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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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What, YOU again? This 2021 schedule is wacky.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of this series the Cubs will have played the Pirates and Brewers nine times each — so 18 of the Cubs’ first 34 games will have been against those two clubs. And the Cubs will have another series vs. the Bucs at the end of this month in Pittsburgh.

After that the Cubs and Pirates won’t meet again until September.

For more on the Pirates, here’s Darren Yuvan, manager of our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

The Pirates have really been struggling of late, losers of six out of their last seven games since briefly sticking their head above .500 not long ago. The biggest issue has been scoring runs. With Ke’Bryan Hayes still out with a wrist injury, the Bucs just can’t score, as they’ve plated just four runs total in their last four games. Bryan Reynolds has been hitting well, as has Colin Moran, but outside of those two, practically the entire lineup has been anemic from the plate. Until Hayes gets back, they have no one that really scares opposing pitchers.

The pitching staff has been better, and in particular, starters JT Brubaker and Tyler Anderson have been stellar. Anderson carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning a few nights ago, and the Cubs will have to face him this series, but they’ll also get Trevor Cahill, who’s been the worst starter by far, and Wil Crowe, who’s started just two games this season.

The bullpen, believe it or not, has also been pitching extremely well, with Richard Rodriguez leading the way with five saves on the year, and he’s yet to give a run on the season and in fact has only allowed a single base runner this year, via a walk. Also keep an eye out on local Pittsburgher David Bednar, ex-Cub Duane Underwood Jr. and Sam Howard, who represent the real strength of this team.

Ultimately, if the Cubs can put some runs on the board, they’re going to have success. Pittsburgh just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up. But if they find themselves in a low-scoring duel with the Bucs, all bets are off.

Fun fact

The Pirates were 12-11 and two games out of first place on April 27. As noted above, since then they’re 1-6 and have been outscored 38-18. (This fact might not be so much fun for the Pirates.)

Pitching matchups

Friday: Zach Davies, RHP (1-2, 8.22 ERA, 2.130 WHIP, 5.93 FIP) vs. Trevor Cahill, RHP (1-3, 7.40 ERA, 1.521 WHIP, 3.72 FIP)

Saturday: Trevor Williams, RHP (2-2, 6.00 ERA, 1.741 WHIP, 5.14 FIP) vs. Wil Crowe, RHP (0-1. 4.66 ERA, 1.655 WHIP, 5.79 FIP)

Sunday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (2-3, 6.07 ERA, 1.618 WHIP, 7.32 FIP) vs. Tyler Anderson, RHP (2-3, 3.24 ERA, 1.140 WHIP, 3.40 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Pirates market territories)

Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Prediction

The Cubs are on a roll and the Pirates aren’t, so the Cubs ought to take two of three in this series.

Up next

The Cubs are off Monday, then travel to Cleveland for a two-game series at Progressive Field beginning Tuesday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    3
    (62 votes)
  • 40%
    2
    (67 votes)
  • 13%
    1
    (23 votes)
  • 8%
    0
    (15 votes)
167 votes total Vote Now