Series Preview: Pirates v. Cubs, June 20 – June 22, 2014

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Series Preview: Pirates v. Cubs, June 20 – June 22, 2014

Chicago Cubs

pittsburgh-piratesThe Cubs come back home after a solid road trip, and they’ll once again face a team they just saw a little over a week ago. This time, it’s the Pirates, who took three of four from the Cubs in Pittsburgh.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs won back-to-back series in Philadelphia and then Miami, and they’ve actually been a fair bit over .500 in their last 30 games. Meaningful? Eh, it’s nice to see better baseball. But with trade season on the way, I’m not sure it will matter.

The Pirates have won six of ten, but have lost three of their last four, but won their last one. So they’re … hot-ish? Cool?

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, June 20 at 3:05 CT on WGN.
  • Saturday, June 21 at 6:15 CT on WGN, FOX.
  • Sunday, June 22 at 1:20 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.


Starters: Edwin Jackson (5.11 ERA, 3.88 FIP; 2.27 K/BB), Travis Wood (4.48 ERA, 3.97 FIP; 2.23 K/BB), Jason Hammel (3.02 ERA, 3.02 FIP; 4.47 K/BB)

Lineup (been shuffling a lot lately):

  1. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  2. Junior Lake/Chris Coghlan/Justin Ruggiano, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Ryan Sweeney, CF
  6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  7. Darwin Barney, 2B
  8. John Baker, C
  9. Pitcher


Starters: Charlie Morton (3.09 ERA, 3.74 FIP; 2.09 K/BB), Vance Worley (0.00 ERA, 1.67 FIP; 5.00 K/BB), Brandon Cumpton (5.82 ERA, 3.28 FIP; 2.67 K/BB)


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

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Starlin Castro is crazy hot, but he already got his own treatment this morning.

Justin Ruggiano missed a bunch of time with his hamstring injury, but, around that injury, he’s hit quite well – after a slow start, he’s got his line up to .247/.354/.395, good for a 109 wRC+.

Anthony Rizzo is still quietly hot, if that’s possible. His last 21 games: .321/.411/.628.

In his last five starts, Edwin Jackson has had just one in which his win probability added (WPA) was a positive number. What does that mean? Just once in his last five starts did Jackson add to the Cubs’ chances to win, instead of adding to their chances to lose.

In his 9 games so far, Pirates rookie Gregory Polanco is hitting .378/.417/.467. Pretty good start for the young man.

Russell Martin continues to kill it for the Pirates, and be one of the best signings of the past few years. He’s hitting .272/.425/.392 right now.

Since the start of May, Charlie Morton has a 2.40/3.23/3.80 ERA/FIP/xFIP line.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.