Game Sixty-Five: Cubs (44-20) vs. Pirates (33-33)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: ABC-7, MLB Network – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jake Arrieta, RHP (10-1, 1.86/0.95/2.59) vs. Francisco Liriano, LHP (4-6, 4.92/1.59/5.53)
It’s Jake Arrieta Day as the Cubs open a six-game homestand with the first of three against the Pirates. The Cubs actually begin a stretch of 24 games in 24 days leading up to the All-Star break.
Joe Maddon’s team has a 9 ½ game lead in the NL Central, 10 in the loss column, over the second place Cardinals. And Mike Matheny’s team makes their first trip of the season to Wrigley on Monday. The Cubs have a 12-game lead, 13 in the loss column, over the reeling Pirates. The Bucs have not been the same since Francisco Cervelli landed on the DL (broken hamate bone in left hand, June 11) and are only .500 on the season. The Pirates are a good team and better than they’ve played of late. But remember, the Pirates do not think the Cubs are all the media makes them out to be. The Cubs are 5-1 in six games against the Pirates this season while outscoring them 38-13.
After today’s matchup of Jake Arrieta and Francisco Liriano, Jon Lester is scheduled to face lefty Jon Niese under the lights Saturday night (7:15pm CDT). The series concludes in primetime on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball with Kyle Hendricks taking on the Pirates’ electric right-hander Jameson Taillon.
Joe Maddon will run out a right-handed heavy lineup today with Liriano on the bump. The Cubs must make Liriano work and layoff his pitches. Early swings will only play into his strength. The deeper the count the better today, regardless of the outcome the first time through the lineup. Right-handers have a .824 OPS against Liriano this season with a .276/.375/.449 line and left-handers have only hit .220/.333/.407 against him with a .740 OPS.
The Pirates seemed to move on from Chris Coghlan sliding into Jung Ho Kang and ending his season early last year but with Coghlan back, Clint Hurdle has another excuse to have his pitchers throw at the Cubs. At least the Pirates aren’t leading baseball again in hit batsmen, just the fifth most this season.
The Cubs have a chance over the next three days to create even more distance between themselves and the Battlin’ Bucs.
Today all starts with Jake Arrieta …
Jake Arrieta had a really good outing in Hotlanta his last time out. Arrieta completed seven innings and gave up two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Arrieta pitched more to contact to limit his pitch count following his start against the Diamondbacks.
Arrieta is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 3.75 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. Arrieta has allowed five runs on 13 hits with three walks and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings. Arrieta is 3-1 in six starts at Wrigley this season with a 1.89 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Arrieta has allowed nine runs, eight earned, on 28 hits with 16 walks and 52 strikeouts in 38 innings.
Jake Arrieta must set the tone for the series this afternoon.
This afternoon is the third time this season Arrieta has faced the Pirates. Arrieta is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 0.60 WHIP. Arrieta beat the Bucs on May 3 at PNC (7-1 final score) and May 14 at Wrigley (8-2 final score). For his career, Jake Arrieta is 8-1 in 11 regular season starts against the Pirates with a 1.58 ERA and 0.78 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Jake Arrieta
- Andrew McCutchen: 11-for-33 with three doubles and four walks
- Gregory Polanco: 4-for-26
- Starling Marte: 4-for-24
- Matt Joyce: 7-for-17 with two doubles, one home run and two walks
- Josh Harrison: 1-for-16
- Jung Ho Kang: 2-for-13 with one walk
- John Jaso: 1-for-12 with two walks
- Jordy Mercer: 0-for-11
- David Freese: 0-for-3
- Erik Kratz: 1-for-3
- Sean Rodriguez: 1-for-3
- Francisco Liriano: 0-for-2
Francisco Liriano has really struggled since the last time he faced and lost to the Cubs on May 13. Liriano is coming off a loss to the Cardinals in which he gave up four runs, one earned, on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings. Liriano was shelled by the Angels and Rangers in back-to-back starts leading up to the game against the Cardinals.
After posting a 2-3 record in five starts in May with a 5.34 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, Liriano is 0-2 in his last two starts with a 6.75 ERA and 2.25 WHIP. Liriano has allowed 11 runs, seven earned, on 14 hits with seven walks and 10 strikeouts in his last 9 1/3 innings.
Francisco Liriano is 1-3 in six road starts with a 7.09 ERA and 1.76 WHIP. And he faces the Cubs for the second time on the season this afternoon.
The Cubs scored eight runs on nine hits with four walks in 4 2/3 innings against Liriano on May 13. Liriano took the loss in a game the Cubs won 9-4. For his career, Liriano is 5-3 in 12 starts against the Cubs with a 3.13 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. And at Wrigley, 4-2 in six starts with a 3.20 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Francisco Liriano
- Anthony Rizzo: 5-for-26 with one double, one home run and two walks
- Jason Heyward: 4-for-14 with five walks
- Ben Zobrist: 4-for-16 with one triple and two walks
- Dexter Fowler: 2-for-12 with four walks
- Kris Bryant: 4-for-9 with two doubles, one home run and one walk
- David Ross: 2-for-9 with one home run
- Addison Russell: 2-for-6 with one home run and two walks
- Javier Baez: 0-for-3
- Matt Szczur: 0-for-3
- Jake Arrieta: 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …