Pirates host Cubs, aim to build on Brault’s solid showing
Chicago Cubs (65-58, second in the NL Central) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (51-71, fifth in the NL Central)
Charlotte, North Carolina; Sunday, 7 p.m. EDT
PITCHING PROBABLES: Cubs: Jose Quintana (10-7, 4.11 ERA) Pirates: Mitch Keller (1-1, 7.94 ERA)
LINE: Cubs favored by 1 1/2 runs; over/under is 9 1/2 runs
Pittsburgh heads into the matchup after a strong showing by Steven Brault. Brault pitched seven innings, giving up one earned run while striking out eight.
The Pirates are 21-36 against NL Central opponents. The Pittsburgh offense has compiled a .265 batting average as a team this season, good for sixth in the MLB. Bryan Reynolds leads the team with a mark of .332.
The Cubs have gone 28-24 against division opponents. Chicago has hit 191 home runs this season, eleventh in the National League. Kyle Schwarber leads them with 28, averaging one every 14.2 at-bats. The Cubs won the last meeting 2-0. Jon Lester earned his 10th victory and Kris Bryant went 1-for-2 with a home run and an RBI for Chicago. Steven Brault took his second loss for Pittsburgh.
TOP PERFORMERS: Josh Bell leads the Pirates with 70 extra base hits and is batting .282. Reynolds is 11-for-40 with two doubles, three home runs and four RBIs over the last 10 games for Pittsburgh.
Javier Baez leads the Cubs with 65 extra base hits and is slugging .542. Ian Happ is 9-for-33 with a double, a triple, three home runs and nine RBIs over the last 10 games for Chicago.
LAST 10 GAMES: Pirates: 3-7, .253 batting average, 5.02 ERA, outscored by seven runs
Cubs: 4-6, .234 batting average, 4.87 ERA, outscored by six runs
Pirates Injuries: Jameson Taillon: (elbow), Edgar Santana: (elbow), Richard Rodriguez: (shoulder), Chad Kuhl: (elbow), Nick Burdi: (biceps), Gregory Polanco: (shoulder), Lonnie Chisenhall: (finger), Francisco Cervelli: (concussion).
Cubs Injuries: Allen Webster: (hand), Brandon Morrow: (elbow), Brandon Kintzler: (pectoral), Craig Kimbrel: (knee), Kendall Graveman: (elbow), Steve Cishek: (hip), Xavier Cedeno: (wrist), Daniel Descalso: (ankle), Willson Contreras: (hamstring).