Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (2-2, 2.78) and Jason Hammel (3-0, 0.75) bump heads in what should be a dandy. The Cole Train has been a little sharper each outing, and had success against the Cubs last year. In four 2015 starts, he went 2-1/2.13. Through four starts this season, Hammel, usually quick out of the box, has struck out 22 hitters in 24 innings and has one of the top ERAs in the league. But the Pirates lined up well against him last year, when his Pittsburgh slash was 1-2/4.35.
|The Cole Train opens the Cubby series (photo Charles LeClair/USA Today)|
Lineup: Same ol' gang to greet the Cubbies - John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy SS, Cole P. Fran and the Freeser are back from maintenance days; the A-Team is back in action.
Just the first of many big series over the course of the season. The Cubs are rolling, as are the Bucs. The league's top offenses about cancel one another out, but so far Chi-town has a decided pitching edge, with a team 2.39 ERA to the Pirates 4.10. All three of the Cubby's starters this series have sub-two ERAs (a rainout allowed them to line up their best trio for the series). So the Pirates, who pride themselves on grinding it out, will have to be at their persevering best during this set. Last year, Chicago took 11 of 19 games of the series; the Bucs would love to reverse that figure this campaign.
- Mark Simon of ESPN features Fran Cervelli and his pitch framing advantage.
- Indy's Tyler Glasnow was named the International League's Pitcher of the Week. He went 2-0 in 11 scoreless innings giving up four hits while striking out 18 batters.
- The minor league pitching has been scary good. Lefty Brandon Waddell, drafted out of UVa, has been promoted to AA after posting an 0.93 ERA at High A Bradenton. Rumbunter's Nicholas Caporoso has his profile.
- The Dodgers signed OF Antoan Richardson, recently released by the Bucs.