Scouting Thursday's Pirates-Cubs game
Published: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Pirates beat reporter Rob Biertempfel 's inside look at Thursday's game:
• Walks continue to be a problem for Jeff Locke. The left-hander is averaging 4.6 walks per nine innings this season, compared to 2.9 last year. Locke's strikeout-to-walk ratio has plummeted from 3.09 last year to 1.46 this year. Over seven seasons in the minors, Locke had a 2.5 BB/9 and 3.35 SO/BB. In his last outing against the Cubs on June 9, Locke issued a career-high seven walks — but he also allowed only one hit and got a no-decision.
• The Cubs have 33 road wins, which is 10 more than all of last season. They will play 13 of their final 19 games on the road. Chicago went 14-21 in its first 35 games away from Wrigley Field this year. Since then, the Cubs are 19-16 on the road — the second-best mark in the National League behind the Dodgers (27-9).
• Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura met with some of the Pirates before Tuesday's game. Bench coach Jeff Banister was at the front of the handshake line. “I'm a big fan of his,” Banister said. “I've met his father (George H. W. Bush) and spoken with him a few times before. Not many people get to meet even one president. So to see two is great.”
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