Gerrit Cole (5-1, 2.32 ERA) starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates (17-19) as they square off against Jon Lester (3-2, 4.10 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs (20-15) in the second of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won the last game 11-10, continuing a five-game winning streak. Action begins at 4:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, May. 16 and can be seen on FS1 and ABC7.
Lester pitched 6.0 innings in his most recent start, surrendering three runs, striking out six and walking four in a 4-3 win over the Mets. Anthony Rizzo (.341, 26 Rs, 8 HRs, 22 RBIs, 7 SBs) had another good game yesterday, going 3 for 7 with two runs, one home run, and two RBIs. When pitching against the Cubs, Cole is 6-0 with a 2.92 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 45 strikeouts. Andrew McCutchen (.238, 19 Rs, 4 HRs, 22 RBIs, 2 SBs) has been successful at the plate, going 2 for 4 yesterday with one run, one home run, and three RBIs.
Chicago is a slim -112 favorite at home against Pittsburgh. The Cubs have an overall money line of +210 and a record as the favorite of 11-8. Chicago is an impressive 4-1 as the favorite over its last 10 games. Chicago is one of the best in the MLB in terms of steals, swiping 33 bases. Opposing batters know they're in for a battle when they play Chicago. The Cubs are one of the top teams when it comes to pitching, allowing just 3.3 runs per home game. The Cubs are the top team in the NL at limiting hits during home games, allowing only 7.6 hits per contest to their opponents this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Cubs, who rank second in the NL in strikeouts per game with 8.6.
As for their opponent, Pittsburgh is coming in with an overall money line of -386 and a disappointing record of 3-7 as the underdog. They have played poorly as the underdog with a 3-7 record against NL Central foes, and a 5-5 record SU. Pittsburgh's pitching staff has set the standard for its league, with an NL-low 2.55 ERA on the road. The Pirates have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an NL-best 8.1 strikeouts per road game, making them one of the top five teams in the league.
The Cubs lead the season series, 5-3. The Cubs have a 16-12 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Cole takes the mound.
Predictions: SU Winner - CHC
The Cubs are 13-12 against their divisional rivals, while the Pirates are 11-15 against their division.
Pittsburgh has won 42% (5-7) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Chicago has won 50% (8-8) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Cubs are coming off of a hot pitching game where they recorded 11 strikeouts. The Pirates have a record of 2-7 when they are struck out that many times or more.
It looks like the Cubs have a slight leg up on the Pirates, as the Cubs have won their last five games while the Pirates have lost their last three.
When they outhit their opponents, the Pirates are 11-3. The Cubs have an 11-2 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 18th, Pittsburgh sits in the bottom half of the league in runs, scoring 142 this season. Chicago ranks in the top 10 at 10th with 156.
Ranking 23rd, Pittsburgh is near the bottom of the league in walks, notching 89 this season. Chicago ranks in the top five at third with 129.
The Cubs are 15-5 in games where they hit one or more home runs. The Pirates are 12-8 when they hit at least one homer.