CHICAGO — Gaby Sanchez is in the house and Chad Qualls is en route from the airport, so the Pirates will be at full strength for this afternoon’s game. Reliever Daniel McCutchen was sent back to Triple-A Indy. Manager Clint Hurdle huddles privately with each new guy for about 10 minutes right after he walks in the door. “I give him a quick thumbnail sketch of what’s going on, who we are, where we’re headed and the importance him being here,” Hurdle said. Before batting practice, Hurdle will gather the entire team for a quick “Hello, my name is …” meeting. “We’ll recalibrate, redirect and then go play the Cubs,” Hurdle said. “I’m not going to share any of it with you, though. This is not reality TV, at least not with me.”
»»» XM analyst and former Mets GM Jim Duquette gave the Pirates a B-minus grade for their trades at the deadline: “There’s a chance (for it) to become a B if Gaby Sanchez and/or Travis Snider produce. They’re better, without giving up their top prospects, and they factored in the division, which has been weakened. But I would’ve liked to see them go harder after Hunter Pence. He was a perfect fit for them.”
»»» Andrew McCutchen has reached base in 45 of 48 career games, including the past 39 in a row, against the Cubs. Overall, McCutchen is batting .324 with seven doubles, three triples, six homers, 26 RBI and 29 runs scored against the Cubbies. Cutch had 41 hits in July, the most by a Pirate in a single month since Freddy Sanchez collected 46 in August 2007.
»»» It’s bad enough that junkballer Justin Germano pretty much held the Pirates in check for five innings Monday to pick up his first major league win in five years. This makes it sting a bit more: Germano is 9-17 with a 5.46 ERA as a starter.
Game 104: Pirates @ Cubs, 2:05 p.m. ET
Pirates (59-44): 1. Starling Marte lf, 2. Josh Harrison 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1b, 5. Travis Snider rf, 6. Michael McKenry c, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (3-2, 3.88)
Cubs (43-59): 1. David DeJesus cf, 2. Starlin Castro ss, 3. Anthony Rizzo 1b, 4. Alfonso Soriano lf, 5. Bryan LaHair rf, 6. Jeff Baker 2b, 7. Wellington Castillo c, 8. Luis Valbuena 3b, 9. Travis Wood lhp (4-6, 4.98)