Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs: Preview, Predictions and Picks for May 17, 2024

Published on:
May 17, 2024 6:10 AM
The Pittsburgh Pirates look to even the series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, May 17th at 2:20 PM at Wrigley Field. The Cubs, who lead the series 1-0, have been strong at home with a 13-7 record, while the Pirates are 11-13 on the road. The Pirates will aim to bounce back and split the series against their 25-20 opponents.
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs

Pirates vs Cubs starting pitchers

  • Kyle Hendricks for Chicago Cubs
  • Paul Skenes for Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates vs Cubs game preview

In the upcoming MLB game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs, both teams are sending pitchers with notable stats but challenging seasons so far to the mound. The Pirates' Paul Skenes, a rookie pitcher, comes into the game with a relatively high ERA of 6.75 and a WHIP of 2.00 across 4 innings of work, indicating potential vulnerability in his game. On the other side, the Cubs will rely on veteran Kyle Hendricks, who despite having an accumulated wealth of experience, has been struggling with an ERA of 10.04 and a WHIP of 1.92 through 26 innings this season. Hendricks will be seeking to rediscover his form and provide stability for the Cubs' lineup that has been lacking a consistent performance on the mound.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a rough start to the season with their hitting, ranking low in runs scored and on-base percentage, which reflects in their 23rd position in runs and a batting average of only .223. Players like Connor Joe and Oneil Cruz, however, have been bright spots in the lineup. Joe leads the team with a batting average of .285 and has also driven in the most runs for his team while Cruz leads in home runs. The Pirates will need their offense to significantly step up and capitalize on Hendricks’ current vulnerabilities. Their ability to draw walks, ranked 5th in the league, suggests they have the potential to challenge Hendricks and get on base, which could be crucial for setting up scoring opportunities.

On the other half, the Chicago Cubs come into this matchup presenting a more robust offensive lineup compared to the Pirates, holding middle to upper rankings in most batting categories including a 10th place in both runs scored and strikeouts. Leaders like Christopher Morel, leading in home runs and RBIs, offer a strong offensive presence for the Cubs. However, the day-to-day status of Nico Hoerner due to hamstring soreness could impact the infield both offensively and defensively. The Cubs will likely rely on their capability to get on base consistently, proven by their ranking 4th in walks drawn, to challenge Skenes and put pressure on the Pirates' defense. Given Hendricks' struggles, strong offensive support will be critical to navigating past the Pirates in this upcoming game.

Chicago Cubs injuries

  • Nico Hoerner (2B): Day-To-Day
  • Dansby Swanson (SS): 10-Day-IL
  • Kohl Franklin (SP): Day-To-Day
  • Sam Thoresen (RP): Day-To-Day
  • Ethan Roberts (RP): Day-To-Day

Pittsburgh Pirates injuries

  • Aroldis Chapman (RP): Day-To-Day
  • Ke'Bryan Hayes (3B): 10-Day-IL
  • Cristofer Melendez (SP): Out
  • Enmanuel Terrero (OF): Day-To-Day
  • Ryan Borucki (RP): 15-Day-IL

Pirates vs Cubs predictions

I'm telling you, the Pirates' Oneil Cruz is going to go off tonight. I'm talking 2-3 hits, at least one of them being a double, and maybe even a homer. The guy's got power and speed, and I think he's due for a big game. And don't even get me started on Nick Gonzales - this guy's got a knack for getting on base, and I think he'll reach twice tonight, maybe even scoring a run. Meanwhile, Yasmani Grandal's been quiet lately, but I think he breaks out with a big RBI single or double.

On the Cubs' side, I'm high on Christopher Morel - this kid's got pop, and I think he'll take Paul Skenes deep for a homer at some point. Ian Happ's been consistent all year, and I think he'll get on base twice, maybe even scoring a run. And don't count out Seiya Suzuki - he's got a nice swing, and I think he'll get a big hit, maybe even driving in a run. Cody Bellinger's been struggling, but maybe he'll break out tonight - I think he'll get on base at least once.

So, who's gonna win this thing? I think the Cubs take it. Their offense has been clicking lately, and I think they'll get to Paul Skenes early. Kyle Hendricks hasn't been great, but I think he's due for a good outing, and the Cubs' bullpen's been solid. The Pirates will make a push, but in the end, I think the Cubs come out on top, 6-4.

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