Today, the Pirates entered the Fields of Dreams to face Ted Williams, Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Johnny Bench, and Greg Maddux. As you would expect, they did not come out victorious.
There is nobody hotter and better than the Chicago Cubs at this moment. Coming into this game they were 25-8 with an incredible +99 run differential. To put this in perspective, the 2nd best team in the majors is the Boston Red Sox with a +58 run differential, and they had scored 11 more runs than the Cubs to date.
What seemed like good luck at first was the fact that Francisco Liriano was pitching today and has owned the Cubs for his career. In 11 starts, he is 5-2 with a 2.27 ERA. That means in 67.1 innings, he has allowed just 17 earned runs. Well, today that didn’t go so well. In just 4.2 innings, he allowed more than half of his career total. The eight earned today ballooned his ERA to a 4.99 on the season as well.
The game actually started out pretty well. Liriano was cruising through the lineup doing his thing. Through three, he struck out five batters. Then the 4th inning came and it was goodnight Pirates. Liriano allowed a three run shot to Addison Russell that scored Ben Zobrist and Jorge Soler. While pitching in the 5th inning, Liriano allowed two more homers. This time, Kris Bryant and David Ross would each hit a two run shot and blow the game wide open.
On the bright side, Pittsburgh offense did make its presence today. Andrew McCutchen, who has been heating up recently, lead the way with three hits – one being a 353 ft shot. Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco also joined the hit parade with two a piece, and the team had 11 in total.
Tomorrow, the Pirates resume the Cubs series as Jeff Locke (4.68 ERA) will face Cy Young himself, Jake Arrieta (1.13 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 2:20 PM at Wrigley Field. The good news in this game is that Locke has pitched three straight quality starts to a tune of a 2.84 ERA, while Arrieta is coming off of his worst performance of the year allowing six hits and four walks in 5 innings while giving up three runs (two earned).