Jon Lester (2-1, 4.55 ERA) vs. Chad Kuhl (1-1, 2.52 ERA)
The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates open up a three-game series on Tuesday at PNC Park. There isn’t much for the Pirates to play for at this point, but they can spoil a few seasons if they play well down the stretch.
The Cubs are likely going to cruise in the postseason, so doing that to them likely won’t be the easiest. They have a three-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals with a record of 20-14. Even if the Cubs lose the division, the playoffs are so expanded in this shortened season that they are probably in anyway.
The Cubs are coming off a four-game split against the Cincinnati Reds. They pounded the Reds by a score of 10-1 to win on Sunday. Everything went well for the Cubs, as Tyler Chatwood and Jose Quintana teamed up to be quite the duo. The offense came to play for the Cubs as well.
Everything came together for domination on both sides of the ball. Kyle Schwarber had himself a party at the plate. He went 2-for-5 with 5 RBI to lead the Cubs on the scoreboard. Leadoff man, Ian Happ, was effective too with 3 RBI on 2-for-5 hitting. Both of the losses for the Cubs in that series were close 6-5 decisions.
Before the Cubs take on the Cardinal for five games straight, they have a three-game series against the Pirates. This is the kind of matchup that they can’t afford to drop games in. The losses against inferior teams can add up by the end of a season. It’s imperative to beat up on the bad teams and not take them lightly when the situation is there.
The Bucs are 10-22 and nine games behind the Cubs for first in the NL Central. They’re coming off a hard-fought 6-5 loss against the Brewers. The Pirates battled, but came a run short after the Brewers scored a late run in the 8th. They were losers in three out of four games in that series.
Chad Kuhl, who has been a steady arm for the Pirates, will get the call on Tuesday. Jon Lester has been awfully hit and miss for the Cubs. He hasn’t been an ace, but was much better in his latest performance. Head below for our free Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates pick for September 1, 2020.
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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Prediction:
Jon Lester hasn’t been in ace form this season, nor was he last year. After holding his ERA below 4.00 in six straight seasons, Lester posted a 4.46 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 2019. That ended a lengthy streak of terrific success for Lester. He’s been trending along the same path as last season in 2020. Lester enters Tuesday with an ERA of 4.55 and 1.20 WHIP through six games and 31.2 innings. That said, Lester has been sharp in four out of his six starts.
Lester has given up 1 or no earned runs in four out of six performances, but has allowed 8 earned runs and 5 earned runs against the White Sox and Brewers. Depending on what games you’ve watched Lester pitch in, he’s been a totally different pitcher. In his most recent outing, Lester was on point with 1 earned run conceded against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. He’s been much more comfortable on the road versus Wrigley Field. Lester has an ERA of 1.13 and 0.84 WHIP through 16 innings on the road.
Chad Kuhl has been solid for the Pirates, as he goes into Tuesday with an ERA of 2.52 and 1.08 WHIP. In his first three seasons, Kuhl recorded an ERA of 4.20, 4.35, and 4.55, so he’s well on pace for his best year in the majors. That said, Kuhl lasted only 1.1 innings against the Cubs in his first start against them in 2020. The Cubs notched 2 hits and a run before Kuhl was pulled. They’ve done some damage against Kuhl with 16 runs in 83 at-bats. If the Cubs don’t take the Pirates lightly, they should succeed on Tuesday night at PNC Park.