Remember when the Pirates came into Wrigley Field last year and won five of the nine games played there against the Cubs, even though they won only 17 games on the road all year in 2010?
This year, the Pirates have become road warriors. They're 9-14 at home, 13-12 on the road. This includes winning series at St. Louis and Colorado and going 5-1 in Cincinnati, as well as their opening series win at Wrigley in April. The Pirates are clearly an improved team this year and it's even possible that their 18-year streak of consecutive losing seasons could end this year.
Right now, for the Cubs, the task is to win this series and move ahead of the Pirates into fourth place; the teams are currently tied for that spot. As rough a time as the Cubs appear to have had lately, they have won five of their last eight games. OK, so that's not much, but a series win this weekend would be nice.
The sun is out in Chicago today. That's a rare enough event these days that it's worth mentioning; temperatures at Wrigley this afternoon are expected to be in the 50s, still about 20 degrees below average for this time of year.
Fukudome rf, Barney 2b, Castro ss, Ramirez 3b, Pena 1b, Soriano lf, Campana cf, Hill c, Davis p
Tabata lf, Pearce 3b, McCutchen cf, Walker 2b, Diaz rf, Snyder c, Overbay 1b, Cedeno ss, Correia p
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2011 - Doug Davis||0-2||2||2||0||0||0||0||8.2||12||10||8||0||4||9||8.31||1.85|
|2011 - Kevin Correia||6-4||11||10||1||0||0||0||63.1||65||32||27||7||13||28||3.84||1.23|
Doug Davis may not know what to do at Wrigley Field today with the sun shining; his first start on the North Side was made in the pouring rain on May 14. He pitched credibly well. In his second outing -- not so much. Current Pirates, though, are hitting only .197 against him (13-for-66); Andrew McCutchen has homered off him and is 3-for-5 lifetime.
Kevin Correia started against the Cubs on Opening Day at Wrigley Field; he threw six decent innings and the Pirates won. He has one relief appearance, oddly, this year; otherwise he has received a decision in all 10 of his starts, going 6-4. I mention that only because these days, it's pretty unusual for a starting pitcher to go one-third of the way through the season without a no-decision. Correia's performance so far this year makes him the poster boy for "league average"; he's got an ERA+ of 99. Kosuke Fukudome has gone 5-for-16 (.313) off Correia and Jeff Baker has homered off him.
Today's game is on WGN and ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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Discuss amongst yourselves.