Cubs Invade Pittsburgh with Hammels, Arrieta and Lester – Series Preview: May 2-5, 2016

The Cubs (17-6) invade Pittsburgh starting today to take on the Pirates (15-10) for a three game series. Both teams have broken out to fast starts this year. The Pirates are 8-2 in their last ten games and the Cubs are 7-3.

The Cubs endured two rain outs over their last six-game home stand so you can consider them rested and ready to go. The rain outs also allowed Cubs skipper, Joe Maddon, to juggle the starting rotation so that the Cubs’ top three pitchers so far this season, Hammel, Arrieta and Lester, will face the Pirates.

Game times and broadcast info

  • Monday, May 2 at 6:05 PM CDT on CSN, ESPN/MLBN (out of market only)
  • Tuesday, May 3 at 6:05 PM CDT on WPWR, MLBN (out of market only)
  • Wednesday, May 4 at 11:35 AM CDT on CSN, MLBN (out of market only)

Starting Pitchers

Date Team Pitcher Age Throws ERA W/L K/BB
5/2/2016 Cubs Jason Hammel 33 R 0.75 3-0 2.44
  Pirates Gerrit Cole 25 R 2.78 2-2 3.17
5/3/2016 Cubs Jake Arrieta 30 R 1.00 5-0 3.20
  Pirates Jonathon Niese 29 L 5.08 3-0 2.44
5/4/2016 Cubs Jon Lester 32 L 1.83 2-1 4.71
  Pirates Juan Nicasio 29 R 3.33 3-2 2.42

What to watch for

  • Both teams are playing well so it should be an exciting series. The Pirates are three games behind the Cubs in the standings and look to make up ground against their division rivals. The Pirates and Cubs are first and second, respectively, in batting fWAR in the Majors so it’s possible this turns into a slugfest.
  • Not so fast, the Cubs pitching to start the season has been stellar, the Pirates, not so much. Cubs team ERA and FIP are 2.41/2.92, while the Pirates are at 4.10/4.60. Pitching could be where the Cubs come out ahead in this series.
  • The last time these teams played was on October 7, 2015, when the Cubs beat the Pirates in a one game play off to advance to the NLDS. Fans in Pittsburgh don’t tend to forget much when it comes to their professional sports teams so it’ll be interesting to see how amped they get for this series. Hopefully the Cubs offense can slow both the Pirates and their fans down.
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