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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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The Pirates are in free fall.

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Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

At this year’s All-Star break, the Pirates were 44-45. They were in fourth place in a tightly-bunched N.L. Central, just 2½ games behind the first-place Cubs.

Their second half, so far, can charitably be called “a disaster.” They are 6-25 since the break, by far the worst record in MLB. They got swept by the Cubs at Wrigley right after the break and since they beat the Phillies July 20, they’re 4-19. Yikes.

Plus, based on this article in The Athletic Friday, their clubhouse is in turmoil.

Fun fact

Sunday’s Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cubs will be played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of a team in the Short Season A NY-Penn League. Williamsport was a Cubs affiliate from 1994-98; among Cubs prospects who played there at the time were Eric Hinske and Kerry Wood.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (8-9, 3.48 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 3.93 FIP) vs. Joe Musgrove, RHP (8-11, 4.71 ERA, 1.262 WHIP, 4.18 FIP)

Saturday: Jon Lester, LHP (9-8, 4.43 ERA, 1.414 WHIP, 4.18 FIP) vs. Steven Brault, LHP (3-1, 4.33 ERA, 1.514 WHIP, 4.45 FIP)

Sunday: Jose Quintana, LHP (10-7, 4.11 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 3.84 FIP) vs. Mitch Keller, RHP (1-1, 7.94 ERA, 2.000 WHIP, 3.34 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 6:05 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday: 12:35 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Pirates market territories)

Sunday: 6:10 p.m. CT, ESPN

Prediction

The Cubs have had their road troubles, but the Pirates are a mess right now and one of these games is at a neutral site. Further, the Pirates are significantly worse (11-19, .367) vs. LH starters than vs. RH starters (39-51, .433). Just to hedge a bit, I’ll say the Cubs will take two of three (and definitely have a chance to sweep).

Up next

The Cubs have Monday off, then return to Wrigley Field to take on the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series beginning Tuesday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    3
    (60 votes)
  • 21%
    2
    (39 votes)
  • 25%
    1
    (46 votes)
  • 18%
    0
    (33 votes)
178 votes total Vote Now