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Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Monday 8/30, 7:05 CT: Numbers That Make No Sense

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"See, I told you guys I could hit lefthanders."
"See, I told you guys I could hit lefthanders."

Here are numbers involving the Pirates, and the Pirates against the Cubs this year; almost none of them make any sense.

The Pirates are 9-3 against the Cubs. They are 34-84 against everyone else -- that's a .288 winning percentage, which would translate into 47 wins in a full season.

The Pirates are 4-2 in Wrigley Field this year. They are 9-49 in all their other road games -- that's a .155 winning percentage, which would translate into 13 wins in a normal 81-game road season. Even their overall road winning percentage -- .203 -- would only give them 16 road wins this year. The record for fewest road wins in a 162-game season is 17, held by the 1963 Mets. The 1962 Mets had 18; those are the only two teams since 1961 to have fewer than 20 road wins in a season without a labor stoppage.

The Pirates have gone 22-56 since June 1 (19-54 against teams not named "Cubs" in that time frame). That's a .282 winning percentage, which would translate to 46 wins over a full season. They have not won more than two in a row since July 1, and have had losing streaks of four, five, seven and five during that stretch (although they did win two straight from the Cardinals at PNC Park last week). They have been outscored 400-273 since June 1.

The Pirates have given up ten or more runs 12 times this year and lost all ten, including scores of 15-6, 17-3 and 20-0. They have not shut out anyone but been shut out 13 times, and scored one or no runs in a game 25 times. They are on pace to be outscored by approximately 315 runs this season, which would put them in 1962 Mets/2003 Tigers territory. In the 12 games vs. the Cubs, they have scored 46 runs and allowed 31; in all other games they have been outscored 395-666 (Hmmm). They are 3-6 in games against teams whose record is similar to the Cubs (Nationals, Indians, Diamondbacks).

The Cubs owe these guys a sweep. Let's hope they give it to them. And if the Cubs win tonight, the Pirates are mathematically eliminated from the NL Central race. How's that for motivation?

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Paul Maholm
Paul Maholm
Pirates
5-6 W-L 7-12
4.64 ERA 4.82
72 SO 75
45 BB 53
6 HR 14
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Carlos Zambrano 5-6 34 13 0 0 0 0 83.1 95 47 43 6 45 72 4.64 1.68


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Paul Maholm 7-12 26 26 1 1 0 0 153.0 184 91 82 14 53 75 4.82 1.55

After getting pounded by Cubs hitters for years, Paul Maholm is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA against the Cubs so far this season. Aramis Ramirez has a great career record vs. Maholm (10-for-29, .345, two doubles, two HR) but this year he's only 2-for-9 with two strikeouts. It's time for all of that to go back to normal (i.e. pound Maholm).

With Z's back and forth to the pen and the restricted list this year, he has not started vs. the Pirates in 2010, though he did make a couple of relief appearances which are, I think, best not discussed. Z has pitched better in each successive start since his return. Current Pirates are hitting .333 (21-for-63) against him with one home run (Garrett Jones).

Lineup via tweet from CubsInsider:

#Cubs lineup vs. #Pirates (8/30): Baker 2B, Castro SS, Byrd CF, Ramirez 3B, Nady 1B, Soriano LF, Colvin RF, Hill C, Zambrano P

Pirates lineup via tweet from BucsInsider:

Lineup - McCutchen 8 Tabata 7 Walker 4 Jones 3 Alvarez 5 Doumit 2 Milledge 9 Cedeno 6 Maholm 1

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN 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 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.