Chicago Cubs: Joe Maddon has plenty of options Wednesday

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Sep 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches to Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero (R) during the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Battling the best they have to offer

First off, when taking a look at Cole, an assortment of gawdy numbers stand out. He has only allowed eleven home runs this season, however eight of those have come in his home starts.

Righties are having slightly more success against him hitting .251 versus just .227 for lefties. While it appears that at first glance, he may be fatiguing having reached a career-high in innings pitched with 208, topping his old mark of 138 frames by a staggering 70 innings, it doesn’t seem to be true.

While he is 6-5 with a 2.98 ERA in the second half this season, compared to a mark of 13-3 and a 2.30 ERA in the first half, the other numbers don’t suggest regression. His opponent batting average (.239 vs .240) is nearly identical and his WHIP and K:BB rates are actually better in the second half.

Runs will indeed be at a premium for both teams, and the managers will be under-the-gun with bullpen usage and bench options against two of the game’s best hurlers.