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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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The Cubs open the home season against a divisional rival.

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Pirates are the Cubs’ home-opening opponent for the second straight year, which means for the second straight year they’ll be the first team to see the new facilities built for visitors, in this case the new clubhouse and facilities for coaches and the manager. They were very happy with the new batting cages and video room a year ago and should be quite pleased with what they see when they arrive today.

Hopefully, that won’t make any difference in how they play.

For more on the Pirates, here’s Alex Stumpf of our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

To put it simply, the Pirates are pretty similar to the team Cubs fans saw the last two months of 2018. This team is being carried by strong starting pitching, and while the bullpen has been shaky so far, it’ll be considered a strength once we get out of “small sample size” season. Nick Burdi is the new kid on the block, and he looks like something special.

The most notable difference from last season is the makeup of the outfield at the moment. Gregory Polanco and Corey Dickerson will be out for a couple weeks with shoulder injuries, and Lonnie Chisenhall broke his hand. They’re making due with Melky Cabrera, Jason Martin, JB Shuck and any other warm body in the corner outfield spots for now, but once Dickerson and Polanco get healthy, then it should be a dangerous outfield.

Right now, the offense is being carried by the red hot Josh Bell, Jung Ho Kang and Adam Frazier.

It should be a fun series. Unstoppable force of the Cubs’ offense vs. the immovable object of the Pirates starting pitching.

The weather forecast is good for the opener Monday, but lousy for Wednesday and Thursday.

Fun fact

Since the Cubs returned to contention in 2015, they are 45-30 against the Pirates, including 23-15 (.605) at Wrigley Field.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jon Lester, LHP (1-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 5.78 FIP) vs. Jameson Taillon, RHP (0-1, 3.46 ERA, 0.769 WHIP, 4.02 FIP)

Wednesday: Yu Darvish, RHP (0-1, 8.10 ERA, 2.700 WHIP, 8.05 FIP) vs. Jordan Lyles, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 3.98 FIP)

Thursday: Jose Quintana, LHP (0-1, 10.29 ERA, 2.714 WHIP, 7.95 FIP) vs. Joe Musgrove, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.444 WHIP, 1.65 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 1:20 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Pirates market territories)

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, WGN

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Pirates market territories)

Prediction

Those Cubs pitching numbers look pretty awful, don’t they? On the other hand, all five of the Pirates’ wins so far this year have been against the Reds, who are off to an even more dreadful start than the Cubs are.

The Cubs will win two of three to start off their home season.

Up next

The Cubs head back to interleague play, hosting the Angels for a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Friday afternoon. The Angels, incidentally, are hosting the Brewers for a three-game series Monday through Wednesday, so let’s hope they do well against the visitors from Milwaukee.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    3
    (50 votes)
  • 35%
    2
    (76 votes)
  • 25%
    1
    (53 votes)
  • 15%
    0
    (33 votes)
212 votes total Vote Now