The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to ride the .500 line for the better part of a week or so, but if they are going to make a serious push towards a division title, they’ll need to start taking care of business more consistently. They narrowly avoided a series sweep at the hand of the Cincinnati Reds, using a Russell Martin walk-off walk RBI in the bottom of the 12th inning to snap a three game losing streak. Now, the Bucs head back out on the road for a six game road trip, starting with three this weekend against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates have had success against the Cubs this season, while they have struggled against the rest of the division. Anthony Rizzo (.278 avg., 14 HR, 38 RBI) and Starlin Castro (.291 avg., 10 HR, 40 RBI) lead the offense, while Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija are the top performers on the pitching staff this year. The Cubs have been a thorn in the side for a lot of teams this year despite a 30-40 record, but the Pirates have handled them fairly well so far.
Andrew McCutchen continues to surge, hitting .317 with 11 HR and 42 RBI. Neil Walker is due to come off the DL soon, as is Gerrit Cole, so things are beginning to look up for this team moving forward. However, a fast-rising concern for Clint Hurdle & Co. is the struggling bullpen, led by Jason Grilli. Time and time again, the offense and starting pitching has put the Bucs in a position to win the game, but the bullpen, especially Grilli, has given up the lead. For a team like the Pirates to be successful, they can’t squander leads. Hopefully this can get corrected sooner rather than later this weekend.
Pittsburgh Pirates (35-37, 4th In N.L. Central) vs. Chicago Cubs (30-40, 5th In N.L. Central)
6/20 – Charlie Morton (PIT) (4-7, 3.09 ERA, WHIP 1.24) vs. Edwin Jackson (CHI) (4-7, 5.11 ERA, WHIP 1.50)
6/21 – Vance Worley (PIT) (0-0, 0.00 ERA, WHIP 0.71) vs. Travis Wood (CHI) (7-5, 4.48 ERA, WHIP 1.36)
6/22 – Brandon Cumpton (PIT) (2-2, 5.82 ERA, WHIP 1.53) vs. Jason Hammel (CHI) (6-4, 3.02 ERA, WHIP 1.02)
The Pirates will look to continue their success against the Cubs this season in their three game series at Wrigley Field this weekend. Be sure to check back here throughout the weekend for the latest recaps and reactions to all three games in Chicago from us, the Fans From The Stands!
Let’s Go Bucs!