Following a series loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park this weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates welcome in the last-place Chicago Cubs for a four game set on the North Shore.
Gerrit Cole was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday, and Jeff Locke was called up from Triple A Indianapolis, getting the start yesterday against the Brew Crew. Even though the Pirates lost the game yesterday, it was at no fault of Locke’s, who pitched very well, a welcoming sign for fans. Still, Pittsburgh fell to 3-11 against the N.L. division-leaders this season. After a strong 15-5 blowout victory on Friday night, the Bucs lost back to back games at home to lose a series once again to the Brewers.
The Pirates need to put together some victories, and what better way than to face the last place team in the division. The Cubs find themselves 10 games under .500, and while they do have some individual weapons, their inability to put it all together has been their downfall. Anthony Rizzo (.276 avg., 12 HR, 33 RBI), Starlin Castro (.269, 7 HR, 29 RBI), and Junior Lake (8 HR, 23 RBI) have led the offense this year, while Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija have been the top performers of the starting rotation.
For Pittsburgh, they need to get back to basics in this series. Too often as of late, the Pirates have beaten themselves with miscues and errors, to go along with an abundance of missed opportunities at the plate. Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez are showing signs of busting out offensively, as is Neil Walker, but they haven’t taken off to be that red-hot player that this team needs at this point.
Sitting three games under .500, 8 games back in the division, and 3.5 games back in the Wild Card, the Pirates need to make a move. We are already approaching the middle of June, and the last thing this team needs going forward is to be playing from behind. Although this is a matchup between the bottom two clubs in the division, this is still a huge series for the Pirates.
Chicago Cubs (25-35, 5th In N.L. Central) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (29-32, 4th In N.L. Central)
6/9 – Edwin Jackson (CHI) (4-5, 4.59 ERA, WHIP 1.46) vs. Charlie Morton (PIT) (2-7, 3.31 ERA, WHIP 1.28)
6/10 – Travis Wood (CHI) (5-5, 5.04 ERA, WHIP 1.41) vs. Francisco Liriano (PIT) (1-6, 4.54 ERA, WHIP 1.47)
6/11 – Jason Hammel (CHI) (6-3, 2.53 ERA, WHIP 0.88) vs. Brandon Cumpton (PIT) (1-2, 6.51 ERA, WHIP 1.55)
6/12 – Jeff Samardzija (CHI) (2-5, 2.54 ERA, WHIP 1.13) vs. Edinson Volquez (PIT) (3-5, 4.27 ERA, WHIP 1.17)
The Pirates will look to wrap up this home stand with a strong performance against the Cubs at PNC Park. For the latest recaps and reactions to each and every game, be sure to check back right here to Fans From The Stands!
Let’s Go Bucs!