Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs: Preview, Predictions and Picks for May 19, 2024

Published on:
May 19, 2024 6:21 AM
The Chicago Cubs, sitting with a 26-21 overall record and 14-8 home mark, look to even the series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on Sunday, May 19th at 2:20 PM. The Pirates, currently leading the series 2-1, will aim to extend their lead with a better road record of 12-14. Expect a closely contested matchup as these NL Central rivals face off.
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs

Pirates vs Cubs starting pitchers

  • Jameson Taillon for Chicago Cubs
  • Mitch Keller for Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates vs Cubs game preview

In the upcoming showdown between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs, we're set to see a pitching duel that could tilt the scales. Mitch Keller takes the mound for the Pirates, currently holding a 3.93 ERA with 51 strikeouts and four wins to his name this season. On the flip side, Jameson Taillon is slated to start for the Cubs, boasting a stellar 1.61 ERA and 18 strikeouts. His performance has been sharp, hinting at a potentially dominant outing. This pitching matchup is sure to be a pivotal factor in the game's dynamics.

Turning our focus to the Pirates, their season has seen some ups and downs. While their collective batting average ranks towards the lower end of the spectrum at .225, position players like Connor Joe and Oneil Cruz have brought some sparks to the lineup. Joe leads the team with a .288 batting average, while Cruz has sent the ball out of the park seven times. Although the team has struggled to score consistently and steal bases, Pittsburgh’s ability to take walks could present chances to push runners around the bases. It’s crucial for them to capitalize on these opportunities if they hope to outscore the Cubs.

Over in the Chicago Cubs' camp, the team has demonstrated greater competitive edge in the batting department, with a team batting average of .233 and being tied for 11th in total runs scored this season. While they rest in the middle tier for team hitting and base stealing, leaders like Christopher Morel, who leads with nine home runs and 32 RBIs, are pivotal to their offense. However, a noteworthy concern is Nico Hoerner’s hamstring soreness which has him listed as day-to-day; his presence or absence could significantly impact the Cubs' infield efficiency and overall game strategy. As they face the Pirates, the Cubs will need to leverage their slightly stronger batting and pitching stats to clinch a win in what promises to be an engaging matchup.

Chicago Cubs injuries

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

The Pirates roll into Wrigley Field looking to take a commanding 3-1 series lead, and I think Oneil Cruz is due for a breakout game. This guy's been on a tear lately, and I project him to go yard at least once, with a couple of RBIs to boot. And don't sleep on Nick Gonzales, who's been quietly putting together a solid season - I think he goes 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Yasmani Grandal's been struggling, but I think he breaks out of his funk with a big hit or two.

On the other side, I think the Cubs' Nico Hoerner is going to be a problem for Mitch Keller and the Pirates' bullpen. This guy's been raking lately, and I project him to go 3-for-4 with a homer and a couple of RBIs. And don't count out Christopher Morel, who's been one of the Cubs' most consistent hitters all season - I think he goes 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Ian Happ's been a bit of a mystery this season, but I think he breaks out of his slumber with a big hit or two.

All things considered, I think the Cubs take this one at home. Jameson Taillon's been pitching lights out lately, and I think he shuts down the Pirates' offense. The Cubs' bats are due to break out, and I think they finally do it at Wrigley Field. My prediction: Cubs take it 5-3, with Hoerner and Morel leading the way.

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