Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 9/23/2022

by Chuck Sommers

Time: 6:35 p.m. ET
Venue: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Where to watch: Marquee Sports Network, AT&T Sportsnet-Pittsburgh

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Even
FanDuel: Cubs -116, Pirates -102
BetMGM: Even
Caesars: Even

Season record
Cubs: 65-85
Pirates: 55-95

We're coming down to the wire in the MLB season. Playoff races are heating up, pennant races are still to be decided, and MVP cases are still to be made. Are you in the right headspace to finish strong entering the postseason? Look no further than what Al McMordie has done as of late, going 53-37 in his last 90 in MLB plays! You know you want that type of winning in your life. Make sure you check out Al's and our other champion handicappers to see who they have down the stretch this season

Cubs - Pirates preview and analysis


The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates are playing for pride at this point, and the realistic expectation is for someone one either team to turn into a star before the year is over. For the Cubs, we’re not really sure who that is. For the Pirates, if Oneil Cruz can get something going to give the Pirates faithful something to cheer about, that would be all the gravy.

Nevertheless, the Pirates and Cubs are closing in on losing seasons yet again, and as the teams continue their four-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday, it’s really hard to get behind such exciting things for either team.

Javier Assad is expected to take the bump for the Cubs, while the Pirates will send 3-9 reliable pitcher Bryse Wilson to the mound. Prior to Thursday’s matchup, the Pirates came in with a six-game losing streak. The Pirates have scored just 18 runs during that stretch and have given up a grand total of 46. To give up more than twice the amount of runs you’ve scored would serve to be bad baseball.

“We have to flush this out. We started this road trip really well by winning four games [against the Reds],” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “We came in and played two playoff teams [the Mets and the Yankees] that are both really playing well now. We have to bounce back and get after the Cubs.”

So far, as it stands, they did not bounce back and get after the Cubs. With 12 games remaining, the Pirates are staring at another 100-loss season right in the face. That is the trajectory of the Pirates at this time. There doesn’t seem to be much hope for Pittsburgh outside of the young talent that still might take some time to develop.

The Pirates are 28-44 at home this season and are just hoping this season ends rather soon. The Cubs are hoping for the same, but have been a solid road team this year at 33-41. Given the state of the franchise over the last couple of years, I’d consider this an accomplishment. Even the 31-36 mark against division opponents is highly impressive for a team that didn’t have much to look forward to.

The Cubs won 3-2 over the Pirates on Thursday thanks to 6.1 innings of work from rookie starter Hayden Wesneski. He gave up just two runs and five hits.

"It's crazy," Wesneski said. "You start thinking about it about the seventh, eighth pitch, then on the ninth pitch you've got to let it rip and make it happen. I've been a part of one in college (at Sam Houston State) but this one is a lot different."

Prediction


The Cubs are just the better team, and in this time of the year, especially when the season is on the end of the horizon. If it becomes a bullpen game, I trust the Cubs to handle the situation well. Cubs win 6-4

Betting trends


Cubs are 19-26 this season as a favorite.

Under is 37-31 this season for the Cubs on the road.

Pirates are 3-19 when playing on Friday this season.

Pirates are 20-37 when playing as a home underdog this season

Projected lineup


Cubs:
Zach McKinstry (L) 2B
Ian Happ (S) LF
Franmil Reyes (R) DH
Yan Gomes (R) C
David Bote (R) 3B
Alfonso Rivas (L) 1B
Nelson Velazquez (R) RF
Michael Hermosillo (R) CF
Christopher Morel (R) SS

Pirates:
Oneil Cruz (L) SS
Bryan Reynolds (S) DH
Rodolfo Castro (S) 3B
Ben Gamel (L) LF
Cal Mitchell (L) RF
Kevin Newman (R) 2B
Jack Suwinski (L) CF
Zack Collins (L) 1B
Jason Delay (R) C

Statistical leaders


Cubs:
Batting average: Nico Hoerner -- .291
Home runs: Patrick Wisdom -- 23
RBI: Ian Happ -- 69
Wins: Keegan Thompson -- 10 
ERA: N/A

Pirates:
Batting average: Bryan Reynolds -- .263
Home runs: Bryan Reynolds -- 24
RBI: Bryan Reynolds -- 57
Wins: Mitch Keller -- 5
ERA: N/A

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert MLB picks today. And if you enjoyed this Chicago Cubs - Pittsburgh Pirates preview, be sure to drop by every day for our daily MLB projections and predictions.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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