Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (33-38) at Pittsburgh Pirates (34-36)

In Series Previews by berselius64 Comments

The last one of these I had time to write was for the Cubs-Reds series…hopefully this one goes a little better for the Cubs.

As expected the Pirates have slid down the rankings after their hot start. Their overall team numbers are cromulent – position player WAR is about league average, starting pitching is just above average, and bullpen is a bit below. If you look over the past 30 days, however, all three have regressed to numbers closer to preseason expectations, though they haven’t really bottomed out in any aspect. Though I guess when the bar is the Royals/A’s/Cardinals (heh) it is a little lower.

Of note – The Pirates called up top prospect Henry Davis for this series. Davis went first overall in the 2021 draft and has been crushing it in AA/AAA this year, posting a .420-.430 wOBA at each stop.

Team Leaders

Switching to actual numbers on the year!


  • OBP: Cutch (.379)
  • ISO: Jack Suwinski (.282)
  • HR: Suwinski (15)
  • R+RBI: Bryan Reynolds (78)
  • wRC+: Suwinski (133)
  • BSR: Ji Hwan Bae (2.2)
  • Defense: Austin Hendges (10.2)
  • SP K/9: Mitch Keller (10.57)
  • SP BB/9: Keller (2.54)
  • SP FIP: Keller (3.38)
  • RP K/9: Angel Perdomo (14.63)
  • RP BB/9: David Benar (0.35)
  • RP FIP: Perdomo (1.15)
  • WAR: Keller (1.9)


  • OBP: Tauchman (.408)
  • ISO: Morel (.409)
  • HR: Wisdom (14)
  • R+RBI: Hoerner (72)
  • wRC+: Morel (174)
  • BSR: Hoerner (4.4)
  • Defense: Swanson (10.8)
  • SP K/9: Stroman (7.66)
  • SP BB/9: Cyle (1.91)
  • SP FIP: Steele (2.97)
  • RP K/9: Leiter (13.65)
  • RP BB/9: Alzolay (1.69)
  • RP FIP: Alzolay (2.59)
  • WAR: Swanson (2.6)

Who isn’t available?

Miguel Amaya was hit on the wrist by a pitch in Sunday’s game – X-rays showed no break so he is day to day. Patrick Wisdom is on the IL with a wrist sprain/David Patton disease. Brandon Hughes is out yet again with knee issues. Codi Heuer is throwing hard on his way back from TJS, but is still on an extended rehab assignment in the minors as he tries to regain his control. He has a 8+ ERA over just 11.1 innings in the minors. Brad Boxberger threw a bullpen in Arizona over the weekend, and may head on a rehab assignment soon.

Rob Zastryzny, one of the legion of forgettable former Cubs around the league (Paul Blackburn, Dylan Floro, and Jay Jackson are in the bigs somehow?), is on the IL with forearm inflammation and seems like he may be on the train to TJS town. Speaking of, Vince Velasquez had elbow surgery earlier this month and is done for the year. Ji-Man Choi is on the 60-day DL following an Achilles injury from April. He’s joined on the long term IL by Oneil Cruz, who broke his ankle back in April.

Pitching Matchups, Game Times

2023 K/9, BB/9, ERA, FIP listed for all starters

Monday: Drew Smyly, LHP (7.53, 2.43, 3.59, 4.33) vs Osvaldo Bido*, RHP (7.76, 4.65, 5.06, 5.08), 6:05 PM CT

*Projected numbers for Bido. His only appearance this year was his major league debut against the Cubs last week, where he walked three and struck out six, allowing one run over four innings.

Tuesday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (7.66, 3.24, 2.45, 3.43) vs Johan Oviedo, RHP (8.44, 4.16, 4.40, 3.80), 6:05 PM CT

Wednesday: Cyle Hendricks, RHP (5.08, 1.91, 3.18, 3.35) vs Rich Hill, RHP (8.38, 3.38, 4.31, 4.43), 11:35 PM CT

Hill has to be one of the contenders for the weirdest career in mlb history. I look forward to seeing him again at Wrigley. Hopefully the Cubs toss up a video montage of his involvement in the AJ Pierzynski incident (dying laughing).

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  1. Author

    Rice Cube:
    Lest we forget the Cubs did have a 5-1 homestand although they obviously need to keep winning more than they lose to keep any hope alive

    Just from what I heard on the radio broadcast, the vibes were great for that O’s series, and you could tell that Pat Hughes was feeling it.

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  2. Rice Cube

    First Mastrobuoni opportunity coincides with all the fans running away from the rain so it looks like they’re all trying to get away from watching him (dying laughing)

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  3. andcounting

    Rice Cube,

    Five shutout innings is my kind of waste.

    Fulmer sure has been better suited for non-closing situations. I don’t even think he’s pitching better, he’s just a bend-but-don’t-break pitcher.

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  4. Perkins

    Are the Pirates still philosophically committed to throwing inside when they can’t control it, or was today just shit luck? I saw Madrigal looked like he had beef when he got plunked.

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