Game 49: Pirates (22-26) @ Cubs (22-26)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates return to Chicago with a record identical to that of the Cubs. This is the second of two visits to Wrigley Fieldfor the Pirates this season, and you’ll remember that the team took two out of three in Chicago the opening weekend of the season. Pittsburgh has actually won 14 of the last 20 games played against the Cubs.

There is a chance that the Pirates could match (or surpass) their total number of road wins from 2010 by the end of this seven-game road trip (which ends on June 2). That fact is certainly a reminder of how bad last year was… but it also highlights how nice of a turnaround the Pirates have had on the road so far. With 13 wins this year, the Pirates would reach last year’s total of 17 with a 4-3 road trip. If they win at least five of the seven games, they’ll be in territory not touched since 2009.

Last year, the team won it’s 14th game on August 31.

Other news and notes for the day:

  • Manager Clint Hurdle is sticking to the lineup he used on Wednesday, a lineup that has Andrew McCutchen hitting third and Jose Tabata leading off. Steve Pearce is your No. 2 hitter again, though I’d expect a different second-hole hitter during the final two games of the series since the Cubs will counter with right-handed starters on Saturday and Sunday. Garrett Jones, perhaps?
  • The Pirates announced the signing of five Latin American players yesterday. You can find the names and details here.
  • Pedro Alvarez and Ross Ohlendorf have left the team and are in Bradenton, Fla., to continue their rehab work. Alvarez will “play” in extended Spring Training games so he can keep swinging the bat. “Play” will consist of hitting, but not running.
  • Could the Giants be interested in catcher Ryan Doumit? We’ll see what San Francisco’s next move is, but the Giants will definitely explore external options as they look to replace Buster Posey for the rest of (or most of) the year. Doumit has increased his trade value with his start to the season, and the fact that he is only under contract through the end of the season would be appealing to the Giants.
  • For those of you keeping a close eye on the upcoming Draft, I’d recommend you make this site one of your daily stops. Tons of analysis on potential draft picks, positional rankings and draft projections. The Pirates will have the No. 1 overall selection on June 6.
  • For those who might have missed it, here are links to two feature stories from pirates.com this week. The first took a look at Kevin Correia’s journey over the past year, with particular emphasis on what he took from his brother’s tragic death in 2010. The second highlights the one-year mark of Neil Walker’s 2010 call-up and the significant events that led him to immediate Major League success.
  • Outfielder Alex Presley continues to lead the International League in hits. He enters Friday with 60 in 47 games.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), S. Pearce (3B), A. McCutchen (CF), N. Walker (2B), M. Diaz (RF), C. Snyder (C), L. Overbay (1B), R. Cedeno (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

CUBS: K. Fukodome (RF), D. Barney (2B), S. Castro (SS), A. Ramirez (3B), C. Pena (1B), A. Soriano (LF), T. Campana (CF), K. Hill (C), D. Davis (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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