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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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What, YOU again?!?!

Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

These days in baseball, we get a lot of weird scheduling as we have seen between the Cubs and Pirates so far in 2021.

The teams have met nine times already, six at Wrigley Field, three at PNC Park.

A few random notes on those nine games:

  • The Cubs won four of the six in Chicago, but lost two of three in Pittsburgh.
  • Overall, the Cubs have a negative run differential (-6) in the nine games despite winning five of the nine.
  • That run differential splits into +4 at Wrigley Field and -10 at PNC Park.
  • Another split: The Cubs are 5-3 in day games vs. the Pirates this year, 0-1 in night games. Two of the three games in this series are night games.
  • The average game-time temperature for the PNC Park games so far in 2021 is 74; the average game-time temp for the Wrigley Field games so far is 53. This week’s forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s and 80s and a chance of rain on Wednesday.
  • The Cubs are hitting .240/.290/.390 (24-for-100) with four home runs at PNC Park in 2021. The four homers have been hit by Javier Baez (two), Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Three of the four were hit in the only Cubs win in Pittsburgh so far this year, 4-2 on April 8.
  • Cubs pitchers have a 6.12 ERA and 1.840 WHIP in the three games so far at PNC Park, with 16 walks in 25 innings. I’m looking for those numbers to improve significantly this week.
  • Since the teams last met May 9, the Cubs are 7-5 and the Pirates 4-9. The Pirates are coming off a series in Atlanta where the Braves won three of four and outscored the Bucs 37-9.

Fun fact

At the end of this series, the Cubs will have played 12 of their first 49 games against the Pirates. Then the teams don’t meet again until September, when they will play four at Wrigley (Sept. 2-5) and three at PNC Park (Sept. 28-30).

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (4-4, 4.46 ERA, 1.299 WHIP, 5.26 FIP) vs. Cody Ponce, RHP (2021 season debut) *

Wednesday: Trevor Williams, RHP (2-2, 5.97 ERA, 1.779 WHIP, 5.42 FIP) vs. Wil Crowe, RHP (0-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.481 WHIP, 5.04 FIP)

Thursday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (4-4, 4.74 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 5.20 FIP) vs. Tyler Anderson, LHP (3-4, 4.73 ERA, 1.227 WHIP, 4.13 FIP)

Per the * above, below is the source for listing Cody Ponce as tonight’s starter. The Pirates have made no official announcement as of the posting time of this series preview.

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 5:35 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 5:35 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Thursday: 11:35 a.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Pirates market territories)

Prediction

The Cubs are on a roll, having won six of their last eight, and the Pirates have lost six of their last seven and 17 of their last 23. I’d love to see the Cubs sweep this series, but will be satisfied with two of three.

Up next

The Cubs return home for a three-game weekend series at Wrigley Field against the Reds which begins Friday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    3
    (75 votes)
  • 43%
    2
    (87 votes)
  • 13%
    1
    (27 votes)
  • 5%
    0
    (11 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now