July 23 – 25, 2012; @ Pirates – Series Preview

Pittsburgh Pirates Logo - Pirates arched in black with a gold outline

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.

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July 13 – 15, 2012; vs. Diamondbacks – Series Preview

 Arizona Diamondbacks Logo - Turquoise, purple and copper A above Diamond Backs in purple and copper

Finally Cubs baseball is back on Friday, and with the way the Cubs have been playing that is actually a good thing.  The Cubs are red-hot, winning nine of their last fourteen games which has moved them out of last place in the Central Division.  The Diamondbacks have taken a step back this season after being one of the surprise teams last year.  Sub par years from Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy have contributed to that fall from the top of the West.  Mediocre is a word that should be used in describing the D-Backs season to this point, they are 6th in runs scored, and 10th in ERA in the National League respectively.  The Cubs still sit near the bottom of the league in both runs scored and ERA but this has been a different team since Anthony Rizzo got the call near the end of June.  In order for the Cubs to be successful this weekend they are going to have to get a lead early against the D-Backs starters as they rank near the bottom of the NL, 14th to be exact, in starter ERA with a 4.26.  While the pen for Arizona is 6th best in the National League, full preview/breakdown after the jump.

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