Time is running out on the Cubs and they can't let a chance to sweep the lowly Pirates escape them as they close out their series in Pittsburgh with Carlos Zambrano on the hill.

Our Wednesday afternoon MLB selection is on the Chicago Cubs over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Derrek LeeJust as time is running out on the Rays and Rangers in the American League, such is the case with the Cubs in the NL.  The Cards continue to roll and the Cubs are now 11½ games behind St. Louis in the NL Central and eight games out in the Wild Card race.  If they are to make a run, then righthander Carlos Zambrano will have to step up in a big way in the last month.

While Zambrano hasn't won a game since July 22 at Philadelphia and has spent a session on the disabled list with muscle spasms in his back since that victory, he showed in his last start he may be rounding back into form. He was 0-2 in two starts since coming off the disabled list before he pitched six innings of three-hit baseball and yielded only a solo home run in a no-decision against the Mets at Citi Field on September 4.

The Pirates will start former Cub pitcher Kevin Hart, and Hart definitely hasn't been the same since getting traded to Pittsburgh.  After going 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts with the Cubs, Hart is 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA in six starts with Pittsburgh. He's had little consistency with his command and has given up six homers.

Hart was chased after allowing seven runs (five earned) in 5.2 innings his last time out at home against the Cards.  There's little reason to expect that things will be much different against another tough division opponent this afternoon.  Take the Cubs.

Free Pick: Cubs -140