Game Forty-Five: Cubs (18-26) vs. Pirates (27-18)
- Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184/844
- Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Jeff Samardzija (2-5, 3.49/1.20) vs. Francisco Liriano (2-0, 1.64/1.55)
Weather permitting … The Cubs will shoot to put back-to-back tough losses in the rearview mirror tonight behind Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs lost another one run game on Tuesday in which a starter turned in a very good outing but the offense was not able to capitalize and the bullpen gave the game away. The Cubs have played 17 games decided by one run this season and own a 6-11 record in those games with 10 blown saves. It is very easy to see how, based on the numbers, the Cubs should be a .500 team … not a team that begins play tonight eight games under and tied for last place with the Brewers in the central.
The Cubs have to make Francisco Liriano work tonight. As Bruce Miles pointed out, the Cubs are not exactly taking their walks but if the lineup can resist the urge to swing early and often, Liriano will give them plenty of chances to put runs on the board.
The Cubs are 13-13 in the last 26 games and tonight it all starts with Jeff Samardzija …
Jeff Samardzija is coming off his best start of the season since his eight-shutout innings against the Pirates on Opening Day. After a rough start, Samardzija settled down and gave up just two runs on five hits in eight innings to the high-powered Rockies’ offense. Samardzija completed eight innings for the second time this season and struck out seven batters while walking only two … his best strikeout to walk ratio since his start in Atlanta on April 7. Samardzija is 1-1 in his last three starts with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
Jeff Samardzija makes his second start of the season against the Bucs tonight. Samardzija pitched a gem against the Pirates on Opening Day. Samardzija tossed eight innings of shutout ball while allowing two hits, one walk and nine strikeouts. For his career, Samardzija is 4-0 in 14 games, three starts, against the Pirates with a 0.92 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP … at PNC, 4-0 in eight games, three starts, with a 0.60 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Pedro Alvarez – 2-for-10 with a double
- Clint Barmes – 0-for-9
- Garrett Jones – 1-for-11 with a double and a walk
- Starling Marte – 0-for-6 with a walk
- Russell Martin – 1-for-4
- Andrew McCutchen – 4-for-13 with a double and two walks
- Michael McKenry – 0-for-3
- Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-10
- Travis Snider – 0-for-1
- Jose Tabata – 1-for-3
- Neil Walker – 2-for-10 with a home run and two walks
The Cubs will get their first look at Francisco Liriano in a Pirates uniform. Liriano is making his third start of the season and is coming off a win over the Brewers. Liriano gave up one run on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Liriano has not completed six innings in his first two starts and the key to beating Liriano is patience.
The Cubs must make Liriano work tonight. He will get himself in trouble if the Cubs allow him to do so. Liriano has walked five batters in 11 innings while surrendering 12 hits.
Francisco Liriano makes his second career start against the Cubs tonight. Dale Sveum’s team beat him last year in Minneapolis. The Cubs scored four runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings (6.35 ERA, 1.24 WHIP).
Cubs Career Numbers against Francisco Liriano
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-2
- Julio Borbon – 0-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-3 with a double
- David DeJesus – 2-for-15 with a walk
- Dioner Navarro – 0-for-3
- Cody Ransom – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
- Ryan Sweeney – 0-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …