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
FanDuel: Cubs -116, Pirates -102
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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."
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
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
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
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
Batting average: Nico Hoerner -- .291
Home runs: Patrick Wisdom -- 23
RBI: Ian Happ -- 69
Wins: Keegan Thompson -- 10
Batting average: Bryan Reynolds -- .263
Home runs: Bryan Reynolds -- 24
RBI: Bryan Reynolds -- 57
Wins: Mitch Keller -- 5
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