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Scouting Monday's Pirates-Cubs game

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vs. Cubs

8:05 p.m. Wrigley Field, Chicago

TV/radio: Root Sports/93.7 FM, 1450 AM, 1480 AM, Pirates Radio Network

Probable pitchers: Pirates RHP Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.35) vs. Cubs RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.42)

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Charlie Morton needs to get back his split-changeup to combat left-handed hitters. Morton has been a two-pitch pitcher — sinker and curveball — for much of the season without an offering to neutralize left-handed hitters. Lefties are hitting .310 against Morton this season, righties .226. Morton has had little confidence in the changeup, but the Cubs stacked the lineup with six left-handed batters against Morton earlier this month (5 IP, 3 ER).

• Jeff Samardzija has authored two excellent starts against the Pirates this season and two shaky ones, but he has held current Pirates to a .213 batting average over 155 combined career at-bats. Samardzija's fastball averages 94.5 mph, one of the top average velocities in baseball.

The Buzz

The Reds' Billy Hamilton has impacted the NL Central race with three game-tying or winning runs and 11 steals, the most steals in baseball, since being called up Sept. 3.

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