Sports Magazine

Game 154: Pirates at Cubs

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
First of three big games against the Cubs in Chicago.
2:20 PM EST first pitch.
Probables: Gerrit Cole (17-8, 2.64) vs. Jon Lester (10-11, 3.46)
"Cole, Lester open critical Bucs-Cubs set
By Greg Garno / | + 12 COMMENTS
Rarely this season has a series had bigger implications for the Cubs and Pirates than the three-game set between the two that begins on Friday. The National League Central rivals will square off for the final time during the regular season, this time from Wrigley Field.
The Cubs trail the Pirates -- who clinched a postseason appearance with a win over the Rockies on Wednesday night -- for the NL's top Wild Card spot by 3 1/2 games. Pittsburgh's magic number to clinch that berth was reduced to seven with Thursday's 5-4 Pirates win at Colorado.
The Cubs can clinch one of the Wild Card spots by winning on Friday.
"It's a big series, obviously," said Wednesday's starter, Kyle Hendricks. "We want to catch those guys, and we want to get the [Wild Card] Game here."
Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole, Friday's starter, allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings his last time out against the Cubs. Chicago will turn to Jon Lester, who allowed one run in his first complete game of the season in his last start against the Pirates.
Things to know about this game
• Friday would normally be Dan Haren's spot for Chicago, but after a day off on Thursday, his start was skipped. Haren has had only one quality start since joining the Cubs at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
• Lester has gone 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his two starts against the Pirates this season.
• Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo will be happy to see Cole on Friday, as they are a combined .367 with five RBIs against him in their careers.
Greg Garno is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs."

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