Pittsburgh Pirates Look to Avoid Being Swept by Cubs

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 9: Ivan Nova /

At 8:05 this evening the Pittsburgh Pirates will send Ivan Nova to the mound at Wrigley Field in hopes of avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs

After last night’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 63-70 this season. Additionally, the Bucs have now lost the first two games of their current three game series at Wrigley Field.

Tonight, the Pirates will look to avoid being swept by the Cubs. Also, with a loss tonight the Pirates would finish their six-game losing streak with a losing record at 2-4. With a win they would finish the road trip with an even record of 3-3.

The Pirates will send struggling right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova to the hill tonight. In 26 starts this season Nova has allowed the third most hits in the National League at 180, and the fifth most home runs in the league at 25 in 165 2/3 innings pitched.

Ivan Nova has allowed hard contact 34.6 percent of the time this season. This is the ninth worst hard contact rate in the National League. Meanwhile, his 24.2 percent line drive rate is fifth worst in the league.

All of this has led to Nova owning a 3.97 ERA and a 4.29 FIP this season. However, things have been especially bad since the start of May. After being named the National League Pitcher of the Month in April, Nova has been awful.

In his last 21 starts he has allowed 154 hits and 23 home runs in 129 2/3 innings pitched. He owns a 4.65 ERA, a 4.83 FIP, and a 35.6 percent hard contact rate in these 21 starts. The Pirates are just 10-11 in these games.

As for the Cubs, the one and only Jose Quintana will start for them tonight. The man who the Pittsburgh Media and some Pirate fans have dubbed as being better than Randy Johnson plus Pedro Martinez multiplied by Warren Spahn, has struggled in his first eight starts for the Cubs.

He owns a 5.13 ERA and a 4.90 FIP in 39 innings pitched in those eight starts. He has allowed 38 hits, 7 home runs (1.62 HR/9), and he is averaging 3.92 BB/9. Hopefully, his struggles will continue tonight.

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In tonight’s game the Pittsburgh Pirates will go with the following lineup:

  1. Josh Harrison – 2B
  2. Sean Rodriguez – RF
  3. Andrew McCutchen – CF
  4. Josh Bell – 1B
  5. David Freese – 3B
  6. Starling Marte – LF
  7. Jordy Mercer – SS
  8. Chris Stewart – C
  9. Ivan Nova – SP

The Chicago lineup will be as follows:

  1. Jon Jay – CF
  2. Kyle Schwarber – LF
  3. Kris Bryant – 3B
  4. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
  5. Ian Happ – 2B
  6. Jason Heyward – RF
  7. Javier Baez – SS
  8. Rene Rivera – C
  9. Jose Quintana – SP

Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Pirates can avoid a sweep tonight and finish their road trip with a .500 record.