The Chicago Cubs have the most talent in the National League Central, but they are in a close fight with multiple other teams to win the division crown. The Cubs are trying to pull away from the Brewers and Cardinals down the stretch. They have a chance to pick up a much-needed win on Sunday in a matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates were on the periphery of the N.L. Central race several weeks ago but have since dropped like a rock and are now out of contention. Pittsburgh’s role will be reduced to spoiler the rest of the way, but it could have a large impact on the playoff fortunes of their N.L. Central foes.
This MLB game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates will be held at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 18th, 2019. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
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The Cubs have a record of 64-57 on the season. They have not been great of late, with six losses in their past 10 outings, which has allowed the Cardinals to catch up with them in the standings, while the Brewers are also lurking.
The Pirates are 50-70 this season. They have hit a serious tailspin with eight losses in their past 10 games, ending any hopes of a surprise playoff run. Pittsburgh has a record of 24-32 on the year at home and is at least hoping to give the crowd something to cheer about in this one.
Chicago is projected to send left-hander Jose Quintana to the hill. He is 10-7 on the season with a 4.11 ERA. Quintana was fantastic last time out, allowing only one earned run while striking out 14 in six innings of work against the Phillies. Quintana has only allowed four earned runs combined over his past three outings and is aiming for that to continue in this one.
The Pirates are expected to counter with right-hander Mitch Keller. He has started four games this season and the results for the 23-year-old have not been good. Keller has allowed 15 earned runs in 17 innings pitched with a WHIP of 2.00. However, Keller has looked much better of late, giving giving up only three earned runs over his past two outings, spanning 10 innings of work.
38. That’s the number of losses for the Cubs on the road through Thursday’s action, which has been a huge detriment to the team’s ability to pull away from the pack. Chicago is 15 games under .500 away from home and has to turn that around down the stretch. The Cubs are talented enough to win anywhere, so it has been a surprise to see such huge struggles on the road.
Quintana is the better pitcher and Chicago has the superior lineup, so it would not be a surprise to see the Cubs favored in this game. However, the location has to be taken into account because of all the issues to this point in 2019.
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Chicago’s road woes will abate, at least for one day. Quintana has found a really nice groove and he should continue that hot streak against the Pirates. The Cubs offense got a recent boost from the acquisition of Nick Castellanos and should do well against the inexperienced Keller. This game might not be competitive, as the Cubs are clearly superior.
MLB Pick: Cubs 6, Pirates 3
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