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Pregame: 43 or bust

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Closer Joel Hanrahan is on track for 43 saves, which would be the most by a Pirates closer since Jose Mesa notched 43 in 2004. But if Hanny’s gonna get there, he’s going to need some help from his teammates — like, a few more save opportunities.

Since his first (and only) blown save on July 17, Hanrahan has begun another save streak and is up to 30 saves this season. Trouble is, he’s only been called upon four times to shut the door in the past 16 games. At that rate, he’ll get only 13 more save chances this season.

Hanrahan has made nine straight scoreless outings (9.2 ip) and has been scored upon just once in his last 21 games. He has a 1.00 ERA in 27 appearances at PNC Park, where he is 15 for 15 in save chances.

»»» Neil Walker leads the National League with 77 double plays turned this season. He’s got a ways to go to catch HOFer Bill Mazeroski, though. Maz led the league in DPs a record eight times.

Lineups for today’s game:

Cubs (46-65) – 1. Starlin Castro ss, 2. Darwin Barney 2b, 3. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 4. Carlos Pena 1b, 5. Marlon Byrd cf, 6. Blake DeWitt lf, 7. Geovany Soto c, 8. Tyler Colvin rf, 9. Rodrigo Lopez rhp (2-3, 4.40)

Pirates (54-55) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Garrett Jones rf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Derrek Lee 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Ludwick lf, 7. Ryan Doumit c, 8. Brandon Wood ss, 9. James McDonald rhp (7-5, 4.17)

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