Francisco Liriano (0-1, 2.08 ERA) and Travis Wood (1-1, 2.31 ERA) take the hill in the second of a four-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates (6-7) and the Chicago Cubs (7-5) at PNC Park. The Cubs won the last game 5-2 and Chicago leads the series 1-0. Action begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Apr. 21 and can be seen on WGN and ROOT-PIT.
Liriano is 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 65 strikeouts against the Cubs. Andrew McCutchen (.238, 7 Rs, 2 HRs, 10 RBIs) kept up his hot start yesterday, going 2 for 4 with one RBI. Wood is 5-7 with a 4.28 ERA against the Pirates in his career. He is up against a below-average Pittsburgh offense that's batting just .216. Anthony Rizzo (.282, 8 Rs, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 SBs) has been successful at the plate to the start the season for the Cubs, going 2 for 3 yesterday with one run and one stolen base.
Pittsburgh is a -159 favorite against Chicago and the Over/Under (O/U) for this game is sitting at seven runs. The Pirates have an overall money line of -64 and a record as the favorite of 4-3. Pittsburgh has had an impressive season against division opponents, earning 3-1 and 5-4 records as the favorite and SU respectively. The Pirates have seen an uptick in scoring against teams inside their division, averaging 4.6 runs per game. They average 3.8 runs per game on the season. As for the pitchers, the Pirates are the second-best team in the NL at limiting hits to their opponents, allowing only 6.9 hits per game so far this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Pirates, who rank second in the NL in strikeouts per game with 9.1.
In the other locker room, Chicago is coming in with an overall money line of +five and an impressive record of 2-1 as the dog. They are 3-2 against NL Central rivals. Offensively, the Cubs have really sputtered in division games. They have decreased their season average of 4.1 runs per game by averaging 3.2 in those contests. The Cubs are an excellent base-stealing team with an MLB-best 15 stolen bases. The Cubs average 3.9 runs allowed per game, but does better whenever another team from the NL Central is on the schedule. They bring that runs allowed average down to 2.4 against division foes. When it comes to issuing walks, the Cubs have the third-fewest in the NL with an average of just 2.1 walks allowed per game. The Cubs have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an NL-best 8.4 strikeouts per game, making them one of the top five teams in the league.
The Cubs have the edge in the season series, 1-0.
Predictions: SU Winner - PIT, O/U - Over
The Cubs have a 4-2 record against teams in their division, while the Pirates are even against their rivals at 5-5.
Pittsburgh has won 25% (1-3) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Chicago has won 60% (3-2) of its games when taking a late lead.
After a weak showing last week where they got in five hits, the Pirates need to step it up. The Cubs have a record of 3-0 when opponents get five hits or fewer.
When they are outhit, the Pirates are 0-5. The Cubs have a 3-5 record when opponents outhit them.
Ranking 16th in home runs, Chicago has hit 11 this season. Pittsburgh ranks ninth with 13 home runs.
Pittsburgh and Chicago both rank in the top half of the league in hits. Pittsburgh sits at 14th with 7.08 hits per game and Chicago ranks 11th with 7.55.
Ranking 26th, Pittsburgh is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.622). Chicago ranks in the top half at 12th with an OPS of .704.
When the Cubs allow at least one home run, they are 3-3. When the Pirates allow one or more homers, they have a 2-5 record.