The Cubs would just like to win one, as they're in the midst of an 11-game losing streak -- their longest since 1997. To make matters worse, Chicago lost the second of a three-game set with Pittsburgh in walk-off fashion, but it didn't come by way of a hit. Reliever Rafael Dolis plunked Matt Hague with the bases loaded to walk in the winning run.
In seven of its 11 straight losses, Chicago has scored two runs or less and has lost six one-run ballgames during the stretch, two of which have come in back to back nights against the Pirates, who have played a Major League-leading 22 one-run games this season.
The Pirates keep inching closer to the top of the National League Central, while the Cubs are tied with Minnesota for worst in the Majors.
Expectations weren't high for the rebuilding Cubs but the losing will take its toll on any team. Manager Dale Sveum is trying to find the positives, however, in what his club is currently going through.
"Winning is very important in any kind of development," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It's development, too, to understand why we're losing games and why we're struggling in these situations. Failure is part of developing, too, to understand why the failure happens."
Sveum will turn to right-hander Matt Garza in an effort to end the losing skid.
Garza will be looking to respond after his shortest outing of the season his last time out against Houston. He lasted just three innings while surrendering a season-high seven runs and dropped his second game of the year.
The 28-year-old will be on the road, where he hasn't fared well -- a 6.30 ERA in four starts, compared to 1.91 at home -- but will face a Pirates team that he has pitched well against in two career starts. Garza is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA and tossed seven shutout innings the last time he faced Pittsburgh on Aug. 3, 2011.
Garza, who has allowed two runs or less in six of his eight starts, carries a 2-2 record and 3.72 ERA into the contest.
Pittsburgh will turn to Erik Bedard for the sweep, who, despite a respectable 3.52 ERA, has just two wins to show for, like Garza.
Bedard enters the contest coming off his two worst performances of the season. The lefty allowed a season-high four runs in each of his past two starts after allowing no more than two in any start before that. Bedard started the season with six straight starts of holding opponents to two runs or less before coming out of his May 9 outing with back spasms in the second inning, and has struggled ever since.
Bedard, who will be making his first career start against the Cubs, is looking for his first win at home this season.
Manager Clint Hurdle would like to see his club's bats, which have not helped Bedard much, come to life. The rotation has been solid and the bullpen sports the lowest ERA in the National League, but the Pirates have scored the fewest runs in the Majors.
"Pitching has been the part of the engine that has gotten us here," Hurdle said. "The defense has been great in stretches. We have to do work on offense. I've said this every day I've sat in this chair."
The two teams won't meet again until July 23-25 at PNC Park.
Cubs: Maholm makes return to Pittsburgh
Paul Maholm, who started his career with the Pirates and was a member of the team from 2005-11, made his first return to Pittsburgh on Saturday since joining Chicago in the offseason.
The lefty tossed five innings of two-run ball, while surrendering four hits and five walks.
Maholm is the all-time winningest pitcher at PNC Park with 35 victories and went 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA over 185 starts with the Pirates. He has started 97 games and struck out 363 batters at PNC Park, more than any other pitcher.
Bryan LaHair snapped an 0-for-10 skid with a single in the second inning of Saturday's loss, but continues to be mired in a difficult stretch.
LaHair is 2-for-29 over his last 10 games and is batting just .231 in May after hitting .390 in April.
"He's getting to the point now where he's starting to guess along with the pitchers," Sveum said. "You can't do that. You have to get up there and hit. The guessing gets to be a little too much sometimes -- guessing and worrying about what the pitcher is going to do and how many good pitches to hit and all that."
LaHair leads the Cubs with 10 homers and a .974 OPS.
Pirates: Harrison's hit-streak snapped
Josh Harrison, who went 0-for-3 in Saturday's win over Chicago, had his career-best 10-game hitting streak snapped.
Over the streak, Harrison went 13-for-38 (.342) with six doubles, a triple, and four RBIs.
Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker continued their hot hitting against the Cubs in Saturday's victory.
McCutchen went 2-for-3 with a run scored and has reached base in 33 straight games versus Chicago. In 42 career games against his division rival, McCutchen is batting .322 (47-for-145) with five homers, 25 RBIs and 26 runs scored.
Walker, meanwhile, is batting .343 (35-for-102) after going 1-for-2 on Saturday. Both McCutchen and Walker were contributing on the basepaths as well. McCutchen stole two bags to increase his season total to 10, while Walker swiped his second of the year.