Chicago Cubs: Pirates versus Cubs series preview

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 17: Addison Russell
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 17: Addison Russell /
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WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 29: Jon Lester
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 29: Jon Lester /

Good pitching match-ups on tap for this series

Friday – Eddie Butler (4-3, 4.18 ERA) and Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.67 ERA).

Butler has filled in nicely for Brett Anderson, but needs to cut down on his walks (24 in 47 1/3 innings pitched). Williams has just 84 major league innings under his belt, with the majority of them coming this season. In 11 starts (17 total appearances), Williams has struck out 51 batters in 71 1/3 innings pitched.

Saturday – Jake Arrieta (8-6, 4.33 ERA) and Ivan Nova (8-6, 3.24 ERA).

Ivan Nova has been solid this season as he is allowing just 1.1 walks per nine innings. However, Nova has issued 114 hits in as many innings, pushing his WHIP to 1.12. Jake Arrieta has not been the same pitcher that he was the last two seasons. Arrieta is allowing 8.6 hits per nine innings this season, in addition to having already given up 13 home runs. The 31-year-old has posted a higher strikeout rate this season compared to last.

Sunday – Jon Lester (5-5, 3.94 ERA) and Jameson Taillon (5-2, 2.73 ERA).

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Jon Lester is currently the best starting pitcher for the Cubs. The lefty owns a 1.27 WHIP and 3.24 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lester has also recorded 110 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings pitched. In 11 starts, Taillon has been the ace of the Pirates’ staff. In 62 2/3 innings, Taillon has struck out 59 batters and walked 22. The 25-year-old also has an ERA+ of 160.

Start times

Friday’s game will start at 1:20 p.m. CT. Saturday’s game will start at 6:15 p.m. CT and Sunday’s game will start at 12:10 p.m. CT.