Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs: Preview, Predictions and Picks for May 18, 2024

Published on:
May 18, 2024 6:11 AM
The Pittsburgh Pirates, leading the series 2-0, head to Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, May 18 at 2:20 PM. The Cubs, 13-8 at home, look to even the series on their own turf, while the Pirates aim to build on their momentum. Despite the Cubs' strong home record, the Pirates' 12-13 road record suggests they're capable of pulling off a win on the road.
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs

Pirates vs Cubs starting pitchers

  • Shota Imanaga for Chicago Cubs
  • Bailey Falter for Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates vs Cubs game preview

In the upcoming clash between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, the pitching matchup presents a stark contrast in form and fortunes this MLB season. The Pirates will send Bailey Falter to the mound, who comes into the game with an ERA of 4.15 and a WHIP of 1.04. Falter has struck out 27 batters over 43.1 innings but has also given up a substantial 8 home runs. On the opposite side, the Cubs will rely on Shota Imanaga, who has been impressive with an ERA of just 0.96 and a WHIP of 0.94 across 46.2 innings. Imanaga’s record is unblemished with 5 wins and has only allowed 3 home runs while striking out 51 batters, showcasing his dominance from the mound this season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates come into the game with several areas of concern but a few bright spots. Their team batting average stands at .226, placing them at a lowly 26th in the league, coupled with a similarly lackluster position in run scores. However, they do excel in plate discipline, being ranked 5th in walks drawn, a testament to their patience and ability to get on base despite the struggles with the bat. Key players such as Connor Joe and Oneil Cruz have been standout performers, with Joe leading the team with a batting average of .296 and Cruz with 7 home runs. The Pirates will need these players to step up and a collective rise in offensive output if they aim to challenge the Cubs' pitching strength.

The Chicago Cubs, contrasting their opponents, enter with more robust team statistics, particularly in the run scored category where they rank 10th in the MLB. Despite the potential absence of Nico Hoerner, who is day-to-day with hamstring soreness, the team has depth and quality, exemplified by Christopher Morel who leads the Cubs with 9 home runs and 31 RBIs. The Cubs have shown strong plate discipline, ranking 4th in the number of walks drawn, a metric that complements their overall solid batting performance. With the addition of Imanaga’s standout pitching, the Cubs look well-equipped to handle the challenges the Pirates pose, setting the stage for an intriguing contest.

Chicago Cubs injuries

  • Nico Hoerner (2B): Day-To-Day
  • Sam Thoresen (RP): Day-To-Day
  • Ethan Roberts (RP): Day-To-Day
  • Drew Smyly (RP): 15-Day-IL
  • Daniel Palencia (RP): 15-Day-IL

Pittsburgh Pirates injuries

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

Pirates vs Cubs predictions

Here we go, the Pirates are rolling into Wrigley Field looking to take down the Cubs, and I've got some predictions for this one. On the Pirates' side, I think Oneil Cruz is due for a big game - this kid's got pop, and I'm predicting at least two extra-base hits from him. Joey Bart's been quietly producing all season, and I think he'll chip in with a couple of RBIs. And let's not forget about Connor Joe, the Pirates' leader in batting average - I'm expecting him to keep it going with a multi-hit game.

On the Cubs' side, I'm looking for a big day from Christopher Morel, who's been crushing it lately. This guy's got 9 homers on the season, and I think he'll add to that total today. Cody Bellinger's been on a tear as well, and I'm predicting at least two hits and a run scored from him. And don't sleep on Ian Happ, who's been one of the most consistent hitters on this Cubs team - I think he'll reach base at least twice.

So, who's gonna take this one? I think the Pirates are due for a letdown after taking the first two games of the series, and the Cubs are gonna take advantage of that. Shota Imanaga's been dealing all season, and I think he'll hold the Pirates to two runs or less. The Cubs' offense will do just enough to get the W, and I'm predicting a 4-2 Cubs victory.

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