Game Twelve: Cubs (6-5) vs. Pirates (6-6)
- Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
- Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Jake Arrieta (1-1, 1.98/1.02/2.11) vs. A.J. Burnett (0-1, 2.25/1.17/2.33)
Weather permitting … The Cubs open a seven-game, two-city road trip tonight in Pittsburgh with the first of four against the Pirates. The trip ends Sunday in Cincinnati with the last of three versus the Reds.
The Cubs begin a very difficult and important stretch today. The Cubs next 20 games are against teams in the NL Central. Maddon’s men do not play a game outside of the division until May 11.
The Cubs have been the doormat in the NL Central dating back to the 2010 season (35-45 in 2010, 34-46 in 2011, 31-50 in 2012, 25-51 in 2013, 33-43 in 2014). In order to reach their goals this year, the Cubs must start beating teams within their own division.
Over the last three seasons, the Pirates have owned the Cubs. Since the start of the 2012 season, the Cubs are 20-48 against the Pirates after winning just five of the 19 games (5-14) a year ago.
After dealing with the Padres staff, the offense will not get a break over the next four days in Pittsburgh. Jake Arrieta faces A.J. Burnett tonight and Travis Wood is scheduled to square off against lefty Francisco Liriano on Tuesday night. Jason Hammel and Vance Worley are slated for Wednesday night with Kyle Hendricks and lefty Jeff Locke expected to start the last of four on Thursday morning.
With the bullpen in need of a break, Joe Maddon could use a long, effective outing from Jake Arrieta tonight. And Maddon should run out a balanced lineup with A.J. Burnett on the hill. Lefties (.248/.336/.332) have hit about the same as right handers (.239/.311/.338) over the course of Burnett’s career.
Jake Arrieta makes his 100th big league start today and he’s seven strikeouts short of 500 for his career.
Tonight all starts with Jake Arrieta …
Jake Arrieta makes his third start of the season tonight. Arrieta is coming off a loss to the Reds in which one bad inning cost him and his team a game. Arrieta gave up three runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Arrieta tossed seven innings of shutout ball against the Cardinals in the second game of the season and has two quality starts under his belt in two outings this year.
Over 13 2/3 innings this season in two starts, Arrieta has allowed three runs on 10 hits with four walks and 12 strikeouts.
Jake Arrieta’s road numbers from a year ago are a little skewed. Two of his worst outings of the season came in Cincinnati and Denver. Take those two starts out of the mix and his entire year looks a lot better. In 13 starts outside of Wrigley, Jake Arrieta was 4-4 with a 3.64 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Jake Arrieta did not face the Pirates last season. Arrieta is 3-0 in four career starts versus the Bucs with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. At PNC Park, Arrieta is 1-0 in two starts with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Jake Arrieta
- Andrew McCutchen: 4-for-11 with one double and one walk
- Neil Walker: 1-for-12
- Pedro Alvarez: 1-for-8 with one home run
- Josh Harrison: 0-for-3
- Starling Marte: 2-for-2
- Tony Sanchez: 0-for-3
- Francisco Cervelli: 0-for-1
- Andrew Lambo: 0-for-1
A.J. Burnett is back to being A.J. Burnett, at least after his first two starts of the season. Burnett really struggled with the Phillies (8-18 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP in 34 starts) and decided to take less money so he could re-sign with Pirates. Burnett says this is his last year and he wanted to go out pitching in the Pirates rotation.
Burnett has allowed three runs on 11 hits with three walks and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings (two starts) this season. Burnett is coming off a loss to the Tigers. Burnett gave up one run on seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
A.J. Burnett has kept the Cubs in check over this course of his career. Burnett is 7-4 in 13 starts with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Burnett faced the Cubs twice last year. Burnett was 0-2 with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against A.J. Burnett
- Starlin Castro: 13-for-29 with three doubles
- Anthony Rizzo: 5-for-21 with two home runs and three walks
- Welington Castillo: 2-for-7 with two doubles and one walk
- Jonathan Herrera: 4-for-4 with two walks
- Miguel Montero: 3-for-5 with one double
- Travis Wood: 1-for-6
- Dexter Fowler: 2-for-3 with one walk
- Chris Coghlan: 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …