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Monday's scouting report: Cubs at Pirates

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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, June 9, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Pirates beat reporter Rob Biertempfel'sinside look at Monday's game:

• In 12 career starts vs. the Pirates, Edwin Jackson is 6-2 with a 3.63 ERA, and has gotten 49 strikeouts in 69 innings. Those figures include two no-decisions and a 6.30 ERA in his first two starts this season. Over his 12-year career, Jackson has proven to be pretty durable. He's made 30 or more starts in each of the past seven seasons, one of just eight pitchers to do so. Jackson is one of just four pitches to make 30-plus starts over seven seasons by age 30 (also: Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander).

• Charlie Morton's start was pushed back a day, manager Clint Hurdle said, to let him “refine his delivery and refocus his commitment to the sinker.” Morton has been below his season-average 55 percent ground-ball rate in two of his past four starts. He's also had a BAbip in his recent outings vs. the Padres (.300), Nationals (.313), Yankees (.316) and Cardinals (.333). Last week vs. the Padres, 28 percent of Morton's pitches were curveballs, his second-highest rate all season.

The Buzz

Gregory Polanco went into this season with only 242 at-bats above Class A, and GM Neal Huntington wanted a larger sample size before triggering a callup. Polanco went into Sunday's action batting .350 in 243 at-bats with Triple-A Indianapolis. “In an ideal world, we'd like to get him some more plate appearances down there,” Huntington said. “What he's doing is making us feel comfortable with shortening that time frame a little bit.”

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