Perhaps now, the Cubs are going to face a team they can defeat — the Pittsburgh Pirates. These teams have not met since late July, when the Cubs took both games of a brief two-game set at Wrigley Field.
For more on the Pirates, here’s Jeremy Brener, a writer for our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.
The Pirates are on pace for (yet again) another 100-loss season. It hasn’t been easy, but this season has been primarily about the development of Oneil Cruz. In his first full season, Cruz is batting .221 as the leadoff hitter, a big reason why the Pirates have been so bad. But despite that, Cruz is still the team’s most exciting prospect and the biggest player to watch during the series. Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes are the team’s best hitters, around the .240-.250 range, so it’s been difficult.
The pitching hasn’t been inspired either. Most of the pitchers apart from Roansy Contreras aren’t seen as long-term options. Contreras is set to pitch Wednesday against the Yankees, meaning he likely won’t see the Cubs this series.
Overall, this team has been just as Pittsburgh Piratey as any Pittsburgh Pirates team that ever was.
Since the Pirates’ last division title (the NL East in 1992), they have had four winning seasons out of 30, lost 90+ games 13 times and lost 100+ games three times (and might make that four this year).
Probable pitching matchups
Thursday: Hayden Wesneski, RHP (1-1, 2.30 ERA, 0.702 WHIP, 2.86 FIP) vs. Mitch Keller, RHP, RHP (5-11, 4.03 ERA, 1.399 WHIP, 3.90 FIP)
Friday: Javier Assad, RHP (1-2, 3.86 ERA, 1.543 WHIP, 4.78 FIP) vs. Bryse Wilson, RHP (3-9, 6.07 ERA, 1.480 WHIP, 5.28 FIP)
Saturday: Wade Miley, LHP (1-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.323 WHIP, 4.21 FIP) vs. Johan Oviedo, RHP (3-2, 3.69 ERA, 1.436 WHIP, 4.06 FIP overall, 1-1, 4.61 ERA, 1.683 WHIP, 4.06 FIP in four starts with Pirates)
Sunday: Adrian Sampson, RHP (2-5, 3.35 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 3.75 FIP) vs. Luis Ortiz, RHP (0-0, 0.84 ERA, 0.844 WHIP, 2.64 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Thursday: 5:35 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Friday: 5:35 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Saturday: 5:35 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Sunday: 12:35 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Since these teams last met in July, the Cubs are 24-28 and the Pirates are 15-36. The Pirates are 28-43 at home and have lost 14 of their last 18 games at PNC Park.
The Cubs will take three of four.
The Cubs return home to Wrigley Field to begin their final homestand of 2022 with a three-game series against the Phillies. That series will begin Tuesday evening.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Pirates?