Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview & Prediction

We've got an NL Central showcase on our hands in tonight's NL Wild Card Game, as the Chicago Cubs prepare to take on the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates in front of thousands and thousands of screaming Buccos fans at PNC Park. First pitch is at 8:08pm EST on TBS. Who's got the edge? Here's our preview & prediction for tonight's contest.

Starting Pitchers:

Jake Arrieta (CHC) [22-6, 1.77 ERA] vs. Gerrit Cole (PIT) [19-8, 2.60 ERA]

Starting Lineups:

Chicago Cubs

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Pittsburgh Pirates

RF Gregory Polanco 
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Key To The Game:

Some of the upcoming Division Series Game 1 matchups may get more love from the casual fan, but you're not going to get a better pitching duel this postseason than Jake Arrieta vs. Gerrit Cole. Arrieta has given up a "WTFOMG" FOUR earned runs over his last 12 starts (88.1 innings). Cole has emerged as the ace Pittsburgh knew he was going to be all along. If either team is going to break through offensively in this game, it'll have to be early before this guys get into Terminator killing rhythm.

Prediction: Cubs win 3-1

There's no way that Arrieta's historic two-month stretch ends here. He goes eight strong in this one, giving up a barely-scratched across run. Either Rizzo or Bryant get a big blast on the other side, and the Cubs head to St. Louis for one of the best/most entertaining NLDS matchups we've seen in years.

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Related Topics: Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta, Cubs News, 2015 MLB Playoffs, Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, NL Wild Card Game, Pirates News