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Joe Maddon: Cubs, Pirates know they can topple the other

There was no bulletin-board material coming from the Cubs after their 4-0 win Sunday night over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Presumptive wild-card game starter Jake Arrieta threw seven dominant scoreless innings and the Cubs finished 11-8 against the Pirates, giving them at least an idea they could take down Pittsburgh next month.

The Pirates, however, know they can eliminate the Cubs as well

“I know we know we can beat them,” manager Joe Maddon said. “But they know they can beat us, too.”

Sunday’s win put a bow on Arrieta’s dominance over the Pirates. He improved to 3-1 with a 0.75 earned-run average against Pittsburgh this season, something that should give the Cubs confidence when they likely head to PNC Park.

But Gerrit Cole, probably the Pirates’ starter in the coin-flip game, allowed one run in seven innings Friday and improved to 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA over four starts against the Cubs this season.

“I think both teams have a lot of respect for one another. If it does come down to us versus them it’s going to be very interesting, but both teams know that they can win,” Maddon said. “Both teams know that they can beat the other team and that’s what you probably have in every playoff situation. Two good teams playing, and let’s do it.”

Arrieta wasn’t even drawing many conclusions from his numbers against the Pirates. They’re just one team he’s faced. One team he’s dominated – though he’s dominated a few – but one team nonetheless.

“I think I feel the same way against any team,” Arrieta said. “I don’t put a lot of emphasis on who it is. Just trying, staying in the mindset of just executing, regardless of who’s in the box.”