for what happened earlier this month, as the month ends.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are (despite yesterday) on a nice little run. Including the win over the Pirates on May 16, they are 9-5 in their last 14 games. There is still a way to go, but a win today -- despite all the angst spilled this month -- would give the Cubs a .500 month at 14-14, something to build on. We have been told by Lou to expect some lineup shakeups on this road trip. Good -- that's a first step toward getting this offense some help.

A Happy Memorial Day to all, and let us never forget the sacrifices of those who have served our country.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Ross Ohlendorf
Ross Ohlendorf
Pirates
3-3 W-L 0-3
4.79 ERA 5.11
45 SO 15
11 BB 18
5 HR 3
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Randy Wells 3-3 10 10 0 0 0 0 56.1 66 31 30 5 11 45 4.79 1.37


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ross Ohlendorf 0-3 5 5 0 0 0 0 24.2 26 15 14 3 18 15 5.11 1.78

Ross Ohlendorf started the only game in which the Cubs have defeated the Pirates this season, on May 16 at Wrigley Field. He pitched fairly well -- the bullpen lost that game for the Pirates. Ohlendorf started one game in April, then spent a month on the DL, and has been up and down since his return. Current Cubs are hitting .222 (8-for-36) against him.

Randy Wells was one of the Cubs' most consistent starters in 2009, so his 2010 season so far is puzzling. He'd likely rather forget his start in Pittsburgh on May 6, as well as his 16-pitch, no-retired-hitters outing last Friday. He has gone at least six innings in his other eight starts this year, which have ranged from decent to excellent. We'd like more of that today, please.

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Pittsburgh. Here is the rest of the 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 12:30 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:15 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.