Game Eighty-Eight: Cubs (52-35) vs. Pirates (46-42)
- Game Time – 12:35pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 89, 844
- Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
John Lackey, RHP (7-5, 3.50/1.08/3.66) vs. Jon Niese, LHP (7-6, 4.87/1.53/5.44)
Joe Maddon turns to John Lackey this afternoon in the last game before the much-needed All-Star break. The Cubs would never say today is a must win but the two-game difference in the standings and ending the ‘first half’ with a victory should have Maddon managing the game with a little more sense of urgency than he has this season.
The Cubs look to salvage the finale of the three-game series with the Pirates. And Maddon is running out a right-handed heavy lineup with the lefty Jon Niese on the hill today.
Cubs batting order: Ben Zobrist 2B, Kris Bryant LF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Willson Contreras C, Addison Russell SS, Jason Heyward RF, Javier Baez 3B, Albert Almora Jr. CF, John Lackey P
For those that appreciate the history of the game, the Pirates will be in their ‘We Are Family’ Era throwback uniforms this afternoon.
Today all starts with John Lackey …
John Lackey has given up a lot of runs in two of his last three starts. Lackey could use a good outing today … and his teammates could also use a good outing from Lackey.
The Marlins pounded him on June 25 in Miami to the tune of seven runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. The Reds took it to Lackey five days ago. Lackey gave up six runs on six hits with a season-high five walks in six innings in what was sloppy, embarrassing 9-5 loss.
A pitcher’s win-loss record is meaningless. The Cubs are 0-4 the last four times Lackey’s gotten the ball. And that streak must come to an end today.
John Lackey is 1-2 in five career starts against the Pirates with a 3.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. And at PNC Park, Lackey is 1-1 in three career starts with a 3.20 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Lackey faces the Mighty Bucs for the first time on the season today.
Pirates Career Numbers against John Lackey
- Matt Joyce: 10-for-27 with two home runs and four walks
- John Jaso: 6-for-18 with one home run and one walk
- Starling Marte: 3-for-12 with one double and one walk
- Andrew McCutchen: 3-for-12 with one walk
- Jordy Mercer: 2-for-11 with one walk
- Gregory Polanco: 6-for-10 with two walks
- Sean Rodriguez: 2-for-7
- David Freese: 0-for-6 with one walk
- Josh Harrison: 2-for-6 with one double
- Erik Kratz: 2-for-4 with one double, one home run and one walk
- Eric Fryer: 0-for-3
- Jung Ho Kang: 0-for-2
The Cubs get another shot at lefty Jon Niese this afternoon. The Cubs beat the veteran lefty back on June 18 at Wrigley. The Cubs scored four runs on six hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. Niese struck out five. The Cubs made him work, put up runs and held on to beat the Pirates 4-3.
The Cubs cannot allow Niese to get comfortable today, or play with a lead.
Niese is coming off a win against the Cardinals. Niese limited the Redbirds to one run on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Niese issued only one walk and struck out three.
Jon Niese is 3-3 in eight starts at PNC Park this season with a 4.84 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Niese makes his third start of the season against the Cubs today.
Jon Niese is 0-2 in two starts against the Cubs this year with an 8.71 ERA and 2.32 WHIP. The Cubs have scored 10 runs on 15 hits with nine walks in 10 1/3 innings. Niese has eight strikeouts in two meetings with the Cubs.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jon Niese
- Jason Heyward: 9-for-31 with two doubles, two home runs and two walks
- Anthony Rizzo: 5-for-23 with one home run and two walks
- Kris Bryant: 5-for-10 with one home run and two walks
- Addison Russell: 0-for-9 with three walks
- Javier Baez: 2-for-9 with one double
- Ben Zobrist: 2-for-8 with one double and one walk
- Miguel Montero: 0-for-6
- Matt Szczur: 3-for-6 with two doubles
- Tommy La Stella: 0-for-3
- Albert Almora Jr.: 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …