The Chicago Cubs will face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third game of a three-game series tonight. The Cubs won each of the first two games without allowing the Pirates to score a run, although the Pirates best hitter in Ke’Bryan Hayes was out yesterday. I think the Pirates scoring woes should continue today. The Pirates were also no-hit by the Reds on Sunday before these two scoreless games, although they did win that game. These two teams actually have very similar records, the Pirates are 15-21 while the Cubs are 15-20. That is mostly in part to the Cubs brutal home record at 6-11. However, the Cubs are usually a team that dominates at home. I think they are very due for some regression to the mean here.
Roansy Contreras will be starting a bullpen game for the Pirates 5 th worst bullpen in the league. He has pitched very well whenever he has had the chance, but he also hasn’t pitched more than 3.1 innings this season. That means lots of bullpen for the Pirates. Drew Smyly will get the start for the Cubs and he has been very good for them this season. He has yet to allow more than 4 runs in a game this season and pitched at least 4.1 innings in every game. Most notably, he should be able to neutralize the few Pirates batters that are hitting right now. Ben Gamel is their hottest hitter, and he should be neutralized by the lefty. Brian Reynolds is their best player, and he is 7 for 30 against lefties with no extra base hits this season. Daniel Vogelbach will also be neutralized. They really only have Ke’Bryan Hayes and Michael Chavis as their lefty crushing options. These guys should produce today, but they won’t have much more support around them.
The Cubs also have the 5th ranked bullpen in the league backing Smyly up. The Cubs are starting to play well again after their horrid stretch before their road trip. They took two of three from the Padres, Diamondbacks, and now the Pirates. When the Cubs are going well, they dominate at home. The Pirates were no hit, then scored zero runs in back-to-back games. The only thing I am worried about here is if the Cubs decide to give a player or two the night off after this winning stretch of baseball. That is always a worry when you make your play before lineups, but if they do have their full lineup in then we should get some good closing line value. Either way, I like the Cubs to get the sweep at home.