Pittsburgh Pirates (45-42)

Divsion: 3rd in NL Central (1GB) | 5th in Wild Card Race (7GB)
Home Record: 21-21
Current Streak: Lost 1
Last 10: 6-4
Last 10 @ Home: 7-3
Vs Chicago: 4-2

Chicago Cubs (36-53)

Division: 5th in NL Central (11GB) | 13th in Wild Card Race (17GB)
Road Record: 16-27
Current Streak: Won 1
Last 10: 4-6
Last 10 on Road: 3-7
Vs Pittsburgh: 2-4

Three Game Series

Friday July 8, 2011 @ PNC Park, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday July 9, 2011 @ PNC Park, 7:05 PM
Sunday July 10, 2011 @ PNC Park, 1:35 p.m.
(*Pittsburgh leads season series, 4-2)

Friday’s Starters

James McDonald (5-4, 4.40 ERA)
Previous outing: vs Washington Nationals on 7/2/11:
Stat Line: 6 1/3 IP – 7 H – 2 ER – 7 SO – 3 BB (recieved No decision)
    McDonald is 2-1 with a 2.98 ERA at home in 2011 (45 1/3 IP)
    McDonald has allowed 3 runs or less in 9 straight starts

    During that span (9 starts), McDonald has allowed 25 walks over 51 1/3 innings and has still gone 3-1 with a 2.98 ERA.
    McDonald ranks 5th in the NL with 47 walks
    McDonald has not faced the Cubs this season. Last season, McDonald gave up eight hits and three runs in five innings of work in Pittsburgh’s 5-3 road loss to the Cubs on Sept. 1, 2010.
Rodrigo Lopez (1-2, 3.91 ERA)
Previous Outing: Vs Chicago White Sox on July 3
Stat Line: 7 IP – 2 H – 0 ER – 3 SO – 0 BB (Received 1st win of the season)
Lopez has been moved to the rotation where he will make his third straight start.
Against the San Francisco Giants on June 28th, Lopez lasted just 4 2/3 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 runs in a 6-3 Giants win.
“I definitely feel better being in the rotation,” Lopez told the Cubs’ official website this week. “It’s where I’ve been most of my career, so it makes me feel more comfortable.”
Lopez has faced the Pirates once his career as a member of the Arizona Diamonbacks, allowing one run in six innings in Arizona’s 9-1 win over Pittsburgh on April 9, 2010.

Saturday’s Starters

Kevin Correia (11-6, 3.74 ERA)
Previous Outing: Vs Washington Nationals on July 3
Stat Line: 6.0 IP – 6 H – 2 ER – 6 SO – 1 BB (Received win No. 11
    6 Strikeouts vs Washington was a season high
    Has won three straight decisions
    Correia is 2-0 vs Chicago this season. In 13 1/3 innings, Correia has posted a 1.35 ERA, while giving up 11 hits and 2 earned runs against the Cubs this season.
    Correia is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA at home this season.
Ryan Dempster (5-6, 4.99 ERA)
Previous Outing: vs San Francisco Giants on June 28
Stat Line: 8 IP – 3 H – 1 ER – 6 SO – 0 BB (received No decision)
    Has been bothered by a bad back that led him to skip last weeks start
    Is currently projected to start Saturday but his status is still up in the air. “As long as I feel good tomorrow {Friday}, I don’t see a reason why I can’t pitch on Saturday,” Dempster said after his side session on Thursday, via ESPNChicago.com. “I got a bunch of fluids in me, and I feel good. Just loosen it up and get some stretching in there and hydrate as much as possible.
    Dempster went 4-2 in the month of June with a 3.13 ERA
    Despter is 1-1 against Pittsburgh this season. In two starts, he has surrendered 10 hits and 8 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.
    On the road this season, Dempster is 2-2 with a 6.86 ERA

Sunday’s Starters

Paul Maholm (5-9, 3.08 ERA)
Previous Outing: Vs Houston Astros on July 4th
Stat Line: 6 IP – 5 H – 1 ER – 3 SO – 3 BB
    In two starts (1-0) against Chicago, Maholm has allowed 0 runs in 15 2/3 innings.
    Maholm is 4-4 at home with a 2.02 ERA (62 1/3 innings pitched)
Ramon Ortiz (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
Previous Outing: Vs Washington Nationals on July 5
Stat Line: 6 IP – 7 H – 2 ER – 7 SO – 3 BB
    With Carlos Zambrono on the DL, Ramon Ortiz allowed just two earned runs in six innings in his season debut on July 5th

Series Buzz

*The Pirates trail first place Milwaukee and St. Louis by one game in the NL Central
*Pittsburgh needs one victory in the series to go into the All-Star break with a winning record for the first time since 1992.
*That season (1992), Pittsburgh was 49-39 at the break. The Pirates went on to win 96 games that year.
*Last season, the Pirates did not collect their 46th win until September 6th, 2010.
*Pirates starters have 34 wins on the season, matching last year’s mark.
*The Pirates have outscored the Cubs 30-17 this season with all six games in Chicago.
The Pirates last season went 5-1 at home against the Cubs

Stats Watch

Andrew McCutchen (.291 – 12 HR – 48 RBI) is batting .333 in his last 10 games with 2 home runs, 9 RBI’s, 6 doubles and 1 triple. McCutchen ranks 5th in the NL in walks (47). McCutchen is hitting 7 for-19 (.368) with 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s against the Cubs this season….
Neil Walker (.258 – 8 HR – 58 RBI) is hitting .308 with 1 home run and 6 RBI’s in six games against the Cubs. Walker has not homered since June 5th, a span of 28 games…..
Lyle Overbay (.238 – 6 HR – 38 RBI) has hits in four straight games and is hitting .500 (8-for-16) during that span, with 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. Overbay is batting .273 with 1 home run and 4 RBI’s against the Cubs this year…..
Joel Hanrahan (25 saves) needs one save during the three game series to surpass Mike Williams for the most saves by a Pirates reliever before the All-Star break. Hanrahan who is 25-for-25 in save opportunities, has the most saves before the All-Star break without blowing one since Eric Gagne’s 31 with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003, according to STATS……
Aramis Ramirez (.298 – 14 HR – 49 RBI) is 22 for 55 (.400) with nine homers in his last 15 games. He went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI for the Cubs yesterday versus Washington.
Carlos Pena (.225 – 19 HR – 48 RBI) has homered in consecutive games….

Pirates Lineup 4:05 p.m.

1. Alex Presley, LF
2. Chase d’Arnaud, SS
3. Garrett Jones, RF
4. Andrew McCutchen, CF
5. Neil Walker, 2B
6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
7. Josh Harrison, 3B
8. Michael McKenry, C
9. James McDonald, P