A pair of NL Central opponents close out their weekend series up in the Windy City. The Pittsburgh Pirates are on the road as they make the trip to face the Chicago Cubs Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game set. In the opening game of the series, it was the Cubs rolling to a 6-3 victory on Friday night to draw first blood in the series. The Cubs edged the Pirates on Saturday 4-3. The pitching matchup for the middle game of the set Saturday night saw Mitch Keller take the mound for the Pirates. He was scheduled to face off with the Cubs’ Tyler Chatwood. First pitch in the contest from Wrigley Field was scheduled to begin at 7:15 pm ET.
Pittsburgh Pirates Trying to Generate Some OffensePittsburgh was stymied the majority of the way Friday night as they suffered their second straight defeat. The Pirates entered Saturday tied for the basement in the NL Central with the Reds, three games behind the Cubs in the division race. Pittsburgh had seven hits in the game but five of those came in the final two innings, by which point they were already down 4-0. Colin Moran (run, RBI) was the only player with two hits in the game for the Pirates. Moran (his fourth) and Josh Bell (his first) each went deep in the ninth inning but the game was out of reach. Trevor Williams (0-2) took the loss on the mound as he threw 4.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
Steven Brault is expected to get the ball for his second start of the year for the Pirates in this contest. He has no record with a 0.00 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP, two walks and one strikeout on the season. Brault didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came Monday at home against the Brewers. He threw two innings, allowing no runs on one hit with two walks and one strikeout in a game that Pittsburgh eventually dropped 6-5 in 11 innings. Brault makes his 15th career appearance and sixth start against the Cubs in this contest. He is 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA, a 2.009 WHIP, 22 walks and 29 strikeouts over 38.1 innings of work against them. Brault is 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA, a 2.048 WHIP, 11 walks and 16 strikeouts over 21 innings in nine career appearances, three starts, at Wrigley Field.
Chicago Cubs Look to Maintain Strong StartChicago bounced back from a loss to close out their series with the Reds, thanks to a rainout Thursday, by besting the Pirates at home on Friday night. The Cubs enter Saturday leading the NL Central race by 1.5 games over the Brewers. Jason Heyward (two RBI), Jason Kipnis (run, RBI) and Ian Happ (run) each had two hits in the game for the Cubs. Kipnis hit his first homer as a Cub in the victory. Yu Darvish (1-1) bounced back from a rough first outing by tossing six sparkling innings in this one. He allowed no runs on two hits with a walk and seven strikeouts before giving way to the bullpen. On the other end of the spectrum, Craig Kimbrel struggled in the ninth, allowing a pair of solo homers, before closing things out.
Heyward with the 2-out, 2-run single 🤟 pic.twitter.com/Wo77C0uRdT— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) August 1, 2020
Jon Lester is on the mound for his second start of the year for the Cubs in this contest. He comes in with a 1-0 mark, a 0.00 ERA, one walk and one strikeout plus a hit batter on the season. Lester earned the win in his season debut, which came Monday on the road against the Reds. He threw five scoreless innings, allowing no hits with a walk and a strikeout in a game the Cubs hung on to win by an 8-7 count. Lester makes his 24th career start against the Pirates in this contest. He is 12-6 with a 3.18 ERA, a 1.389 WHIP, 44 walks and 111 strikeouts over 130.1 innings of work against them. Lester is 40-22 with a 3.49 ERA, a 1.247 WHIP, 148 walks and 497 strikeouts over 516.1 innings in 87 career starts at Wrigley Field.
The top trends for this contest according to Covers.com:
- Pirates are 0-4 in Brault's last 4 starts with 5 days of rest
- Pirates are 1-10 in Brault's last 11 starts vs. National League Central
- Pirates are 1-8 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Cubs are 27-5 in Lester's last 32 home starts vs. a team with a losing record
- Cubs are 5-1 in their last 6 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- Cubs are 48-12 in Lester's last 60 starts vs. a team with a losing record