Scouting Sunday's Pirates-Cubs game
Pirates beat reporter Rob Biertempfel's inside look at Sunday's game:
• Pirates infielder Jordy Mercer had a career-high four hits Tuesday against the Rangers. Since the All-Star break, Mercer is batting .311 (41 for 132), the third-best mark on the team behind Andrew McCutchen (.373) and Gaby Sanchez (.316). Over his first dozen career games against the Cubs, Mercer hit .250 with .715 OPS.
• Cubs rookie OF Junior Lake appeared in his 51st game Friday and struck out as a pinch-hitter to snap a nine-game hitting streak. In his brief career, Lake already has four hitting streaks of seven games or more — making him the only active big leaguer to begin his career in that fashion. According to Elias, two active players had similar starts. In 2001, Ichiro Suzuki had streaks of 23 and 15 games, which amounts to four seven-game streaks. In 2000, Juan Pierre had a 16-gamer and a 15-gamer, which amounts to four seven-game streaks.
• During a recent Fox Sports West telecast, viewers were asked to vote on which team they'd like to see the Dodgers face in the National League Division Series. The Pirates garnered more than 70 percent of the vote.