By Chris Emma–
(CBS) So, it all comes down to this. Just one game between the Cubs and Pirates will decide who moves on to the NLDS. One team wins, another goes home in Wednesday’s NL wild-card game at PNC Park.READ MORE: State Reps LaShawn Ford And Fran Hurley To Host Crime Summit at UIC
The Cubs are sending their Cy Young candidate, Jake Arrieta, to the mound. Arrieta has been historically dominant in recent weeks. But the Pirates have their own ace on the mound, too.
Gerrit Cole has been tremendous for Pittsburgh, boasting a 19-8 record, a 2.60 ERA and striking out 202 hitters. Just about any of Cole’s numbers and metrics speak to his spectacular season.
How do the Cubs match up with the Pirates’ star hurler? Let’s take a look.
CF Dexter Fowler: 3-14 (.214), 4 Ks, 1 BB — Getting the leadoff man on base is important for any team. Fowler has reached just four times against Cole. He needs to be a jump-start for the top of the order.
OF Kyle Schwarber: 1-5 (.200), 1 K, 1 BB — Welcome to playoff baseball, rookie. Now, here’s Cole. While Schwarber hasn’t seemed one bit out of place in the big leagues, this is a new challenge.
3B/OF Kris Bryant: 3-9 (.333), 6 Ks, 2 BB — A strikeout pitcher against a hitter prone to striking out — this matchup has gone as expected, with Bryant getting his hits but grabbing some bench more often.READ MORE: Multiple Juveniles Arrested After Large Gathering, Fights Near Millennium Park
1B Anthony Rizzo: 6-17 (.353), 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 Ks, 2 BB — Rizzo has seen success against Cole, and his big bat in the cleanup spot could bring the Cubs something good on Wednesday.
INF Starlin Castro: 6-17 (.353), 4 RBIs, 4 Ks, 1 BB — It’s likely that Castro gets the nod over Javier Baez to start at second base, not only because of his hot bat in September but the prior success against Cole.
C Miguel Montero: 3-5 (.600), 1 RBI, 1 K — In a small sample size, Montero has been productive against Cole.
OF Jorge Soler: 2-7 (.286), 2 Ks — While it remains to be seen if Soler will get the starting nod, the right fielder has a pair of hits and strikeouts against Cole.
P Jake Arrieta: 0-0 (.000) — Hey, Arrieta has a pair of homers this season. Never say never.
SS Addison Russell: 2-7 (.286), 1 RBI, 2 Ks — The Cubs’ rookie shortstop has a couple hits in that important ninth spot that Joe Maddon values.MORE NEWS: Kenosha Man Shot, Killed In North Chicago
Others: INF Javier Baez: 1-6 (.167), 1 HR, 3 Ks; INF/OF Chris Coghlan: 2-13 (.154), 1 RBI, 5 Ks; OF Chris Denorfia: 3-6, 1 2B, 1 BB; INF Jonathan Hererra: 0-2 (.000); INF Tommy La Stella: 1-6 (.167) 1 2B; C David Ross: 0-5 (.000), 3 Ks; OF Austin Jackson: No career at-bats vs. Cole.