Series Preview: Cubs vs Pirates

After taking two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend, the Cubs seem to be back to their Anthony Rizzo-era winning ways. Those wins were in large part thanks to Jeff Samardizja and Paul Maholm, who pitched solid outings in those low-scoring games. They have become the core of the Cubs’ starting rotation, with Matt Garza hurt and Travis Wood and Ryan Dempster on their own downward spirals.

But this week, the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates meet again. This time at Wrigley, the Cubs will try to take another series, beginning with the first start of recent pickup Justin Germano on Monday. He made his first appearance as a Cub in that 12-0 loss to the Cardinals (you’d forgotten already, hadn’t you?), giving up five hits and one run in three innings pitched. It’ll be interesting to see how he does tonight, as he will be relied on regularly if any pitching trades go down before the deadline.

Probable Starters

Game 1 (7:05 p.m. CT)

Justin Germano (0-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. Erik Bedard (5-11, 4.32 ERA)

Game 2 (7:05 p.m. CT)

Ryan Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett (12-3, 3.52 ERA)

Game 3 (1:20 p.m. CT)

Travis Wood (4-6, 4.98 ERA) vs. Jeff Karstens (3-2, 3.88 ERA)

Series Studs

CHC: Anthony Rizzo (5-11, 5 RBI)

After somewhat of a minor slump, Rizzo was business as usual in the series against the Cards. Friday night, Rizzo contributed in the first inning, hitting a two-run shot to follow up Starlin Castro’s RBI. In the third, Rizzo helped out Castro again, notching an RBI on a single to left. Saturday’s game was quiet for Rizzo, but Sunday he more than made up for it. Along with two singles, Rizzo hit his first career walk-off home run in the 10th inning, and was the hero yet again.

PIT: Garrett Jones (5-15, 4 RBI)

Jones has been a big factor on this Pirates team as of late. In his last six games, Jones has seven hits and three home runs. He hit triple on Saturday in the Pirates’ 4-3 win, and a two-run homer on Sunday in a 9-5 loss to the Astros.

Series Duds

CHC: Bryan LaHair (0-5, 4 SO)

It’s no longer news that LaHair is in a slump, and he sure isn’t coming out of itthe way Rizzo did. In his last five games, LaHair has no hits and seven strikeouts. Whereas he was a possible trade option at his more promising beginning of the season, LaHair will be staying put, and we just hope he can come out of it soon.

PIT: Pedro Alvarez (4-14, 5 SO)

While Pedro Alvarez had four hits in the series against the Houston Astros, he has been spotty and unable to come through in clutch situations. He has only three RBI in his last ten games.

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