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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Pirates series preview

What, YOU again?

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Cubs, by the time they complete this series, will have played nine of their first 36 games against the Pirates. Then they won’t face them again until the end of June, follow that with two games in July (the last Cubs/Bucs games at Wrigley), then not till September.

Thanks, schedule-makers.

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

Now that the April dust has settled, we are starting to see the real Pirates emerge. That’s been evidenced by their struggles against the league-worst Cincinnati Reds. Despite not performing well against the Reds, the Pirates were able to beat the Dodgers in a three-game set last week. Beyond bizarre.

You’re starting to see a little bit more youth sprinkled into the mix, led by the call up of middle infielder Rodolfo Castro. Outfielder Jack Suwinski, a Chicago-area native, is also up and making an impact in his first Major League dip in the pond. A couple more prospects will likely make their way up the ranks this summer.

In terms of those playing now, Ben Gamel and Ke’Bryan Hayes have been the team’s best players. The pair are batting close or above the .300 mark, while Bryan Reynolds and Yoshi Tsutsugo have played below expectations. Ultimately, the Pirates are proving to regress to the mean and play as they were expected to: Lose most of their games, but throw in some exciting moments just often enough to keep you engaged as a fan.

Fun fact

Not so much fun for the Pirates: They are 8-14 against NL Central teams this year (even while going 4-2 against the Cubs), and those teams have outscored the Bucs 119-65.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Wade Miley, LHP (0-0, 9.00 ERA, 3.333 WHIP, 7.46 FIP) vs. Dillon Peters (3-1, 1.83 ERA, 0.712 WHIP, 2.95 FIP

Tuesday: TBD vs. JT Brubaker, RHP (0-3, 5.34 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 4.35 FIP)

Wednesday: Drew Smyly, LHP (1-4, 3.64 ERA, 1.348 WHIP, 4.50 FIP) vs. Mitch Keller, RHP (0-5, 6.61 ERA, 1.531 WHIP, 4.72 FIP)

Tuesday’s Cubs starter could be Keegan Thompson... or an opener followed by Thompson... or possibly even Marcus Stroman.

Times & TV channels

Monday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Tuesday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 6:40 p.m. CT, YouTube

Prediction

The Cubs have not played well against the Pirates this year (save for that amazing 21-0 game!), but the Pirates have lost 11 of 18 since they last faced the Cubs. I think the Cubs will take two of three here.

Up next

The Cubs host the Diamondbacks in a four-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Thursday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    3
    (46 votes)
  • 46%
    2
    (86 votes)
  • 20%
    1
    (38 votes)
  • 7%
    0
    (13 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now