Chicago Cubs (75-63 SU, 58-80 RL, 65-66-7 O/U) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (67-72 SU, 72-67 RL, 57-76-6 O/U)
When: 7:05 PM EDT, Thursday, September 7, 2017
Where: PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA
Lines: Chicago -138/ Pittsburgh +128
Major League Baseball action on Thursday evening and a pair of National League Central foes will square off as the Chicago Cubs battle it out with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA in the final game of their four-game series. Pitching Probables: Taking the hill for the Cubs will be Jon Lester (9-7, 4.46 ERA), while the Pirates will be sending out Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.50 ERA).
Cubs Having Troubles With The Pirates
The Chicago Cubs are trying to hold on to the lead in the division or even increase that lead, but they have run into a buzzsaw in Pittsburgh as they have lost the first two games in that series. They were crushed in game one by a score of 12-0 and then in game two they had a 3-2 lead after three innings and it stayed that way until the bottom of the 8th when the Buccos scored a couple of runs to take a 4-3 lead, which they held onto for the win. Carl Edwards Jr allowed those two runs to take the loss and he is now 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA on the year and it was his 4th blown save. He wasted a good start from Kyle Hendricks, who allowed just two ERs on five hits in t6.2 innings of work. THe Cubs are still 3.5 games ahead of the Brewers for first place in the Central and 4.0 games ahead of the Cards, but they cannot feel comfortable with those leads, especially the way they have been playing of late. The Cubs have gone 35-34 on the road and have scored 4.81 rpg and have allowed 4.13 rpg in those games. Jon Lester will toe the slab for the Cubs in this one and he has gone 9-7 with a 4.46 ERA in 27 starts on the year, including 1-1 with a 9.95 ERA in his last three starts and 4-4 with a 4.27 ERA in 11 starts on the road. Lester has gone 33-14 with a 2.95 ERA in 58 games (57 starts) in Sept/ Oct and he is 4-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 11 starts against the Pirates, including 2-2 with a 3.99 ERA in five starts at PNC Park.
The Cubs have been a good offensive team so far as they come in ranked 6th in the league in scoring, putting up 5.04 rpg, while also ranking 17th in hitting at .254 and 8th in homers with 197. On the mound, they have been solid so far as they come in ranked 10th in the league in ERA at 4.09, while also ranking 9th in WHIP at 1.29.
Pirates Rally For Late Win Over The Cubs
The Pittsburgh Pirates are not officially out of the playoff race, but they might as well be as they currently stand 7.5 games out of the 2nd wildcard slot in the National League and 8.0 games out of first place in the Central. Still, they are playing hard and just took the first two games of this series. In game one, they crushed the Cubs by a score of 12-0 and then On Tuesday night, they trailed by a score of 3-2 in the 8th inning, when they scored two runs to go ahead for good and then held on for the win. David Freese got the go ahead RBI single in the 8th. Steven Brault got the start and allowed three ERs on eight hits in five innings of work. Wade Leblanc pitched three shutout innings to get the win and is now 5-2 with a 4.68 ERA on the year. The Pirates have gone 39-32 at home and have averaged 4.06 rpg and have allowed 4.51 rpg in those games. Taking the hill for the Pirates will be Jameson Taillon and he has gone 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 21 starts on the year, including 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his last three starts and 3-3 with a 4.92 ERA in 12 starts here at home. Taillon has gone 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA in six starts in Sept/ Oct in his career and he is 5-5 with a 3.83 ERA in 23 career starts here at PNC Park, while against the Cubs he has gone 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA in four starts.
Pittsburgh has been a poor offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 27th in the league in scoring, putting up just 4.22 rpg, while also ranking 27th in hitting at .246 and 29th in homers with 136. On the mound, they have been decent so far as they come in ranked 13th in the league in ERA at 4.27, while also ranking 15th in WHIP at 1.37.
- 25-12 in their last 37 vs. a team with a losing record
- 23-5 in Lester’s last 28 starts vs. a team with a losing record
- 5-12 in their last 17 vs. a team with a winning record
- 1-5 in their last six games vs. a left-handed starter
The Cubs are leading their division, but they have been having a hard time here in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates have played well this season. Jon Lester has been a bust of late as he has a 9.95 ERA over his last three starts, but he has always pitched well late in the year as he is 33-14 with a 2.95 ERA in 58 games (57 starts) in Sept/ Oct in his career and he does have a 3.39 ERA in his career against the Pirates. Jameson Taillon has pitched well of late, but he does have a 4.92 ERA at home and will be taking on an angry Chicago offense this is very capable of doing damage against him. Chicago really needs this game and Jon Lester really needs to get back on track. I expect that to happen as the Cubs grab a much-needed win in this one.