Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB: 07.05 PM EST
July 31, 2018
The Chicago Cubs (61-44) will travel to gorgeous PNC Park in western Pennsylvania to begin a two-game series with the host Pittsburgh Pirates (55-52) on Tuesday night. Both teams had an off day Monday, with the Cubs taking the final game of their weekend series against rival St. Louis on Sunday night, while the Buccos were blanked 1-0 Sunday by Zack Wheeler and the Mets.
STARTING PITCHERS: Chicago LHP Jon Lester (12-3, 3.06 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh RHP Jameson Taillon (7-8, 3.73 ERA)
Cubs ace Jon Lester will take the mound for the series opener in his third start after the All-Star Break. After getting knocked around in an 18-5 loss his first time out in the second half, Lester returned to his solid 2018 form last time out, pitching six innings of 1-run ball in a 2-1 win against Arizona. On the home side, Taillon has pitched far better than his record might indicate; he’s allowed 3 earned runs or fewer in 11 consecutive starts, but his record has fallen victim to a lack of run support from the Pittsburgh offense.
Tuesday’s pitching matchup should be a dandy, with both starting pitchers having an excellent 2018 campaign. Both clubs should also be fairly rested in the aftermath of the off day on Monday. For me, the scale is tipped ever so slightly by the fact that Chicago has had measurable success against Taillon in his young career; he’s just 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA in five career starts against the division rivals. I like the Cubbies to come out eager to widen their narrow division lead and take Tuesday’s contest.
Our Free MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs ML