Jake Arrieta once had the Pittsburgh Pirates’ number, but the Bucs have flipped the script the past two years. Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs hope to reverse that recent trend when the former Cy Young Award winner takes the mound for the second game of a three-game set against the visiting Pirates on Tuesday.
Arrieta posted a 0.75 ERA in five starts against the Pirates during his Cy Young campaign in 2015, but he has lost his last four decisions against Pittsburgh. The momentum swing has helped Pittsburgh lead the season series 7-6, though the Cubs breezed to a 6-1 win in Monday’s series opener. Chicago is 31-22 against National League Central opponents, which has contributed to the Cubs’ 2 1/2-game lead over second-place Milwaukee. The Cubs have won four straight at home and are 27-15 since the All-Star break.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ATT SportsNet Pittsburgh, CSN Chicago Plus
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Chad Kuhl (6-9, 4.52 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (13-8, 3.49)
Kuhl has enjoyed a solid month of August, going 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in five starts. The 24-year-old has struggled with his command a bit of late, issuing five walks in two of his last three starts, and he lasted only four innings in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. Kuhl is 0-3 with a 13.20 ERA in five starts against the Cubs.
Arrieta has been locked in since the All-Star break, going 5-1 with a 1.78 ERA in eight starts. The 31-year-old has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of those outings, and he held Cincinnati to one unearned run over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision Thursday. Arrieta loves pitching at Wrigley Field, where he is 29-14 with a 2.34 ERA in 58 career starts.
1. Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo, who is 4-for-9 with a homer against Kuhl, is batting .415 with six doubles, four homers, and 22 RBIs in his past 14 games.
2. Pirates 1B Josh Bell is 6-for-11 with two doubles and a homer against Arrieta.
3. Pittsburgh CF Andrew McCutchen has hit safely in all seven games at Wrigley Field this season, going 9-for-28.
PREDICTION: Cubs 7, Pirates 5