Indianapolis Star
Major League Baseball
Preview
Pittsburgh at Chi. Cubs
When: 8:05 PM ET, Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

The boom-or-bust nature of the Chicago Cubs’ offense has been especially prevalent when they face the Pittsburgh Pirates. After opening their four-game set against the visiting Pirates with another weak offensive output, the Cubs will try to get the bats going and preserve their slim National League Central lead when the clubs meet for the second of four games Tuesday.

The Cubs have been held to one or zero runs in 10 of their last 16 losses, including Monday’s 5-1 defeat in which pitcher Cole Hamels’ solo homer accounted for Chicago’s only run. The Cubs, who hold a 1 1/2-game edge on Milwaukee in their division, have scored a single run on a solo homer in each of their last five games against the Pirates. Pittsburgh is on its way to a strong finish to the season, having won 13 of their last 18. The season series is tied at eight wins apiece, and the Cubs have been limited to one run in six of their eight losses to the Pirates.

TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, AT&T SportsNet - Pittsburgh, WGN (Chicago)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Chris Archer (5-8, 4.49 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Mike Montgomery (5-5, 3.75)

Archer is 2-3 with a 4.86 ERA in nine starts since the Pirates acquired him from Tampa Bay ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline. The 29-year-old snapped a six-start winless streak Wednesday, holding Kansas City to one run over seven innings for his first win since Aug. 8. Archer is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against the Cubs.

Montgomery entered the season as a reliever but became a valuable member of the rotation beginning in late May, going 5-4 with a 3.35 ERA in 17 starts. The 29-year-old struck out eight and allowed one run on four hits over six frames to win at Arizona last Tuesday for his first win since Aug. 7. Montgomery is 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in nine games (three starts) against the Pirates.

WALK-OFFS

1. Pittsburgh C Francisco Cervelli homered Monday and is 14-for-34 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 11 games against the Cubs this season.

2. Pirates CF Starling Marte (left calf tightness) did not play Monday and is day-to-day.

3. Cubs RHP Pedro Strop (left hamstring) played catch and took part in agility drills Monday and hopes to pitch before the end of the regular season.

PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Pirates 3


Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Pittsburgh 79-76 W1 44-36 35-40 12-20 40-30 12-21 15-5
Chi. Cubs 91-65 L1 47-28 44-37 22-11 37-33 19-14 13-7
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh Chi. Cubs
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/24/18 PIT 5 CHC 1 .212 2 .770 .212 1 .581
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh J. Bell .222 10 .619
Chi. Cubs J. Heyward .371 23 .874
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh F. Cervelli 4 6 12
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 5 8 11
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 3.52 .235 120
Chi. Cubs 3.15 .261 115
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh C. Dickerson .296 144 .792
Chi. Cubs B. Zobrist .311 134 .829
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh G. Polanco 23 75 81
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 34 97 110
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 4.04 .254 1275
Chi. Cubs 3.67 .259 1282