Cubs Game Notes For Friday @ Pittsburgh

* The Pirates lead the 2017 season series 4-2. The Cubs, however, have won four of their last five road series versus the Pirates, including taking two of three in Pittsburgh April 24-26.

* The Cubs’ pitchers have struggled in the first inning this season, posting a 7.34 ERA that ranks tied with the Mets for the second worst in the majors (SD, 7.93). This a huge increase over the team’s ERA in the first inning of games in 2016 (3.28, 2nd, MLB).

* After batting just .231 as a team in May, Pittsburgh is hitting .303 this month. That +.072 increase is second best in the majors (Det, +.082). The Pirates are on pace to have their highest batting average in the month of June since the 1932 season (.317).

* Jon Jay’s last home run came off Jeff Samardzija back on May 24, 2016. Jay’s streak of 290 consecutive at-bats without a homer is the longest active streak by any current NL player (excluding pitchers).

* Eddie Butler has a 1.08 (2/16.2) ERA and .161 opponent average in his three starts won by the Cubs this season, compared to an 8.03 (11/12.1) ERA and .308 opponent BA in his three starts that the team has ended up losing.

* Trevor Williams has had major problems in the first inning of games this season, posting a 10.29 (8/7.0) ERA and .353 (12/34) opponent average (.385 (5/13) opp BA w/ RISP) in that opening frame. But he has settled down pretty well from the second inning on (3.77 ERA, .245 opponent BA (.190 opp BA w/ RISP)).