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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

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Hey, the Cubs have actually done well this year against the Bucs.

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Keep a close eye on the camera shots on the TV broadcasts for this series. The Pirates averaged just over 10,000 tickets sold for their last homestand and that number is likely to be lower for this series. Further, the number of butts in the seats is probably going to be lower than that.

So the TV folks aren’t likely to be showing a lot of empty seats (remember that TV crews are still subject to pandemic rules and the Cubs are likely getting at least part of their feed from the Pirates TV crew).

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

The Pirates are playing for pride, and they have a lot of it.

After the Pirates were swept in Chicago, they went on to win each of their next four series. The team struggled in the last week, but the lack of pressure playing in September has actually helped this team. Ke’Bryan Hayes bats in the leadoff spot now and is batting over .290 in the month of September.

The team is also riding very close to the 100-loss plateau, and I think the team is trying their best to avoid it. Believe it or not, the Pirates have only had 100+ losses twice since they last won a division championship back in 1993. Despite the team’s futility, this could arguably be the worst Pirates team we’ve seen in 30 years. Luckily, the only ones that don’t know that are the Pirates taking the field this week.

Fun fact

The Cubs are 12-4 vs. the Pirates so far this year and have won the last seven meetings between the clubs, series sweeps May 25-27 in Pittsburgh and September 2-5 at Wrigley Field. Since 2015 the Cubs are 74-46 (.617) against the Pirates, their best record against any NL Central team, and have a winning record in PNC Park (34-28, including the 2015 Wild Card Game).

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Alec Mills, RHP (6-7, 4.83 ERA, 1.418 WHIP, 4.33 FIP) vs. Mitch Keller, RHP (5-11, 5.96 ERA, 1.751 WHIP, 4.33 FIP)

Wednesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (14-7, 4.81 ERA, 1.352 WHIP, 4.97 FIP) vs. TBD

Thursday: Justin Steele, LHP (3-4, 4.86 ERA, 1.440 WHIP, 6.06 FIP) vs. TBD

Yes, as of the time of this series preview posting, the Pirates had no starters listed past Tuesday.

Times & TV channels

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

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

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

Prediction

Eighteen percent of the Cubs’ 67 wins this year (12) have been against the Pirates.

I do think Kyle Hendricks has one more good game in him, and Alec Mills has pitched decently well as a starter.

The Cubs will take two of three. A sweep — which is entirely possible — would raise that percentage noted above to 21 (15 wins out of 70).

Up next

The Cubs head to St. Louis to wrap up the 2021 season with a three-game series against the Cardinals beginning Friday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    3
    (12 votes)
  • 48%
    2
    (42 votes)
  • 27%
    1
    (24 votes)
  • 10%
    0
    (9 votes)
87 votes total Vote Now