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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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The Cubs begin their final homestand of 2018 with a four-game set against the Bucs.

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Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Pirates, man... I dunno. They were in first place in the N.L. Central for much of April and part of May and were 26-17 on May 17.

Then they went on a 14-31 run, and found themselves 12½ games out of first place on July 7.

That was followed by winning 13 of 14, including an 11-game winning streak, cutting that deficit in half and sneaking to within 3½ games of the second wild card spot.

Since then they’ve had a winning streak of five, a losing streak of five, two more winning streaks of five and ... well, you get the picture, I think. The Pirates enter this series three games over .500 and with Pythagorean runs scored/allowed numbers that would have them one game under .500, seemingly a classic .500 team.

Against the Cubs? Pretty much the same. 7-8 overall, 4-2 in Wrigley Field so far this year. They are currently without starting pitcher Joe Musgrove and outfielder Gregory Polanco, both of whom will miss the rest of the year.

Fun fact

The Pirates have helped the Cubs out by going 12-7 against the Brewers this year.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Cole Hamels, LHP (4-1, 2.42 ERA, 1.137 WHIP, 3.45 FIP) vs. Jameson Taillon, RHP (13-9, 3.24 ERA, 1.180 WHIP, 3.42 FIP)

Tuesday: Mike Montgomery, LHP (5-5, 3.75 ERA, 1.334 WHIP, 3.90 FIP) vs. Chris Archer, RHP (5-8, 4.49 ERA, 1.391 WHIP, 3.84 FIP)

Wednesday: Jose Quintana, LHP (13-11, 4.11 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, 4.44 FIP) vs. Ivan Nova, RHP (9-9, 4.01 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, 4.52 FIP)

Thursday: Jon Lester, LHP (17-6, 3.43 ERA, 1.315 WHIP, 4.39 FIP) vs. Trevor Williams, RHP (14-9, 3.04 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, 3.87 FIP)

NOTE: Cole Hamels’ numbers above are with the Cubs only. Overall in 2018: 30 starts, 9-10, 3.90 ERA, 1.289 WHIP, 4.57 FIP

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, WGN, MLB Network (outside Chicago market)

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Thursday: 7:05 p.m CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Pittsburgh markets)

Prediction

The Pirates would love to play spoiler in the N.L. Central race, but I think the Cubs have the upper hand here, as the Pirates are just 19-25 vs. lefthanded starters this year. The Cubs will take three of four.

Up next

The final home series of the 2018 regular season, a three-game set against the Cardinals, begins Friday afternoon.


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Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    4
    (40 votes)
  • 49%
    3
    (248 votes)
  • 35%
    2
    (178 votes)
  • 2%
    1
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    0
    (19 votes)
497 votes total Vote Now