The Pirates comes to town looking very much like the 2011 version of the club that collapsed down the stretch and finished with a below five hundred record yet again, and nothing like the surging contender earlier in the year. The Pirates sit just two games over five hundred now and are losers of six straight games, three of those against the Cubs in Pittsburgh last week. The Cubs on the other hand are playing solid baseball, winning five out of their last six games, all on the road which is really saying something given how bad they have been away from Wrigley this year. Solid starting pitching and the long ball have paced the Cubs in September as they have ten home runs, 5th most in the National League this month. No one has contributed more to that total than Alfonso Soriano as he has five home runs in just 12 games this month. After being pulled in the third inning two nights ago, and missing yesterday’s game it sounds like Anthony Rizzo will be back in the Cubs lineup tomorrow, that collision could have been much worse.
Here are the pitching matchups for the four game series.
Season Series: Series Tied 6-6
Prediction: Cubs win series 3-1
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The Cubs are getting used to this whole spoiler thing as they are coming off series wins against the second place (Pirates) and third place (Cardinals) teams in the Central. The Pirates come to town to kick off the week and they are seeking some revenge as the Cubs took two out of three at PNC park last week. Not many teams can say that as the Pirates boast the best home record in baseball, on the road they are average, hovering right around .500 on the season. It will be very interesting to see how this series plays out as it starts before the trade deadline and ends after it. Both teams might look very different come Wednesday. Let’s take an in-depth look at this series, hope you enjoy the new format.
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Oh how a weekend changes the feeling around a ball club. Coming into last weekend the Cubs were the hottest team in baseball, they are now licking their wounds on their way to Pittsburgh. The Cubs and Pirates open a three game series tonight, and the Pirate have been red-hot as they sit half a game out of first in the Central behind the Reds. The Pirates are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are an insane 32-14 at PNC Park, the best home record in all of baseball. The Cubs need to find some offense in this series as they were shut out the last two games in St. Louis against the Cardinals. The Cubs won’t have it much easier at the plate in this series as the Pirates have the 5th best ERA in the National League. Offensively the Pirates are 10th in the National League in runs scored, doesn’t seem good, but when the Cubs last faced the Pirates they were dead last, they are raking. Andrew McCutchen leads the charge for the Pirates as he is hovering around the triple crown right now, if the Cubs want to win this series they will need to find a way to shut down one of the games best. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Normally I would preview this series as the Cubs taking on a lesser opponent in the Pirates, only because that’s how it’s been forever, unfortunately the shoe is on the other foot right now. The Cubs are the worst team in baseball, and that’s just by looking at their record, sure the Pirates haven’t been good either, but the Cubs are a low scoring soccer team right now, that’s not a compliment, and I hate soccer so that’s hard for me to say. The Cubs offense wasn’t very good in the early part of the season, but it has reached a new level of bad during this nine game losing streak. If the Cubs are going to get out of this slide they need to explode, I’m talking 6-9 runs in one game… I know, crazy. Maybe if they do that the pressure will be off and they can all relax, until then they will continue to squeeze the saw dust out of the bat and lose. It won’t be easy because one, it never is with this team, and two, the Pirates boast the 3rd best team ERA in the National League. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.