The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates are set to play tonight for the 15th time this season, the Cubs have won 11 of the 14 games this season. The Cubs come into this game with a 84-47 record winners of their last 2 games, seven and three in their last 10, and in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field they are 47-19. The Pirates have taken a major step back this season from 2015 when they won 98 games, as of this point in 2016 their record is 67-63 and they sit 16.5 games out in the division. The Pirates are on a two game losing streak and are five and five in the last 10 games they have played, even being so far back in the division the Pirates only sit two and a half games out of the final wild card spot.
Mike Montgomery was set to start for the Cubs tonight but he was stretched out Friday night vs the Dodgers and threw 91 pitches. He continues to build up his arm strength to make the transition from reliever to become a viable left handed starter at Joe Maddon’s disposal. Montgomery will be given a extra day’s rest and Jason Hammel will make the start instead, Hammel’s home era is 1.79 the second best home era in baseball for all major league starters. He was rolling along with six wins in a row but has faltered in his last two starts in Los Angeles and Colorado only lasting five and two thirds innings combined and allowing nine earned runs.
This start tonight for Hammel might be just what the Dr ordered, he is pitching lights out at Wrigley Field with a eight and one record and a 1.79 earned run average. Also with two wins and no loses vs the Pirates and a 2.31 era in 2016. In his career he has made 13 starts vs the Pirates with seven wins and five losses. Andrew McCutchen has had the most success against Hammel in his career going 12 for 36 with three home runs. Gregory Polanco is another player to watch out for tonight for the Pirates going five for 15 against Hammel.
The Pirates are fighting for the last wild card spot they are sending Ryan Vogelsong to the mound to face the Cubs. He is making his sixth starts since coming off the disabled list August 4th, he has a two and two record with a 2.48 era. In 12 career starts at Wrigley Field he has a five and seven record and a 5.88 era. Look for Anthony Rizzo to have a good night he has murdered Vogelsong in his career with four home runs in eight at bats. With only five games left between the Cubs and Pirates in the regular season, the Cubs are looking for another three game sweep tonight and to continue the dominance they have had against the Pirates all season.