Jason Hammel (13-7, 3.21 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs (84-47) take on Ryan Vogelsong (3-3, 3.02 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (67-63) in a game that has the potential to be low scoring. This is the last of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won the last game 3-0, and Chicago leads the series 2-0. Action begins at 8:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 31 and can be seen on CSCh, RTPT and ESPN.
Hammel pitched 2.1 innings in his most recent start, surrendering three runs and striking out one in a 3-2 defeat to the Dodgers. Kris Bryant (.305, 109 Rs, 35 HRs, 89 RBIs, 8 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday. Vogelsong went 5.1 innings, surrendering two runs, striking out six and walking four in a 5-3 win over the Brewers in his last outing. Gregory Polanco (.273, 70 Rs, 21 HRs, 79 RBIs, 12 SBs) went 1 for 3 yesterday with one stolen base.
This one isn't expected to be close when Chicago, a substantial -182 favorite, takes on Pittsburgh. The Cubs have recorded an overall money line of +260 and have shown high-level performance as a favorite this season with a record of 78-38. Chicago has had an impressive season against division opponents, earning 33-14 and 35-16 records as the favorite and SU, respectively. The Cubs have seen an uptick in scoring against teams inside their division, averaging 6.0 runs per game. They average 5.1 runs per game on the season. Chicago leads the whole NL in walks, earning an average of 4.1 per game. Crossing over to the pitching and defensive side, it's been a struggle for opposing teams to score runs against the Cubs. The 3.4 runs that Chicago's pitchers allow per game makes them the top staff in the NL. The Cubs are the top team in the league at limiting hits and walks to their opponents, recording a WHIP of 1.116 so far this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Cubs, who rank third in the NL in strikeouts per game with 8.9.
In games where it is the underdog, Pittsburgh has a 30-27 record and an overall money line of +126. They are 8-12 as the underdog against NL Central foes, and 25-25 SU.
The Cubs have controlled the season series, 11-3. The Cubs have a 55-33 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Vogelsong takes the mound. Hammel (LHP) will be on the hill against the Pirates, who have a very good 18-8 record against left-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - CHC
The Cubs sit at 36-16 against their divisional rivals, while the Pirates are 25-26.
When leading after seven innings, Chicago is 45-22, while Pittsburgh is 27-33.
The Pirates didn't score any runs in their last game. The Cubs have a 12-0 record when they don't allow any runs.
When they are outhit, the Cubs are 7-28. The Pirates have a 16-49 record when opponents outhit them.
Ranking 26th in home runs, Pittsburgh has hit 123 this season. Chicago ranks 12th with 166 home runs.
Chicago and Pittsburgh both rank in the top 10 of the league in hits. Chicago sits at sixth with 8.82 hits per game and Pittsburgh ranks seventh with 8.80.
Ranking 20th, Pittsburgh is in the bottom half of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.730). Chicago ranks in the top five at third with an OPS of .780.
The Pirates are 36-50 in games where they allow one or more home runs. The Cubs are 43-38 when they allow at least one homer.