Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park
TV: Comcast SportsNet Friday and Saturday; WGN Sunday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Travis Wood (4-11) vs. A.J. Burnett (15-5) Friday at 6:05 p.m.; Jeff Samardzija (8-13) vs. James McDonald (12-7) Saturday at 6:05 p.m.; Chris Rusin (0-2) vs. Jeff Locke (0-1) Sunday at 12:35 p.m.
At a glance: Even though the Pirates (72-64) are poised for their first winning season since 1992, they'll have to keep winning to get into the playoffs, even as the second wild card. They were off Thursday, and they entered the day fourth in the overall wild-card picture, 1½ games out of the second spot. Andrew McCutchen is an MVP candidate with a line of .345/.408/.561 with 24 homers, 83 RBI and a league-leading 172 hits. Teammate Pedro Alvarez has 24 homers. The Pirates were sixth in the NL in team ERA (3.78), while the Cubs entered Thursday night's game at Washington 14th (4.55). Pittsburgh was fourth in team homers (147), while the Cubs were 13th (115). Travis Wood has not won since July 6. He is 2-3 with a 5.59 ERA lifetime against the Bucs.
Next: Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, Monday-Wednesday
-- Bruce Miles