Game Twenty-Five: Cubs (18-6) vs. Pirates (15-11)
- Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WPWR, MLB Network – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 89, 844
- Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Jake Arrieta (5-0, 1.00/0.77/2.85) vs. Jon Niese (3-0, 5.08/1.48/5.79)
The Cubs turn to Jake Arrieta and look to secure a series win in Pittsburgh.
The crowd at PNC will be all over Arrieta tonight trying to rattle him. And the Pirates will also explore every avenue to get him out of his game. The Cubs have moved on from Ben Zobrist getting plunked Monday night. The question remains, how far will Clint Hurdle push it tonight and for the rest of the season?
Joe Maddon should run out a right-handed lineup with lefty Jon Niese on the hill. Right-handers have hit .304/.354/.587 against Niese with a .940 OPS while left-handers have put together a .238/.333/.524 line with a .857 OPS off him.
Tim Federowicz is expected behind the plate in Maddon’s starting lineup and not David Ross. With Jason Heyward only available off the bench and Matt Szczur likely out of action for at least tonight, it will be interesting to see if where Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler start the game.
Tonight all starts with Jake Arrieta …
Jake Arrieta was un-Arrieta like his last time out but was still pretty good for five innings against the Brewers. A laborious first inning ran up his pitch count and with a big lead, he was lifted after five complete. Arrieta allowed one run on three hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
If Arrieta pitches tonight the way he did against the Brewers, the Pirates will score a lot of runs.
In five starts this season, Arrieta has allowed four runs on 18 hits with 10 walks and 32 strikeouts in 36 innings.
Jake Arrieta will receive a warm reception tonight at PNC Park. Arrieta is 6-1 in nine career starts against the Pirates in the regular season with a 1.68 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Last season, Arrieta was 3-1 in five starts versus the Pirates with a 0.75 ERA and 0.64 WHIP. And in five career starts at PNC, Arrieta is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.88 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Jake Arrieta
- Andrew McCutchen: 10-for-27 with two doubles and three walks
- Starling Marte: 4-for-21
- Gregory Polanco: 3-for-20
- Francisco Cervelli: 3-for-16
- Matt Joyce: 7-for-14 with two doubles, one home run and two walks
- Josh Harrison: 1-for-13 with one double
- Jordy Mercer: 0-for-6
The Cubs get their first look at Jon Niese in a Pirates jersey. The Metropolitans and Pirates swapped Niese and Neil Walker in the off-season. Niese has been very effective over the years against the Cubs.
Niese is coming off a no-decision against the Rockies. Niese allowed five runs on 10 hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings.
Niese is 3-0 in five starts this season with a 5.08 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. At PNC Park this season, Niese is 1-0 in two starts with a 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.
For his career, Jon Niese is 3-6 in 10 starts versus the Cubs with a 4.76 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. A year ago in what turned out to be his last with the Mets, Niese was 0-2 in two starts against the Cubs with a 3.38 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Niese allowed seven runs, five earned, on 10 hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jon Niese
- Jason Heyward: 9-for-28 with two doubles, two home runs and two walks
- David Ross: 6-for-22 with one double, one triple, one home run and two walks
- Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-18 with one double and two walks
- Dexter Fowler: 5-for-18 with one home run and one walk
- Kris Bryant: 2-for-5 with one walk
- Addison Russell: 0-for-6
- Matt Szczur: 3-for-6 with two doubles
- Javier Baez: 1-for-3
- Tommy La Stella: 0-for-3
- Jorge Soler: 1-for-3
- Ben Zobrist: 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …