Jake Arrieta takes the mound opposite Burnett with win No. 20 on his mind
By David Miniel
With only 18 games left in the regular season, the Chicago Cubs will continue their four-game road trip in Pittsburgh after splitting yesterday’s doubleheader with the second-place Pirates.
Southpaw Jon Lester put together his first complete game as a member of the Cubs (83-61) and went the extra mile to pick-off Starling Marte during the third inning of last night’s evening game.
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Tonight, ace right-hander Jake Arrieta will go toe-to-toe with 38-year-old veteran A.J. Burnett who made his return to the Pirates (87-57) following a flexor strain that kept him on the shelf since July 30.
Arrieta (19-6, 1.99 ERA) holds a perfect 7-0 record and 0.53 earned run average in his previous seven starts. He’s held opposing teams to a combined three earned runs on 27 hits while posting a 52/9 K/BB ratio across 51 1/3 innings of work.
The 29-year-old Cy Young candidate picked up a start in last week’s doubleheader in Philadelphia and surrendered only one run behind six hits in eight innings of work.
Burnett (8-5, 3.14 ERA) picked up his first start in over a month against the Milwaukee Brewers just six days ago in his own backyard. Milwaukee plated three runs on as many hits off Burnett before he exited the game after the fifth inning.
A.J. was dominating the competition earlier on in the year as he finished May with a 5-0 record in six outings. Aside from that, he’s been absolutely perfect when facing the Cubs, holding a 1-0 record in two decisions.
Granted, the club he’s facing later on this evening is completely different compared to the lineup he faced back in April and May where they mustered one run on 11 hits.
First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m. central time and will air live on CSN, ESPN, WBBM 780 A.M.