Game Eighty-Four: Cubs (36-47) vs. Pirates (52-31)
- Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 186/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jeff Samardzija (5-7, 3.34/1.20) vs. Francisco Liriano (7-3, 2.23/1.29)
The Cubs open a three-game series this afternoon against the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs will wrap up the first half within the Chicago City limits. Nine of the Cubs last 10 games before the break are at Wrigley with the only road game being on the South Side at The Cell on Monday for the makeup of the game that was rained out on May 28.
This afternoon is also the first of four 3:05 Friday start times for the Cubs this season. Under the new night game ordinance with the city, the Cubs could change four Friday start times this season. Beginning next year, the Cubs will be able to schedule up to six 3:05pm Friday start times.
The Cubs have played better ball of late. The Cubs won five of nine on the recently completed road trip and finished with a 10-9 record over their last 19 games.
The Cubs enter play today 25-22 against the teams outside of the central and just 11-25 versus their division rivals. The Cubs have won three of the first nine with the Pirates this season.
After this afternoon’s matchup of Jeff Samardzija and Francisco Liriano, Edwin Jackson is scheduled to face Charlie Morton on Saturday afternoon with Carlos Villanueva wrapping up the series on Sunday against a yet to be determined Pirates’ hurler.
Dale Sveum will run out his right-handed lineup this afternoon with Francisco Liriano on the hill. Scott Hairston has not played in a game since June 23 (nine games) and has not started since June 21 while Cody Ransom is expected at third base after starting and playing in only one game since June 21. Ransom filled in for Starlin Castro during the opener in Milwaukee.
The Cubs have not updated Brian Bogusevic’s status after he left Thursday’s game in the fourth inning with tightness in his left hamstring.
This afternoon all starts with Jeff Samardzija …
Jeff Samardzija was in line for the victory last Saturday in Seattle. Samardzija threw the ball well and allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in seven innings. Samardzija struggled a little early before settling down and leaving with the lead. Well, the bullpen could not hold the lead but Alfonso Soriano and Nate Schierholtz delivered a win in the 11th.
Samardzija finished last month on a positive note after struggling early in June. For some reason, Samardzija has not pitched well throughout his career in June (4-8 in 25 games, 11 starts, with a 5.94 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP), recognized the issue after his start against the Reds and finished the month with a 2-1 record in six starts with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.
The Cubs are 4-0 in Samardzija’s last four starts and Samardzija has not lost a game since he faced the Pirates at Wrigley on June 8.
Samardzija is 2-2 in eight starts at Wrigley this season with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP and faces the Pirates for the fourth time this season today. Samardzija had a lot of success with the Bucs throughout his career until his last outing against Pittsburgh. The Pirates knocked Samardzija around for four innings. Samardzija allowed four runs on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in six innings.
Jeff Samardzija is 4-2 in 16 career appearances, five starts, against the Pirates with a 1.56 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP … this season, 1-2 in three starts with a 2.14 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP (13 hits, three walks and 24 strikeouts in 21 innings)
Pirates Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Pedro Alvarez – 4-for-16 with a double and a home run
- Clint Barmes – 0-for-11
- Garrett Jones – 3-for-16 with two doubles and a walk
- Francisco Liriano – 0-for-2
- Starling Marte – 2-for-12 with a walk
- Russell Martin – 1-for-9 with a walk
- Andrew McCutchen – 7-for-19 with three doubles and two walks
- Michael McKenry – 0-for-3
- Jody Mercer – 0-for-3
- Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-10
- Travis Snider – 1-for-7
- Jose Tabata – 1-for-3
- Neil Walker – 3-for-16 with a home run and two walks
Many did not like the signing of Francisco Liriano after the Pirates inked him in the off-season. But Liriano is one of the many reasons Pittsburgh is in first place and owns the best record in the Senior Circuit. Liriano is pitching like it is 2006 and is coming off back-to-back wins.
Francisco Liriano held the Angels to one run on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings back on June 22 then limited the Brewers to one run on seven hits in six innings his last time out. Liriano is 4-2 in his last six starts with a 2.15 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP … and in five road starts, Liriano is 3-2 with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.
Two of Liriano’s seven wins this season have come at the Cubs’ expense. Liriano has not allowed a run to the Cubs over two starts (14 innings) and has surrendered just four hits while walking four and striking out 17 (0.00 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP).
Cubs Career Numbers against Francisco Liriano
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-8 with a walk
- Julio Borbon – 0-for-7
- Welington Castillo – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-8 with a double and a walk
- Scott Hairston – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Dioner Navarro – 0-for-3
- Cody Ransom – 2-for-8 with two walks
- Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Jeff Samardzija – 0-for-1
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-8 with a double and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …