Luckily for the Pirates, they get to the play the Cubs again only a week and a half after getting swept to try to redeem themselves and be the proverbial George Foreman to the Cubs’ Muhammad Ali (except Foreman never got a second chance, so it really isn’t like this at all).
When I say luckily, I mean it seems like this series is coming at about as good a time as any to play the Cubs. They lost two in a row for the first time all season on Wednesday, and it happened to be in a doubleheader against the punchless Padres. The lack of momentum for the Cubs is in contrast to the decent momentum for the Pirates, who hit four dingers in their most recent contest against the Reds, albeit all solo shots.
Even more fortuitously, with the rainout Tuesday in Cincinnati, the Pirates can now pitch their #1 and #1a this weekend against the Cubs. Francisco Liriano pitches in the opener today, with Gerrit Cole pitching on Sunday. Arrieta was listed on MLB.com as the starting pitcher for both Saturday's and Sunday's games, but the Cubs seem to have thought better of that strategy and are planning on tossing Lester on Sunday; I know Arrieta’s been good, but I don’t think he’s that good. Reminds me of when I would play an entire season of All Star Baseball 2003 on GameCube and throw Kip Wells almost every game; you can imagine how that played out.
Jason Hammel is on the mound for the Cubs. He currently sports a 1.85 ERA, which seriously clashes with his 3.23 FIP and 4.37 xFIP. Sounds like regression is coming, and hopefully the Pirates give it to him like DMX giving “it” to ya. First pitch is at 2:20 EDT (11:20 PDT) because the Cubs are weird and have day games on Fridays.