Game One Hundred Forty-Eight: Cubs (63-84) vs. Pirates (85-62)
- Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184/844
- Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Scott Baker (0-0, 0.00/0.60/3.25) vs. Gerrit Cole (7-7, 3.48/1.16/3.18)
The Cubs will try to win two games in a row over the Pirates tonight behind Scott Baker. The Cubs are 3-2 in the first five games of the 11-game road trip and have passed their win total from a year ago. The Cubs won only nine games last September (9-19) and are 6-6 over the first 12 games this month. And while the big league team’s performance is nowhere near acceptable, this year’s club has won only eight fewer games than the team in 2011 (71-91) that had an Opening Day payroll that exceeded $134 million.
Scott Baker makes his next to the last start of the year tonight. The Cubs are interested in re-signing him for next season, but if he pitches the way he did the last time out over his next two outings, Baker’s price tag could “get beyond what the Cubs are willing to invest” according to a report from the Sun-Times. Baker told the Sun-Times, that he loves Chicago and the “organization as a whole” but “we’ll have to see because there are a lot of moving parts right now.” Baker added that what the Cubs invested in him this year will not hurt his decision “but it is hard to tell” because of what the free-agent market could dictate.
Look for Dale Sveum to load his lineup with lefties again tonight. Gerrit Cole has been very, very good for the Pirates but lefties are hitting .271/.314/.317 against him while right handers have managed a .245/.327/.288 slash line.
Tonight it all starts with Scott Baker …
Scott Baker makes his second start of the season tonight in search of his first victory. Baker pitched five innings of shutout ball his last time out and gave up just two hits with a walk to the Brewers. Baker had good command and velocity in his first action on a big league mound in nearly two years. Baker will try to follow-up his solid debut against a Pirates team that can struggle to score runs.
Scott Baker faces the Pirates for the first time in his career tonight.
Pirates Career Numbers against Scott Baker
- John Buck – 3-for-16 with a double and two walks
- Marlon Byrd – 3-for-13 with a double
- Travis Snider – 1-for-4 with a double and two walks
- Felix Pie – 1-for-5 with a double
- Clint Barmes – 0-for-2
- Russell Martin – 1-for-2
While a majority of the Pirates roster will get their first look at Scott Baker, the Cubs will have the pleasure of facing Gerrit Cole for the first time.
The top pitching prospect in the Pirates’ system is off to a good start to his big league career. Cole is coming off a dominating performance against Yu Darvish and the Rangers in Texas. Cole tossed seven innings of shutout ball while allowing only three hits. Cole struck out nine batters and walked only two. Cole picked up the victory in the biggest game for the Pirates in the last 20-plus years.
Gerrit Cole struggled in August to the tune of a 1-3 mark in five starts with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. But Cole has stepped it back up his last two times out. Cole is 1-0 in his last two outings with a 1.38 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. Over his last 13 innings, Cole has given up eight hits with three walks and 14 strikeouts.
No one on the Cubs’ roster has faced Gerrit Cole in a big league game.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …