Game One Hundred Fifty-Four: Cubs (89-64) vs. Pirates (94-60)
- Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: FOX – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Hammel (9-6, 3.79/1.15/3.72) vs. Francisco Liriano (11-7, 3.41/1.21/3.23)
The playoff bound Cubs have work to do. And Joe Maddon gives the ball to Jason Hammel today to put an end to the two-game skid. The Cubs have nine games, counting today, remaining on the schedule and can still catch the Pirates for the top NL Wild Card. The Cubs are 4 ½ games back of the Bucs and must win the next two games to have a chance at hosting the Wild Card Game.
The Cubs could use pre-injury Jason Hammel to show up today. The Cubs have questions beyond Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in the rotation if the team is able to play in a post-season series. Hammel has shown signs of getting back on track over the last six weeks. If Hammel struggles early it could end up being an unplanned bullpen day for the Cubs this afternoon.
With the lefty Francisco Liriano on the hill, Joe Maddon should run out a right-handed heavy lineup that includes David Ross. Right-handers have hit .230/.304/.308 against Liriano this season while left-handers have managed only a .199/.289/.258 slash line.
Today all starts with Jason Hammel …
Jason Hammel picked up a win Monday against the Brewers. Hammel allowed four runs on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts in five innings. Hammel served up a game-tying two-run homer to Adam Lind in the fifth before the Cubs took the lead for good in the home half. Hammel had command issues again which caused his pitch count to elevate to the point he would not have gone back out for the sixth inning.
Joe Maddon thinks the Cubs found something in Hammel’s mechanics that could be tweaked to help him moving forward. The Cubs and Hammel say he is healthy, but he has not been effective outside of a couple of starts since July 8. Hammel has allowed 37 runs, 35 earned, on 66 hits (5.43 ERA, 1.52 WHIP) with 22 walks and 60 strikeouts in 12 starts (58 innings) since leaving the game on July 8 with what was reported as a hamstring injury.
Hammel is 2-0 in his last four starts with a 6.41 ERA and 1.47 WHIP (15 runs, 14 earned, on 21 hits with eight walks and 21 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings). Hammel takes on the Pirates for the fourth time this season today.
In three starts versus the Bucs this year, Jason Hammel is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. With a fully rested pen, if Hammel struggles today like he did in Pittsburgh on Sept. 15 (four runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings) look for Maddon to have a quick hook.
Pirates Numbers against Jason Hammel in 2015
- Neil Walker: 3-for-8 with one double
- Andrew McCutchen: 2-for-8
- Pedro Alvarez: 1-for-5 with one walk
- Josh Harrison: 0-for-7
- Gregory Polanco: 2-for-5 with one double, one home run and one walk
- Francisco Cervelli: 2-for-5 with one double
- Starling Marte: 1-for-4
- Jordy Mercer: 0-for-5
- Aramis Ramirez: 1-for-2 with one home run and one walk
- Chris Stewart: 1-for-3
- Travis Snider: 1-for-1 with one walk
Francisco Liriano outpitched Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium a week ago and appears to be back on track after a rather rough stretch. Liriano allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and nine strikeouts to the Dodgers in seven innings.
Over his last four outings, Liriano is 2-1 with a 4.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. Liriano has allowed 11 runs, 10 earned, on 22 hits with 10 walks and 27 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings. After a very good first half, Liriano is 6-1 in his last 11 starts with a 4.25 ERA and 1.57 WHIP.
Liriano makes his second start of the season against the Cubs this afternoon. Liriano received a no decision at PNC back on April 21. The Cubs beat the Pirates 9-8 and Liriano allowed three runs on three hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in five innings.
Since landing in Pittsburgh, Liriano has really owned the Cubs. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 career starts against the Cubs with a 2.56 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. At Wrigley, Francisco Liriano is 3-1 in four starts with a 2.00 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Francisco Liriano
- Austin Jackson: 5-for-20 with two doubles
- Starlin Castro: 3-for-22 with two doubles and three walks
- Anthony Rizzo: 4-for-20 with one home run and two walks
- Chris Denorfia: 2-for-9 with one double and three walks
- Dexter Fowler: 1-for-5 with four walks
- Jorge Soler: 1-for-6
- Javier Baez: 0-for-3
- Kris Bryant: 1-for-3 with one double
- David Ross: 0-for-3
- Quintin Berry: 1-for-2
- Addison Russell: 0-for-2
- Matt Szczur: 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …