Pirates' Brault makes first 2017 start vs. Cubs

Ruben Hill
September 7, 2017

The Pittsburgh Pirates look for another win after splitting their last eight games.

Arrieta is 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break, and he has won his last four decisions. But they don't hand out style points at the end of the year, just trophies. However, late Monday, Arrieta didn't believe he would miss a start.

Jake Arrieta has noted he expects to make his next start, following what manager Joe Maddon referred to as "kind of a cramp". The Cubs are already using a six-man rotation, so they have the depth to be careful with Arrieta. It really shouldn't come as a surprise, though, as history has shown us World Series winners don't often have smooth rides the following season. The Cubs get the victory and build their division lead.

Shortstop Addison Russell (foot) has been out a month, but his replacement, Javier Baez, has played the best baseball of his career. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks over 6 2/3 innings his last start, a 6-2 home win over the Braves.

After catcher Willson Contreras (hamstring) went down in early August, the combination of Alex Avila and Rene Rivera stepped up admirably.

Arrieta's second-half surge has helped shake the defending World Series champions from a funk. The left-handed Brault is making his first start of the season after six relief appearances, the last two coming against Chicago.

Arrieta was checked out by the Pirates' physicians and said that an MRI exam may be required after a re-evaluation on Tuesday, but he is optimistic that he will be able to make his regular turn in the rotation. They've done it all season.

The Cubs described Arrieta's ailment as tightness after he left Monday's 12-0 humbling by the Pirates following a pitch to rookie slugger Josh Bell with one out in the third inning.

"Other than that, we didn't hit too well", Maddon said, half laughing, about Monday's shutout. "Grabbed mid-hamstring. Tightened up pretty good. Throughout the course of the game, it was a lot of hard-hit balls and a lot of good defense".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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