Pitchers: Francisco Liriano (4-6, 4.92) tackles Jake Arrieta (10-1, 1.86). Frankie got an extra day off to work on slowing down so he can quit flying open and sync his delivery. Liriano is 5-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 12 career starts vs. the Cubs, so he's generally OK against the Bruins, although they battered him for eight runs in 4-2/3 frames in his earlier visit to Wrigley. Jake is Jake and absolute kyptonite to the Pirates. He's already beaten the Buccos twice in May and is 8-1, 1.58 in 11 career starts against Pittsburgh, going 5-1, 0.88 in his last seven regular-season outings.
|Frankie is looking to tighten up his mechanics (photo USA Today)|
Lineup: JJ 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese 3B, Matt Joyce LF, Josh 2B, Jordy SS, Stew C, Frankie P. Stews back, but Starling still has some swelling; we're not sure if he's available today or not.
Preview: The Pirates have lost 7-of-8 to drop to .500 on the season. Not only does that put the team a mile behind the Cubs, but they're also 3-1/2 games out of the second wild card spot, and that's the gap they really need to close. The Cubs aren't exactly waltzing, having dropped 2-of-3 to the Nats and posting a 5-5 mark in their last 10 games, but with the series pitching match ups and season trend - The Cubs are 5-1 this year against the Pirates - this Wrigley visit will be a challenge.
- The Pirates' 2015 first-round pick, IF Kevin Newman, has been promoted to Altoona after batting .366 at Bradenton. And if you're in the Curves' neighborhood, tonight is El Coffee bobblehead giveaway.
- Newman, 1B Josh Bell & P Yeudy Garcia all landed spots in this weeks Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
- Draft Updates: Per Jonathan Mayo, the Pirates signed second round pick Travis McGregor, a prep righty out of Florida, for a $900K bonus (slot value $948,900). Jim Callis tweeted that Pittsburgh's third round selection, Tulane SS Stephen Alemais, signed for $500K (slot value $568,400). That leaves just sandwich pick Nick Lodolo, a Texas HS hurler, and fourth round pick Braeden Ogle, a southpaw prep pitcher from Florida, unsigned from the top ten rounds. Those in the fold have signed for slot value or less, which leaves the FO some extra cash to burn on on their third day overdrafts.