Pitchers: Steven Brault (0-1, 3.60) will open the Cubbie set against Jake Arrieta (16-5, 2.62). Brault is making his third start, this one in place of Gerrit Cole. Steven has showed some control/pitch count issues (5 BB in 10 IP and 188 pitches tossed) in the bigs. Also, for a soft contact, sinker-ball guy, his 12/20 GB-to-FB ratio needs flipped as it suggests too many elevated pitches. But for all that, he's been at least workmanlike in his outings. He hasn't been very sharp since returning to Indy, but that's common of demoted guys; look no further than Josh Bell. Arrieta blanked the Padres for eight innings on Tuesday, and though he did have a rough spell around the ASG, in five of his last seven outings he's given up two or fewer runs. And he has the hoo-doo over the Bucs - he's 9-2/1.99 lifetime, 3-1/2.67 this year, so it's no easy joust for Mr. Brault. The good news is the Pirates chased Jake after six frames at PNC Park the last time he faced them, so he's not bulletproof.
|Steven Takes On Jake At Wrigley (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: Josh Harrison 2B, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, David Freese 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy SS, Brault P. Clint is sticking to the new normal against Jake.
Preview: The Cubs (82-47) were the first and still only MLB team to notch 80 victories this season, and their home field record of 45-19 (.703) sure helped. Against the Pirates, da Cubbies are 5-1 in Chi-town and 9-3 overall this year. In the last month, they've gone 23-7 to build a 14-1/2 game pad over Pittsburgh in the division. The Cubs are human, coming off a 5-4 road trip, but the Pirates have been outscored 38-18 in six Wrigley games, so there's still that voodoo that they do. But if the guys can sweep four games at Milwaukee, anything's possible...
- The Pirates have won eight straight road games.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs digs into what has turned Ivan Nova around. Seems like Uncle Ray didn't have to use pixie dust, but just stoked his confidence and aggressiveness up a notch, the winning formula used for JA Happ last year.
- @gbrowniepoints reported that Neal Huntington will have a scout watching Tim Tebow's workout Tuesday.
- Tyler Glasnow was taken off the DL and optioned him to Indy.