Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field
TV: WGN Friday and Sunday; Comcast SportsNet Saturday and Monday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Chris Rusin (0-2) vs. James McDonald (12-7) Friday at 1:20 p.m.; Jason Berken (0-0) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (10-13) Saturday at 12:05 p.m.; Chris Volstad (3-10) vs. Jeff Locke (0-1) Sunday at 1:20 p.m.; Travis Wood (6-11) vs. Kevin Correia (10-9) Monday at 7:05 p.m.
At a glance: The Cubs swept the Pirates in three last weekend in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are fading fast. They're 72-70 and were 2½ games out of a wild-card spot entering Thursday. The Cubs could see the returns of center fielder Brett Jackson (knee) and first baseman Anthony Rizzo (neck and upper back) in the series opener. Andrew McCutchen paces the Pirates with a line of .340/.406/.559 with 26 homers and 85 RBI. For those who like advanced stats, he leads the NL in wins above replacement (WAR), at 6.5. Pedro Alvarez has 27 homers for the Bucs. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro hit in nine of 10 games on the just-concluded road trip. Jason Berken starts Saturday in place of Jeff Samardzija, who has been shut down for the season because of innings pitched.
Next: Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field, Tuesday-Thursday
-- Bruce Miles