MLB InGame Preview: Cubs at Pirates / Nats at O’s

MLB InGame Showdowns

Another two games are set for InGame action.  A maximum of 5 swaps are allowed in this contest with play time of 5 consecutive minutes necessary before a starting player can be benched. Each entry will receive 2 Power Multiplier which can be applied to any starting player to receive 2x points for a duration of 15 minutes respectively. Check out the matchups previews below and play for free.

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Cubs at Pirates Preview

The Chicago Cubs – and especially star first baseman Anthony Rizzo – aren’t making any friends during their three-game road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Rizzo and the Cubs will try to wrap up a sweep of the slumping Pirates when the series concludes Wednesday.

A day after angering the Pirates and their fans by making contact with catcher Elias Diaz on a controversial slide to break up a double play, Rizzo homered to set off a three-run seventh inning in Chicago’s 8-6 win Tuesday. Although Rizzo was ruled safe on the slide and the call was upheld after a replay review, Major League Baseball said Tuesday that the slide was not legal and Rizzo should have been called out. The three-time All-Star first baseman was booed in each of his at-bats Wednesday, but he went 2-for-3 with a double and a home run to help send Pittsburgh to its fourth straight loss and its ninth in 11 games. The Cubs have won three straight overall and four in a row on the road.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, NBCS Chicago, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (4-3, 3.16 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Joe Musgrove (1-0, 0.00)

Hendricks has posted quality starts in five of his last six outings and seven of his 10 starts this season. The 28-year-old was dominant last time out, striking out seven and allowing only two hits, including a solo homer, over seven innings to beat San Francisco. Hendricks is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts against the Pirates, including a 2-0 mark and a 3.00 ERA in five outings at PNC Park.

Musgrove was outstanding in his first big-league start of the season Friday against St. Louis, striking out seven and allowing five hits over seven scoreless innings. The 25-year-old bounced between the bullpen and the rotation with Houston the past two seasons but had more success as a reliever. He is 9-12 with a 5.11 ERA in 26 career starts, including a loss to the Cubs in 2016.

WALK-OFFS

1. Rizzo is 15-for-42 with two homers and 14 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak.

2. Pittsburgh RF Gregory Polanco has been out of the lineup the past two games while he is mired in an 0-for-16 slump, but he should be back Wednesday, as he is 10-for-25 with two homers versus Hendricks.

3. Pirates C Francisco Cervelli (illness) missed his third straight start Tuesday.

Nationals at Orioles Preview

Bryce Harper looks to build off a potential slump-busting performance as his Washington Nationals go for a three-game sweep in the Beltway Series when they visit the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. Harper launched a solo homer in the first inning and added a pair of singles – after going 3-for-20 with 12 strikeouts over the previous five games – in Washington’s 3-2 victory on Tuesday.

Harper leads the National League with 17 homers despite batting just .238 while 19-year-old rookie outfielder Juan Soto is starting to make an impact after going 8-for-15 with three doubles in the last four games for the Nationals, who have won five straight. Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer has won seven straight decisions and goes for his 150th career victory Wednesday when he takes the mound for Washington against Baltimore rookie David Hess. The Orioles have cooled off with the bats again, managing just six runs during a four-game losing streak after leaving two runners on base in the ninth inning during Tuesday’s loss. Manny Machado belted his 16th homer in the setback – his first in eight games – for Baltimore and has hit safely in four straight despite his batting average slipping slightly to .326.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), MASN (Baltimore)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Max Scherzer (8-1, 2.13 ERA) vs. Orioles RH David Hess (2-1, 4.15)

Scherzer had his streak of eight straight quality starts halted at Miami last Friday when he allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings in a victory. The 33-year-old Missouri product, who boasts a National League-leading 108 strikeouts along with just 18 walks, also saw a run of 10 straight games giving up two or fewer earned runs end. Adam Jones is 13-for-29 with four homers versus Scherzer, who is 5-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 10 career games against the Orioles.

Hess earned his second win in three starts last Friday when he permitted four hits and three walks across 6 2/3 scoreless innings to beat Tampa Bay. The 24-year-old Tennessee native blanked the Rays in 11 2/3 frames during two wins after surrendering a three-run homer to Matt Duffy in the first inning on May 12 in his major league debut. Hess has struck out 10 and walked five over 17 1/3 innings overall while opponents have smacked four homers against him.

WALK-OFFS

1. Jones had a pair of hits with an RBI on Tuesday and is batting .325 in 50 career games against the Nationals.

2. Washington SS Trea Turner is 13-for-46 with seven RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak.

3. Orioles OF/DH Mark Trumbo had two hits Tuesday and is 6-for-10 in his last three contests, improving his batting average to .310.

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