Mike Montgomery was great against the Bucs on Monday, before Jake Arrieta followed it up with a strong performance of his own yesterday. And all of a sudden, the Cubs are on the bring of sweeping the Pirates and going up a season-high 12 games over .500.
But the second-half question remains: Which Jose Quintana will the Cubs get today?
For most of his career, and even through the majority of his starts with the Cubs, Quintana has been an excellent starting pitcher. But he’s certainly had a few clunkers here lately, including his last start against a weak Phillies lineup: 5.0 IP, 9H, 6ER, 4BB, 7Ks.
Not only was Quintana getting hit around a lot in that one, he also walked far too many batters. If you’re going to be bad, be bad because they’re being good. Don’t give up freebies.
Like Montgomery before him, though, Quintana should have an advantage today, as the Pirates are one of the weakest teams in baseball against left-handed pitching. Much of that, as we’ve explored, is because one of their best hitters, Josh Bell, drops from a 124 wRC+ against righties to an 83 wRC+ against lefties (despite being a switch hitter). Shrug.
Hopefully, that trend holds true this evening, and the Cubs can complete the sweep against starting pitcher Ivan Nova (whom we discussed earlier today) and the Pirates here at Wrigley Field.
Chicago Cubs (71-60) at Pittsburgh Pirates (63-70) – 7:05 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: Jose Quintana (L): 4.49 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 3.97 xFIP; 2.84 K/BB
Pirates: Ivan Nova (R): 3.97 ERA, 4.39 FIP, 4.12 xFIP; 4.04 K/BB
- Josh Harrison, 2B
- Sean Rodriguez, RF
- Andrew McCutchen, CF
- Josh Bell, 1B
- David Freese, 3B
- Starling Marte, LF
- Jordy Mercer, SS
- Chris Stewart, C
- Ivan Nova, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jon Jay, CF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Rene Rivera, C
- Jose Quintana, P