The Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates begin their three game series Friday night at PNC Park. At 15-29, The Cubs have the worst record in the NL , and are on a season high nine game losing streak. Friday’s match up will feature Cubs right hander Ryan Dempster (0-2), who is looking for his first victory of the season. Dempster has an ERA of 2.28, and has allowed four runs in each of his last two outings.
The Cubs, as a team, are only averaging slightly over three runs per game during the nine game skid. The have a total of six runs in their past four ball games. The run support just has not consistently been there all season long for the Cubs. Combine that with inconsistent pitching play, and that is a recipe for losing. Fortunately for Dempster, the Pirates average a league worst 2.86 runs per game with an overall total of 126 runs. The Pirates have dropped two straight games of their own., and have gone 4-6 in their last ten games. They have also lost six out of their last seven games by two runs or less.
A.J. Burnett will be starting for the Pirates in the series opener. Burnett is 2-2 with a 4.78 ERA, and has only had one decision, which was a win, in his last three starts. The pitching staff for the Pirates is what carries this team, as they have a 3.33 ERA which is ranked fourth in baseball. The one bright spot in the Pirates lineup is Andrew McCutchen. With a .338 batting average, McCutchen is the only pirates hitter hitting above .300. This Pirates lineup also leads the majors in strikeouts with 376 for the season.
Chicago has the opportunity to end this nine game slump against a team that is struggling on offense. Getting a win in game one could bring confidence and energy for the rest of the series going forward. Consistency needs to be the focus of this team. The Cubs are certainly in rebuild mode at the start of the Theo Epstein era, but there is certainly enough talent on this team right now to be competitive in the NL Central.
About the Author
Written by Brandyn Smith
My name is Brandyn Smith. I am 23 years old. I graduated with a Finance degree from Providence College in 2011. I am a freelance writer pursuing a career in Sports Administration. I love sports and I’m here to share my sports knowledge with everyone. Currently I am studying Organizational Behavior at Northwestern University.