“You’ve been waitin’ and debatin’ for oh so long. Just starvin’ like Marvin for Bell to rush along.” So I know many of you have been coining the term ‘Ring The Bell,’ but I had to go to my hip hop infatuation and break out the LL Cool J classic as it has been in my head all day since the announcement of Josh Bell being called up today. Of course, Wu-Tang’s ‘Bells of War’ was a close second. Either way, all of this excitement is built upon tonight being the first time we see Josh Bell playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates as they face the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.
Though the excitement has grew within Pittsburgh, the real hype probably won’t be warranted until possibly tomorrow since Bell will not be in the starting lineup tonight. The Pirates will be facing Jake Arrieta tonight, so it really wouldn’t sense to put Bell in the fire to face one of the game’s best pitchers. Either way, the call up of Bell should hopefully put an end to our ever so revolving door of poor to mediocre play at first base as documented in our article: Can Josh Bell End the Pirates Revolving Door at First Base?
Tonight’s matchup will see the Pirates facing Arrieta while Francisco Liriano will get his 17th start of the season. Frankie has surely been quite disappointing this season. He has given up the most walks in the N.L. with 55, even with pitching 13.2 innings less than Brandon Finnegan who ranks 2nd in the N.L. With Liriano’s control issues and the Cubs powerful lineup, the chances do not favor Pittsburgh’s matchup tonight. Then when you add Arrieta pitching to the mix, well just enjoy the fact that Bell is being called up.
Arrieta has dominated the Pirates as a Cub. For his career he has pitched 80 innings verse the Pirates for an astounding 1.46 ERA. That isn’t just dominating. That is proving to a team that they have no life. For this season, he holds a 2.33 ERA in 108.1 innings while striking out 115 batters.
With Bell on the bench, John Jaso will resume his leadoff duties while playing first base. After a bit of a slump for Jaso in June, he has bounced back nicely and is batting .417 over the past week. As a matter of fact, a few players have been hitting well over the past week. David Freese enters this game batting .412 with two home runs in 17 at bats. Gregory Polanco has two home runs in the last week while batting .250.
It certainly appears tonight’s game is a tall hill to climb towards a victory, but the Cubs have had their shares of struggles recently. They have won just one game of their last eight and also five of their last eighteen. While their bats have not struggled much, their pitching has gone from the best in MLB to ranked 22nd in ERA for over the past 14 days with a 5.34 ERA. On the contrary, Pittsburgh has the 2nd best ERA over that span with a 3.10.