Looking to secure their first series victory in almost two weeks, the Cubs try for a second straight win over the last-place Pirates on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.
Alfonso Soriano(notes) hit a pair of solo homers and Ted Lilly(notes) pitched seven strong innings in a 3-1 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Chicago (34-43) is 3-8 against the Pirates this season and lost the first two games in each of the teams’ three previous series matchups of 2010.
Chicago has scored three runs or fewer in seven of its last eight games. The Cubs are 7-32 when scoring three runs or less this year.
“I know they’re working at it,” Lilly said. “I’m sure they’re frustrated. It’s one of those things when you’re going through that sometimes the less you talk about it the better and the more just try to concentrate on adjustments you’re better off.”
Soriano has been one of the few productive Cubs of late, batting .387 in his last nine contests. He has three home runs in as many games.
Chicago is in position for its first series win since June 15-17.
Tom Gorzelanny(notes) (2-5, 3.41 ERA) will try to help the Cubs reach that elusive goal as he makes his first start since May 26. He replaces Carlos Zambrano(notes), who is on the restricted list to get treatment for anger issues.
Gorzelanny, who has made six relief appearances in June, is 2-5 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts this season.
“It’s easier being a starter, because I know what my day consists of and I know what I have to do that day,” the left-hander told the Cubs’ official website.
The former Pirate allowed five runs in five innings and didn’t get a decision in a 10-6 loss to Pittsburgh on May 14.
The Pirates (26-51) are dealing with offensive issues of their own, having scored five runs in four games.
Andrew McCutchen(notes) and Garrett Jones(notes) continued their success against Chicago pitching this season with three hits Tuesday. McCutchen is 16 for 36 (.444) against the Cubs while Jones is 16 for 41 (.390).
Lincoln gave up five runs in six innings of a 14-4 loss at Oakland on Friday. Manager John Russell would like to see the right-hander attack the strike zone more.
“It’s something I have to take on myself,” Lincoln told the Pirates’ official website. “To stop teams… to not let them score. It’s something I’m not getting done right now.”