Paul Maholm has a gaudy record against the Chicago Cubs,
although he hasn’t always pitched well to achieve it. This season,
he has dominated Chicago.
Maholm has thrown 15 2-3 scoreless innings for the Pittsburgh
Pirates against the Cubs in 2011 heading into Sunday’s matchup at
Pittsburgh (46-43) has ensured a winning record at the All-Star
break for the first time since 1992, when it went 49-39 en route to
a third consecutive NL East title. The Pirates haven’t won often
with Maholm (5-9, 3.08 ERA) on the roster, but that hasn’t been a
problem for him against the Cubs.
The left-hander is 8-2 despite a 5.30 ERA in 15 career outings
Maholm has been sharp this year in two starts versus the Cubs,
yielding eight hits. He did not get a decision after pitching 6 2-3
innings in a 5-3 loss April 2, but notched his fifth career
complete game with a three-hitter May 28 in a 10-0 rout.
Aramis Ramirez is 0 for 5 and Alfonso Soriano has a double in
six at-bats against him this year. Those hitters gave him trouble
previously, with Ramirez going 10 for 30 with two homers before
2011 and Soriano at 8 for 28 with four homers and four walks.
Maholm is 4-2 with a 2.41 ERA in his last eight outings, a
stretch that began with the shutout against the Cubs. He yielded
three runs – one earned – over six innings to get credit for
Monday’s 5-3 victory over Houston.
The Pirates lost 6-3 Saturday, missing a chance to forge a
three-way tie atop the NL Central. They won 7-4 in Friday’s opener,
and haven’t lost a series since they were swept at Cleveland from
Andrew McCutchen went 0 for 3 on Saturday, but walked to extend
his streaks of reaching base to 22 straight games at home and 23 in
a row against the Cubs. McCutchen was named to the NL All-Star team
earlier in the day to replace injured Milwaukee star Ryan
Chicago (37-54) owns the majors’ second-worst record, but the
Cubs have been competitive lately. The club’s last 12 games have
each been decided by three runs or fewer, with Chicago losing seven
The team’s latest victory, though, was overshadowed by starter
Ryan Dempster’s argument with manager Mike Quade when he was lifted
for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth inning. Dempster flung
some equipment in the dugout.
“We won the game, and that’s all that matters,” Dempster said.
“So I think anyone who’s competitive, you always want to be out
there. But at the end of the day, getting W’s is all that
Ramon Ortiz (0-1, 3.00) will make his second start for Chicago
since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Iowa before
Tuesday’s game at Washington. Ortiz gave up three runs over six
innings in a 3-2 loss to the Nationals.
The veteran right-hander hasn’t started against the Pirates
since 2006. He allowed two runs – one earned – over four innings in
three relief appearances against them last season with the
Lyle Overbay has the most experience of any Pittsburgh hitter
against Ortiz, going 7 for 19 with two homers. Overbay is 10 for 22
with four RBIs over his last six games.