*Jon Lester is 4-2 vs. the NL Central with a 2.52 ERA. The only pitchers with a lower ERA against the NL Central are Anthony DeSclafani (1.79) and John Lackey (2.44; minimum 10 games started).
* This is Gerrit Cole’s 70th career start. His 37 career wins are tied for the second most by any active pitcher through his first 70 career starts trailing only Tim Hudson (39).
* J.A. Happ has improved his ERA by almost three runs from 4.64 to 1.79 since joining the Pirates, one of the largest improvements by any MLB pitcher since the beginning of August.
* Jason Hammel’s slider is one of the best pitches in MLB this season with hitters batting only .171 when he throws it.
*Since August 1, both teams have +43 run differential, trailing only Toronto (+94), the Mets (+86) and Boston (+48).