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pittsburgh-piratesThe Cubs head out for a Pennsylvania road trip through Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Of those three teams, only the Cubs haven’t been a disappointment this year. Think about it that way, eh?

And I’m not sayin’ nothin’, but, if the Cubs were to win this series 3-1, they’d be tied with the Pirates in the loss column.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs dropped yesterday’s series finale to the Marlins, but they still took the series. That marked five wins in their last six games, which would be a pretty snappy record if you could do it for 162 games.

The Pirates have dropped three of four after going on a little bit of a hot streak. Before that, they’d won five of six – hey, just like the Cubs! On the year, the Pirates are four games below .500, just a couple ahead of the Cubs in the loss column.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, June 9 at 6:05 CT on WCIU.
  • Tuesday, June 10 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, June 11 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
  • Thursday, June 12 at 6:05 CT on WGN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.

Cubs

Starters: Edwin Jackson (4.59 ERA, 3.53 FIP; 2.24 K/BB), Travis Wood (5.04 ERA, 3.97 FIP; 2.35 K/BB), Jason Hammel (2.53 ERA, 2.89 FIP; 4.38 K/BB), Jeff Samardzija (2.54 ERA, 3.03 FIP; 3.13 K/BB)

Lineup (been shuffling a lot lately):

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
  2. Junior Lake, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  7. Mike Olt, 3B
  8. John Baker, C
  9. Pitcher

Pirates

Starters: Charlie Morton (3.31 ERA, 4.03 FIP; 1.86 K/BB), Francisco Liriano (4.54 ERA, 3.93 FIP; 2.03 K/BB), Brandon Cumpton (6.51 ERA, 3.55 FIP; 2.50 K/BB), Edinson Volquez (4.27 ERA, 4.82 FIP; 2.09 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Josh Harrison, RF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  5. Russell Martin, C
  6. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  7. Starling Marte, LF
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Jason Hammel has been so good this year that his numbers are now pretty roundly better than Jeff Samardzija’s. Wrap your noggin around that.

Nate Schierholtz has been warm – not so much hot – for a very long time: .258/.337/.427 over his last 26 games. That’s actually not a bad line right there, despite the lack of homers.

After a cool stretch, Anthony Rizzo has heated back up to the tune of a .302/.403/.660 line over his last 15 games (and that includes an 0-fer yesterday).

Gregory Polanco! … is a stud, who probably won’t play in this series. While the Pirates’ top prospect is tearing up AAA, the Pirates have been treading water and waiting out (presumably) the projected Super Two cutoff. We’re just about there, so Polanco could be up at any time. It doesn’t sound like it’ll be this series, though.

Speaking of Pirates outfielders, Starling Marte is a reminder that guys can flash incredible stuff early, and then struggle to adjust. He’s hitting .230/.304/.355 this year, and, although he might come around, he’s looking pretty damn smart for taking that extension with the Pirates that everyone loved to rip him for.

At least Andrew McCutchen is still McCutchen’ing: .305/.422/.491.

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