After Joe Maddon yanked Jason Hammel (13-7, 3.21 ERA) 39 pitches into his last outing, many speculated the Chicago Cubs (85-47) lost faith in their pitcher.
Hammel will get a chance to amend his early knockout tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates (67-63), as the Cubs look to sweep the series at Wrigley.
The Cubs have the best home record in the MLB this season, 47-19. They’ve won 11 of their last 14 games against the Pirates.
At home, Hammel is 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 70 1/3 innings. He’s been able to keep the ball in the ballpark as well, giving up only five of his 29 total tome runs this year.
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During the second half, Hammel has really been rolling, going 6-2 with a 2.68 ERA. His last two starts have resulted in his only two losses of the second half. Wrigley field seems to be the perfect place for Hammel to rebound and recover
Ryan Vogelsong (3-3, 3.02 ERA) will make his 18th appearance of the season, eighth start, for the Pirates. He is 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in August, recording his longest outing (5 1/3 innings) of that span last Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“He reminds me of the generation that I kind of grew up with and played with. He’s still got the core values. He’s done what he need to do to improve himself and get better and he’s had a very consistent and strong system in his own skill set,” Clint Hurdle said before the game.
Vogelsong suffered an eye injury earlier in the season against Colorado Rockies’ starter Jordan Lyles, sidelining him until August 4th.
“I don’t think he’s the same guy,” Hurdle said. “There’s probably a little bit of a velocity gap from what he was able to do. However, the experience, the makeup on the mound, awareness of the league, knowledge of hitters, belief in himself and his skill set plays up very well.”
The Cubs will stay home following Wednesday’s game to face the Giants before traveling to Milwaukee, Houston, and St. Louis for their next 10 games. Chicago is 16-13 against the NL West this year.
The lineups for the game are as follows: