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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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The Cubs and Bucs haven’t met since May.

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Hello again, Pirates! It’s been a while. Lots of new faces on both teams since they last met in May.

For more on the Pirates, here’s Jeremy Brener, an editor at our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout:

The Pirates face a familiar September ahead of them, one that’s outside playoff contention. However, the team has remained competitive as of late, winning or splitting three of their last four series.

The team is also rotating several new players in and out of the lineup to determine who could be part of the team in 2022. The hottest flash in the pan the team has now is Yoshi Tsutsugo, who struggled earlier this year with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers, but might have found a home in Pittsburgh for the time being. Tsutsugo smashed one of the most majestic walk-off home runs of the year against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday. Tsutsugo wasn’t sure he’d fit in, in Pittsburgh, until this:

As for the pitching staff, the team has weaved in new pitchers from the beginning of the season over time. Three starters have been named for this weekend: Wil Crowe, Steven Brault and Mitch Keller, with a TBD for Saturday.

Brault came off the injured list in August and Crowe has been in the rotation for most of the year. You’ve seen Keller before, and Dillon Peters or Bryse Wilson could throw the “TBD” game. All of these guys come in with a mixed bag. You could get a gem once in a while, but these guys are incredibly inconsistent, which is typical of a rotation on a last place team.

With the inconsistencies in pitching and hitting, this has the look and feel of a 2-2 series split.

Fun fact

The Cubs faced the Pirates in 12 of the team’s first 49 games this year, going 8-4 against Pittsburgh. After the most recent game between the two teams, May 27 in Pittsburgh, the Cubs were 27-22 and the Pirates 18-31.

The Cubs have played 85 games since then and the Pirates 84. The Cubs are 32-53 in that span and the Pirates are 30-54.

Pitching matchups

Thursday: Keegan Thompson, RHP (3-3, 3.09 ERA, 1.414 WHIP, 4.91 FIP) vs. Mitch Keller, RHP (4-10, 6.75 ERA, 1.806 WHIP, 4.86 FIP)

Friday: Alec Mills, RHP (6-6, 4.32 ERA, 1.416 WHIP, 3.94 FIP) vs. Steven Brault, LHP (0-3, 4.57 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 4.03 FIP)

Saturday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (14-6, 4.43 ERA, 1.343 WHIP, 4.83 FIP) vs. TBD

Sunday: Zach Davies, RHP (6-10, 4.91 ERA, 1.482 WHIP, 5.15 FIP) vs. Wil Crowe, RHP (3-7, 5.46 ERA, 1.585 WHIP, 5.71 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

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

Jeremy Brener says this series looks like it will split. I dunno. The Cubs have won five of their last eight. The Pirates have lost five of their last seven and are 20-47 on the road.

I’m going to say the Cubs will win three of four.

Up next

The Cubs host the Cincinnati Reds for a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Monday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    4
    (13 votes)
  • 28%
    3
    (30 votes)
  • 47%
    2
    (49 votes)
  • 4%
    1
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (7 votes)
104 votes total Vote Now