The Chicago Cubs (33-34 Overall, 13-19 Away) play the Pittsburgh Pirates (31-37 Overall, 19-17 Home) today at 1:35 p.m. E.T. to determine which takes the rubber game of their three-game series. Pittsburgh lost the first game on Friday 9-5 and then came back on Saturday to win 4-3. The Cubs are second in the NL Central, trailing the division-leading Minnesota Twins by 2.5 games. The Pirates are in fourth place in the division, sitting five games out of first. Chicago is 3-7 for its last 10, while Pittsburgh is 5-5. Our Chicago Cubs play Pittsburgh Pirates MLB preview and free pick has the Pirates at -106 and Cubs at -102.
Cubs right-hander John Lackey (4-7, 5.26 ERA) has has a rough time, as his last win came on May 16. Since that time, he’s has five starts and gone 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA. Lackey’s last outing was against the NY Mets on Monday where he lost 6-1, allowing four runs, which all came on homers.
He’s had a string of games where he’s given up gopher balls. In 75.1 innings this season, the righty has allowed 19 round trippers. That’s 2.27 homeruns for every nine innings. His career average is 0.98. In seven career starts versus Pittsburgh, Lackey is 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA. In two of those starts, he gave up five runs and in four he allowed just one.
Pittsburgh righty Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90) makes his second start since going through testicular cancer surgery. On Monday, when he returned to the mound, he had a good outing. Taillon pitched five scoreless innings notching five strikeouts and allowing two walks on 82 pitches. In 34 career starts, Taillon has posted a record of 11-7 with a 3.24 ERA. In three starts total versus the Cubs, he is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA.
For the Cubs, Anthony Rizzo (.256 BA, 15 HR, 43 RBI), the team RBI leader, has been hitting as of late and has had a good series. He’s batting .348 for the week and .365 for June. But Kris Bryant (.264 BA, 29 RBI, 15 HR), who’s tops in batting average and homers, and Jason Heyward (.260 BA, 28 RBI, 6 HR), who’s second on the team in batting, have struggled mightily. Overall Cub hitters arte batting a dismal .236, although their homerun output is decent at 92.
The Pirates have had their struggles at the plate too this season. They have a team batting average of .248, better than the Bucs, but they’ve smacked a measly 64 homers. Josh Harrison (.302 BA, 22 RBI, 8 HR) leads the team in batting, while Andrew McCutchen (.260 BA, 37 RBI, 12 HR), who is tops in RBI and homers, has struggled with consistency. His bat, as well as that of Gregory Polanco (.245 BA, 16 RBI, 4 HR), has become more active in this series.
Final Word: Chicago Cubs Play Pittsburgh Pirates MLB Preview
In our Chicago Cubs play Pittsburgh Pirates MLB preview and free pick we like the home team. We’re taking the slightly favored Pirates at -106.