Pittsburgh Pirates versus Chicago Cubs (July 14)
Two NL Central teams battle as the fourth place Pirates take on the first place Cubs.
Pittsburgh has won three of the last five games between the teams, averaging seven runs per game, in large part due to an 18-run outburst in a single game.
Trevor Williams is scheduled to pitch for the Pirates and Jose Quintana is set to start for the Cubs.
Pittsburgh’s offense goes through Josh Bell, who leads the team with 27 home runs and 84 RBI.
He’s accounted for over 25 percent of the team’s home run total of 99.
Sterling Marte has added 13 home runs and 48 RBI and Colin Moran had chipped in with 10 home runs.
Melky Cabrera, Kevin Newman and Bryan Reynolds are all hitting above .300 for a team averaging 4.8 runs per game.
The Cubs rely on the long-ball, having deposited 141 balls into the seats this season.
Javier Baez is pacing the team with 22 home runs and 62 RBI.
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Wilson Contreras are all flirting with the 20-home run plateau, while Jason Heyward has added 14 to the attack.
As a team, the Cubs are averaging five runs per game.
On the mound, Trevor Williams has been mediocre, posting a 4.54 ERA in 71 1/3 innings.
Not a strikeout pitcher, he’s fanned only 57 but has done a decent job keeping the ball in the park, allowing only nine home runs.
If the Pirates can get the ball to the bullpen, they are in good shape.
Francisco Liriano, Richard Rodriguez, Felipe Vazquez and Kyle Krick have posted a combined 3.05 ERA in 153 1/3 innings.
As a team, the Pirates have allowed 5.2 runs per game.
Jose Quintana enters with a 6-7 record and 4.19 ERA for the Cubs this season.
He’s struck out 84 in 109 innings and allowed 12 home runs. The Cubs’ bullpen has been inconsistent.
Steve Cishek has seven saves and an ERA of 2.72. Brandon Kintzler and Kyle Ryan have also been solid, posting an ERA of 2.65 over 68 innings.
However, Mike Montgomery and Brad Brach have struggled to a combined ERA of 5.89 in 62 2/3 innings.
As a team, the Cubs have given up an average of 4.4 runs per game.
The Cubs are due for an offensive outburst against the Pirates and the feeling is it will happen in this one.
They have too much power to be shut down consistently, so look for a couple home runs, getting to Trevor Williams.
Pittsburgh will have enough offense to keep the game relatively close, but will fall short. Take the over in a Cubs win by a 7-4 or 7-5 score.
first line ive seen posted is 9.0 will update.