Pittsburgh Pirates (44-45, fourth in the NL Central) vs. Chicago Cubs (47-43, first in the NL Central)

Chicago; Friday, 2 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Pirates: Chris Archer (3-6, 5.49 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 88 strikeouts) Cubs: Yu Darvish (2-4, 5.01 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 111 strikeouts)

BOTTOM LINE: Chicago hosts Pittsburgh to begin a three game series.

The Cubs are 15-16 against opponents from the NL Central. The Chicago pitching staff has a team ERA of 4.12, Kyle Hendricks leads the staff with a mark of 3.49.

The Pirates are 18-18 against teams from the NL Central. Pittsburgh leads the National League in hitting with a .271 batting average, Bryan Reynolds leads the team with an average of .347.

TOP PERFORMERS: Javier Baez leads the Cubs with 22 home runs and is batting .289. Victor Caratini is 6-for-17 with three home runs and seven RBIs over the last 10 games for Chicago.

Josh Bell leads the Pirates with 102 hits and is batting .302. Adam Frazier is 20-for-40 with seven doubles, a home run and seven RBIs over the last 10 games for Pittsburgh.

LAST 10 GAMES: Cubs: 4-6, .264 batting average, 5.85 ERA, outscored by six runs

Pirates: 6-4, .312 batting average, 4.35 ERA, outscored opponents by 18 runs

Cubs Injuries: Allen Webster: 60-day IL (hand), Brandon Morrow: 60-day IL (elbow), Cole Hamels: 10-day IL (oblique), Kendall Graveman: 60-day IL (elbow), Carl Edwards Jr.: 10-day IL (shoulder), Xavier Cedeno: 10-day IL (wrist).

Pirates Injuries: Jameson Taillon: 60-day IL (elbow), Edgar Santana: 60-day IL (elbow), Chad Kuhl: 60-day IL (elbow), Keone Kela: 60-day IL (shoulder), Rookie Davis: 10-day IL (finger/forearm), Nick Burdi: 60-day IL (biceps), Steven Brault: 10-day IL (shoulder), Gregory Polanco: 10-day IL (shoulder), Corey Dickerson: day-to-day (groin), Lonnie Chisenhall: 60-day IL (finger), Erik Gonzalez: 60-day IL (collarbone), Francisco Cervelli: 10-day IL (concussion).

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The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.

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