"I think it'll be a big relief, but everybody's handled it real well," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "Guys have to come up with big plays, big hits and pitch the ball. We're in this boat, and everybody's in it together, and you've got to make the best you can and keep playing as hard as they've been playing and preparing and see where the chips fall."
The Cubs will also be looking to rebound after Pirates starter A.J. Burnett tossed a one-hit shutout on Tuesday. Burnett had no-hit the Cubs for 7 2/3 innings before Adrian Cardenas singled to right.
Left-hander Travis Wood will start for the Cubs in his first appearance against the Pirates this season while looking to break a streak of rough outings. The 25-year-old has lost three straight decisions and has a 12.64 ERA and a .353 opponents' batting average over that span.
Prior to that rough stretch, Wood had won four straight starts while posting a 1.01 ERA.
Toeing the rubber for the Pirates will be right-hander Jeff Karstens. Karstens had an up-and-down July, twice winning games with scoreless outings and following up both those starts with no-decisions and four earned runs allowed.
In his most recent outing, Karstens allowed two homers against the Astros on Friday. He'd previously allowed just one home run in 48 innings this season.
"There were a handful of pitches he didn't execute anywhere near what he wanted, and they really hurt him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Every one got squared up."
Cubs: Dempster dealt to Rangers
Ryan Dempster, the subject of many trade rumors the past few weeks, was traded to Texas on Tuesday in exchange for a pair of prospects. The Cubs received third baseman Christian Villanueva and right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who were both playing with Class A Myrtle Beach.
Villanueva is now listed as the Cubs' No. 6 prospect and was batting .285 with 10 homers and 59 RBIs in 100 games with Myrtle Beach. Hendricks, now the Cubs' No. 17 prospect, was 5-8 with a 2.82 ERA in 20 starts this season.
The Cubs also sent starter Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson to the Braves, and catcher Geovany Soto to the Rangers. Chicago received right-handers Arodys Vizcaino, ranked No. 54 overall in MLB.com's Top 100 list, and Jaye Chapman from the Braves. The Cubs received Minor League right-hander Jake Brigham in exchange for Soto.
Pirates: Bucs bring in Sanchez, Qualls
On Tuesday, the Pirates made a pair of deals, acquiring first baseman Gaby Sanchez and right-hander Kyle Kaminska from Miami in exchange for Triple-A outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and the Bucs' sandwich pick between the first two rounds of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. Pittsburgh also dealt Casey McGehee to the Yankees for reliever Chad Qualls.
Sanchez, an All-Star in 2011 while hitting 19 homers and collecting 78 RBIs, was batting .202 in 55 games this season. Sanchez provides the Pirates with a right-handed bat off the bench and an alternative to Garrett Jones at first base. Qualls spent time with both the Phillies and Yankees this season and had an ERA of 4.89 in 43 appearances.
The Pirates acquired outfielder Travis Snider on Monday night from Toronto. Snider hit second against the Cubs on Tuesday in his Pittsburgh debut, going 1-for-4 with a walk and a pair of runs scored.
Starling Marte is batting .259 in six games since making his Major League debut on July 26. Marte has three multihit games, and has gone hitless in his other three.
The Cubs went 15-10 in July, finishing the month with a winning record for the first time since 2009.