Chicago Cubs begin key four-game series vs Pirates starting with doubleheader


With a much-needed day off yesterday, Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs will visit Pittsburgh for a key four-game series with the Pirates starting with today’s doubleheader.

This road trip could eventually help decide who will have home field advantage when it comes to the N.L. Wild Card round. In the first meeting of the day, it’ll be Jason Hammel taking the bump opposite All-Star Gerrit Cole.

Hammel (8-6, 3.59 ERA) carries a 2-1 record with a 38/12 K/BB ratio and 5.14 ERA in his previous seven starts. Jason worked a solid six innings while visiting the St. Louis Cardinals, holding them to three earned runs on four hits while issuing four walks and recording six strikeouts.

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Chicago’s (82-60) Anthony Rizzo launched his 100th career home run and even infielder Starlin Castro came through with a three-run shot of his own in the 8-6 win over the first-place Redbirds.

The man starting for the Pirates (86-56) had a spectacular first half but has gone 6-6 over his previous 15 starts. Cole (16-8, 2.54 ERA) is currently 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in September having allowed five earned runs against the Milwaukee Brewers just 14 days ago.

Clint Hurdle‘s 25-year-old ace quickly turned things around by hurling seven scoreless innings against the Cardinals. Gerrit chewed through that lineup for seven strikeouts and held them to only two hits on the day.

Pittsburgh currently leads Chicago by four games for second-place in the N.L. Central and the first wild card slot. These two clubs have treated every series as if they were already in the post-season.

First pitch for afternoon’s Game 1 is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. central time and will air live on CSN, WBBM 780 A.M.

Here’s a look at the lineup’s for both clubs:

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