Juan Mata and Ander Herrera have got that understanding, | Forum

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corse178 Sep 13 '17, 05:09
Joe Maddon isnt surprised by the Chicago Cubs recent slump. Cheap Astros Jerseys .Weve lost some games, and things arent going well right now, the Cubs manager said Thursday prior to a trip to Pittsburgh for a three-game series against the Pirates. Its just our turn, and weve got to fight through it. Like Winston Churchill once said, when youre going through hell, just keep on going.The Cubs opened the season with the best start in more than a century, climbing as high as 27 games above .500 and building a 12 1/2-game lead in the National League Central at one point.Since June 5, however, the Cubs are 13-18 with seven losses in eight games following a rain-delayed, 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at Wrigley Field.I think there are long-term dividends attached to all of this stuff, Maddon said. A lot of the young guys getting more at-bats than we had thought at this time in the year -- guys like (catcher Willson) Contreras being forced into a more significant moment in July as opposed to maybe in September. Its just going to benefit him and us.The Cubs have used five rookies in recent weeks, all of whom joined the team in roughly the last month.Outfielder and leadoff batter Dexter Fowler, the catalyst to many first half wins, is on the disabled list along with backup catcher David Ross, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list this week.Cubs starting pitching -- notably the big three of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey -- have struggled of late, but they look to close the first half with positive performances.Arrieta (12-3, 2.33 ERA) gets the first crack in the series opener Friday when he faces left-hander Francisco Liriano (5-8, 5.34 ERA). Arrieta is 9-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 12 career starts against Pittsburgh.Liriano is 0-2 against Chicago this year. He lost a 9-4 decision at Wrigley Field on May 13 and a 6-0 decision to Arrieta on June 17. He is 5-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 13 all-time starts against the Cubs.Lester goes on Saturday, and he will have Contreras behind the plate after Ross went disabled list. Lackey wraps up the series on Sunday.Chad Kuhl will start for the Pirates on Saturday, and Jon Niese will pitch Sunday.The Cubs division lead is hardly in jeopardy at eight games over the St. Louis Cardinals and 8 1/2 over Pittsburgh. However, the race could tighten further against a surging Pirates team.Three weeks ago, the Pirates were 15 games behind Chicago following a three-game Cubs sweep at Wrigley Field. Pittsburgh appeared on the verge of slipping out of contention, generating speculation it would write off the season and sell off players to contending teams.The Pirates instead turned the season around. Pittsburgh is 10-3 since June 24 and had won seven straight until a 5-1 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday at Busch Stadium.However, even the series-ending defeat was encouraging, as rookie Tyler Glasnow impressed in his big league debut. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on three hits, struck out five and walked two.He became the second Pirates pitcher to make his major league debut in three days, joining Steven Brault, who had a four-inning no-decision on Tuesday.The Cubs wont see either during the series.Pirates pitching had the lowest ERA (2.64) in the major leagues between June 25 and Wednesday. An improved bullpen has also been a significant element, led by closer Mark Melancon, who has converted each of his past 22 save situations dating back to April 27.The bullpens been incredible, thats tremendous, left-hander Jeff Locke said after he worked four innings Wednesday in the Pirates 7-5 win over the Cardinals. To hand the ball over to those guys -- youd like to go further into the game than that, but every day cant be Christmas. Cheap MLB Jerseys . -- If Henry Burris has his way, he will be the starting quarterback to lead the Hamilton Tiger-Cats back to the Grey Cup next year. Cheap Astros Jerseys Authentic . -- Jaye Marie Green shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday to increase her lead to five strokes after the second round of the LPGA Tours qualifying tournament. http://www.cheapastrosjerseys.com/ . The Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, and Texas Rangers all won on Sunday meaning the Rangers will host the Rays in a play-in game on Monday.Graeme Souness was disappointed by Arsenals cautious approach during their 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Saturday. Olivier Girouds 89th-minute header salvaged a point for the Gunners at Old Trafford, cancelling out Juan Matas opener.Souness said Arsenal, who scored with their only effort on target, have reason to take positives considering they battled back for a draw, but felt they could have been more expansive. Man Utd 1-1 Arsenal When asked if he believed Arsene Wengers side lacked ambition, the Sky Sports pundit said: Yes, when you think about the results they had coming into the game and the firepower they have within the team.I felt from the very start - whether it was a game-plan to sit in and see what United had to offer - but a 0-0 or 1-1, any draw in fact, and Arsenal were going to be happy with that.They will be going back down south really happy with themselves because they dug out a result scoring in the last few minutes. That always gives you a good feeling over the weekend. But they didnt put a marker down. They didnt turn up at one of the big stadiums against one of their histtoric rivals and say, We are the team on form, you are not on form and we are going to show you how good we are. Cheap Houston Astros Jerseys.  They didnt do that today. They will think its a good point but I was looking for them to come here and show us how good they are, putting a marker down. Theo Walcott said Arsenal worked hard to earn a point at Old Trafford following their 1-1 draw Former United midfielder Ryan Giggs was also in the Sky Sports studio, and said his old team were superior on the day.Its disappointing from a Man Utd perspective, Giggs said. They were by far the better team. They werent brilliant but there was only one team that was going to win that game. They looked dangerous, especially down the right-hand side. Antonio Valencia was very good, and Juan Mata and Ander Herrera have got that understanding, and thats where the goal came from. 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