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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Free Pick - 9/23/13

Pittsburgh Pirates (89-67) at Chicago Cubs (65-91)

MLB Baseball: Monday, September 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm (Wrigley Field)

Charlie Morton (R) (7-4) (3.353) vs. Jeff Samardzija (R) (8-12) (4.418)

The Line: Chicago Cubs +115 / Pittsburgh Pirates -125 --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ROOT-Pittsburgh, CSN-Chicago

The Pittsburgh Pirates travel to Wrigley Field to keep their NL Central title hopes alive versus the Chicago Cubs.

Pittsburgh had their shot at taking over second in the National League Central dashed before an 11-3 loss to Cincinnati on Monday that left them tied for second in the division. The Buccos offense has been struggling to score some runs and that trend continued Sunday, which turned out to be a disaster when the work on the mound was subpar. Starter Jeff Locke was hammered for five runs in just one inning with the pen unable to regain control. That was game over, with the bats producing only five hits, with Travis Snyder and Neil Walker clubbing home runs. The Pirates pin their hopes of a win at Wrigley Field on Charlie Morton on Monday. Morton is coming in off a 3-2 loss (ND) to visiting San Diego, where he allowed a single run over eight innings.

Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Free Pick - 9/23/13

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Cubs have been out of the postseason conversation since May, as neither the work on the mound or at the plate has been consistently competitive over the long haul. The Cubs have dropped eight of eleven, following a 5-2 loss to the visiting Braves on Sunday. Edwin Jackson has struggled for most of the year but tossed a winnable game with three runs given up over six innings which was still to much with the bats struggling. The Cubs totaled eight hits and didn't get a walk with Dioner Navarro and Starlin Castro driving in the runs with the Cubs missing out on a few opportunities. Chicago charges Jeff Samardzija with slowing the Pittsburgh playoff hopes in the series opener. Samardzija didn't get a decision in a 4-3 loss at Miller Park with three runs plated in seven frames.

The Cubs might be buried in the standings, but they could eliminate the Pirates from the NL Central race, which isn't out of the question with the way Pirates are hitting...

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