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The Rejuvenated Bucs Battle First Place Cubs

Fresh off a few big deals at the deadline, the Pirates will begin a two game series against Chicago.

July 31, 2018 - 6:04 pm

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Following an exciting end to the trade deadline, the Pirates will begin a quick two game series against Chicago tonight at home. The Pirates (55-52) enter Tuesday having won seven of their first 10 games out of the All Star break and are only 3.5 games out of the second National League wild card spot, while the Cubs (61-44) are currently in sole possession of first place of the NL Central division. The Pirates are in third place in the NL central, 7.0 games behind Chicago.

On the mound this evening for the Bucs will be right hander Jameson Taillon. In 21 starts this season, Taillon has gone 7-8 with a 3.73 earned run average. Taillon has allowed just four earned runs in his last 18.1 innings of work. Dating back to June 1, his ERA of 2.97 is the seventh best in the NL. In his last time out, Taillon was the hard luck loser in a pitchers dual against Cleveland Indians all-star, Trevor Bauer allowing just two earned runs on seven hits while striking out five in 7.0 innings of work in the Bucs 4-0 loss on July 25. In his five career starts against the Cubs, Taillon has a record of 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA.

Opposing Taillon will be veteran left hander, Jon Lester. In 21 starts this season, Lester has gone 12-3 with a 3.06 ERA. In his last time out, Lester was dealt a no decision in the Cubs 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks after going 6.0+ and allowing just one run on four hits on July 25. Lester has a 7-5 record in his 15 career starts against the Pirates with a 3.39 ERA.

Prior to the end of the Major League trade deadline, the Pirates made a big splash twice on Tuesday acquiring right handed closer Keone Kela from the Texas Rangers in the early hours of the morning and then getting Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer in the final hour. Neither Kela or Archer are currently with the club but both are expected to join the team soon.

Following their game against the Cubs this evening, the Pirates will once again take on Chicago to wrap up their two game set. After a day off on Thursday, the Bucs will then begin a three game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at home this weekend.