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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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The Pirates have been hot. Can the Cubs cool them off?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After going 35-21 against the Pirates from 2015-17 (36-21 including the 2015 wild-card game), the Cubs have struggled a bit against the Bucs this year, going just 5-4 so far. They did, however, take two of three in their last visit to PNC Park in May, then did the same at Wrigley Field two weeks later.

Since then, though, the Pirates have begun winning. On July 7 they were 40-48 and 12½ games out of first place in the N.L. Central. They have the best record in the major leagues since then, 15-4, and that includes an 11-game winning streak. They are, it would appear, doing this with both hitting and pitching, as they lead the N.L. in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed in that 19-game span. (The Cubs are 11-8 in the same time span.)

They’ve come down to Earth a bit since that streak ended, losing three of five, including splitting a four-game series at home with the Mets.

Fun fact

The Pirates’ 11-game winning streak was their longest since 1996. That streak, which was ended by the Cubs, prevented the Pirates from having their first 90+ loss season since 1985.

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Jon Lester, LHP (12-3, 3.06 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 4.59 FIP) vs. Jameson Taillon, RHP (7-8, 3.73 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 3.44 FIP)

Wednesday: Cole Hamels, LHP (5-9, 4.72 ERA, 1.373 WHIP, 5.20 FIP) vs. Nick Kingham, RHP (5-5, 4.80 ERA, 1.233 WHIP, 5.20 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 6:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Wednesday: 6:05 p.m. CT, WGN, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Pittsburgh markets)

Prediction

It’s tough to predict a sweep, but I like these pitching matchups, and I think the Cubs will take both these games.

Up next

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field for a four-game series against the San Diego Padres beginning Thursday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    2
    (135 votes)
  • 37%
    1
    (91 votes)
  • 7%
    0
    (18 votes)
244 votes total Vote Now