Jeff Locke (2-2, 4.71 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (17-18) are in Chicago to meet Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 4.65 ERA) and the Cubs (19-15) in a game that could have plenty of offense. This is the first of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. The game gets underway at 2:20 p.m. ET on Friday, May. 15 and will air on ROOT-PIT, CSN-CHI and MLB.
Hendricks has a 4.35 ERA and a 0-1 record in his career against the Pirates, and faces a struggling Pittsburgh offense that's hitting just .236 on the year. Anthony Rizzo (.336, 24 Rs, 7 HRs, 20 RBIs, 7 SBs) went 1 for 2 yesterday with one RBI. In his career against the Cubs, Locke is 1-2 with a 5.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, and 36 strikeouts. Starling Marte (.287, 19 Rs, 8 HRs, 25 RBIs, 5 SBs) has been doing well offensively for the Pirates, going 3 for 4 yesterday with one run and one RBI.
Chicago, a -128 favorite, will look to capitalize at home against Pittsburgh. The Over/Under (O/U) for the matchup is presently unavailable. The Cubs are 10-8 as the favorite and have an overall money line of +110. Over the last 10 games, they have a very good record when playing as the favorite (3-1). The Cubs are a nightmare for opponents on the bases with 31 steals, one of the highest totals in baseball. Chicago's pitching staff performs very well on its own field, recording a low 3.06 team ERA at home. The Cubs don't give up many hits at home to opposing batters at Wrigley Field, leading the NL with only 7.5 hits allowed per home game. The have been extremely effective at striking opposing batters out, averaging 8.4 strikeouts per game.
Switching gears, the Pirates come into this game with a weak win percentage of .300 when playing as the underdog (3-7) and an overall money line of -263. Over the last 10 games, they were winless as the underdog with a 0-1 record and 5-5 SU. The Pirates are a problem for opposing batters, sporting an NL-low 2.57 ERA on the road this season. They also have some of the most overpowering arms in the NL with an average of 8.3 strikeouts per game.
The Cubs have gotten the best of the Pirates in head-to-head matchups this season, going 4-3. The right-handed Hendricks will take the mound against the Pirates, who have a 16-14 record against righty starters this season.
Predictions: SU Winner - CHC
This season, the Cubs hold an even 12-12 record against NL Central teams. The Pirates sit at 11-14 against these opponents.
Pittsburgh has won 45% (5-6) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Chicago has won 47% (7-8) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Cubs are coming into this game after allowing one walk during their last outing. The Pirates have a 4-10 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
It looks like the Cubs have a slight leg up on the Pirates, as the Cubs have won their last four games while the Pirates have lost their last two.
When they outhit their opponents, the Pirates are 11-3. The Cubs have an 11-2 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 23rd, Pittsburgh sits near the bottom of the league in runs, scoring 132 this season. Chicago ranks in the top half at 13th with 145.
Ranking 26th, Pittsburgh is near the bottom of the league in walks, notching 81 this season. Chicago ranks in the top five at fifth with 120.
The Cubs are 14-5 when they hit at least one home run. The Pirates perform similarly when they hit one or more homers with a 12-7 record.