Game Sixty: Cubs (24-35) vs. Pirates (37-25)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 189/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Edwin Jackson (1-8, 6.29/1.67) vs. Jeff Locke (5-1, 2.45/1.19)
Weather permitting … The Cubs will try to end their five-game losing streak against the Pirates this afternoon behind Edwin Jackson. Not only have the Cubs struggled against the Pirates with only two wins in eight games but Dale Sveum’s team is just 6-18 versus the NL Central this season. Until the Cubs can figure out how to play better ball against teams in their division the losses will continue to mount.
The Cubs avoided the shutout in the ninth inning yesterday and ended a stretch of 17 1/3 innings without scoring a run … and it will not get any easier for the offense today.
Jeff Locke is on a roll and the hits should continue to be scarce this afternoon against the southpaw. Dale Sveum should use a balanced lineup today with the lefty Locke on the hill. Lefties are hitting .263/.328/.308 against Locke this season while right handers have managed only a .212/.300/.300 slash line.
While the Cubs have been taking their walks of late, they still rank last in baseball in free passes (138). But the offense is seeing pitches. The Cubs rank second in the NL and seventh in baseball averaging 3.89 pitches per plate appearance.
This afternoon all starts with Edwin Jackson.
The Cubs really need for Edwin Jackson to relax today and just pitch. According to Chris Bosio, Jackson started pressing at the beginning of the season in an attempt to perform up to his contract. Jackson has not been able to get on track and has continued to struggle mightily for the most part.
Edwin Jackson has never pitched to his ability but has never pitched as poorly as he has for this long of a stretch. Jackson is coming off a miserable outing against the D-Backs, one in which he gave up seven runs, five earned, on a season-high 12 hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Edwin Jackson has continued his struggles at Wrigley this season. Jackson is 0-5 in six starts in his home park with a 7.83 ERA and an unbelievably high 2.01 WHIP. And a solid outing at his home park this afternoon might just lead to him turning his season around.
This afternoon will be Jackson’s third start of the year against the Pirates. Jackson is winless against the Pirates in the first two starts with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Jackson completed only three innings in his last start against the Bucs after rain delayed the finale of the three-game series. For his career, Jackson is 4-2 in eight starts versus the Bucs with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Edwin Jackson
- Pedro Alvarez – 1-for-10
- Clint Barmes – 3-for-14
- Brandon Inge – 6-for-23 with three walks
- Garrett Jones – 3-for-14 with a home run and a walk
- Starling Marte – 2-for-5
- Russell Martin – 2-for-12 with a walk
- Andrew McCutchen – 6-for-15 with a double, two home runs and two walks
- Michael McKenry – 4-for-7 with two doubles
- Gaby Sanchez – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Travis Snider – 1-for-7 with a triple
- Jose Tabata – 0-for-6
- Neil Walker – 2-for-10 with a double and three walks
Jeff Locke has thrown the ball extremely well this season. Locke is coming off a no decision against the Braves in which he allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Locke put together four straight quality starts prior to his 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball against the Tigers. Locke has not allowed more than three earned runs in any start since April 18 and has pitched shutout ball in five of his 12 starts, including three of his last four.
Jeff Locke was 2-0 in the six starts leading up to his last outing in Atlanta with a 1.78 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP … and outside of Pittsburgh this season, Locke is 3-1 in six starts with a 1.96 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.
The Cubs face the very talented southpaw for the third time this afternoon. Jeff Locke does not have a record in two career starts against the Cubs (6.10 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP). Locke has started one of those games at Wrigley and allowed five runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jeff Locke
- Darwin Barney – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Welington Castillo – 0-for-1
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-5
- Scott Hairston – 1-for-2 with a double
- Anthony Rizzo – 3-for-6 with a double and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-6
- Luis Valbuena – 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …