Series Preview: Chicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates 5/10-5/12

Series Preview: Chicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates 5/10-5/12

The Cubs head to Pittsburgh for a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates starting Friday, May 10th. The Cubs have a 21-16 record good enough to sit atop the National League Central right now. The Pirates are currently in third place in the Central with a 17-21 record entering the series. While this series is important for both teams being a division rival matchup, the hype around this series is all focused on the MLB debut during Saturday’s game when ITD’s second-ranked prospect overall Paul Skenes makes his debut on the mound for the Pirates. The Cubs are coming off a series loss to the San Diego Padres heading into the series for the Pirates. The Pirates are coming off their own series loss to the Los Angeles Angels from the beginning of the week. Let’s break down each game’s pitching matchup.

Game one: Friday, May, 10th @ 7:40 PM EDT

Starting Pitchers: Javier Assad (3-0, 1.66 ERA) vs. Jared Jones (2-3, 2.63 ERA)

Javier Assad has been consistent for the Cubs to kick off the season with a 1.66 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. Assad has allowed 27 hits, seven earned runs, 12 walks, and struck out 31 so far this season for the Cubs. Jared Jones has been terrific for the Pirates this year. He has made seven starts with a 2-3 record so far this year. In 41 innings of work, he has allowed 12 earned runs, 27 hits, five walks, and struck out 52 batters. He has a 2.63 ERA and 0.78 WHIP on the season, he has been terrific to start the year. Since his first start of the year when the Pirates scored nine runs, he has yet to get the run sport needed to support his terrific start. In seven starts he has received 20 runs of support less than 3 runs a game. Despite only having two wins on the year he has pitched much better than the record shows.

Game Two: Saturday, May 11th @ 4:05 PM

Starting Pitchers: Justin Steele (0-0, 0.96 ERA) vs. Paul Skenes (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

If you have plans on Saturday, rearrange them cause this is the game of the series and will be well worth the watch. The Cubs ace Justin Steele returned last week to face the San Diego Padres after missing about a month with a hamstring strain suffered opening night when fielding a ground ball. The Pirates are countering with their top prospect and ITD’s second-ranked prospect Paul Skenes. Justin Steele this year has made just two starts due to his stint on the injured list. The first one came on opening day against the Texas Rangers going 4.2 innings. He allowed three hits, one earned run, one walk, and struck out six. His last start was against San Diego and went 4.2 innings. He allowed three hits, one walk, and struck out two. Steele will look to continue his success Saturday while hopefully getting past five innings of work against the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates. Paul Skenes has done nothing but dominate in the minor for the Pirates since being drafted number one overall in the 2023 draft. So far this year with the Indianapolis Indians Skenes has made seven starts without a win or loss on the year. He has pitched in 27.1 innings allowing, 17 hits, three earned runs eight walks, and striking out 45 batters. He has a 0.99 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in Triple-A this year. This will be a tough matchup for Skenes, but the 21-year-old right-hander looks to be the real deal and I cannot wait to tune in Saturday and watch this matchup.

Game Three: Sunday, May 12th @ 1:35 PM

Starting Pitchers: TBD VS Mitch Keller (3-3, 4.41 ERA)

The Chicago Cubs have yet to announce a starter for Sunday just yet, whoever it is will be facing Mitch Keller. Keller has started eight games this year with one complete game with three wins and three losses on the season. He has pitched in 49 innings allowing, 49 hits, 24 earned runs, 16 walks, and 44 strikeouts. He has a 4.21 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP so far this year. Taking a guess, I would assume James Taillon would make the start for the Cubs this Sunday unless there is an injury we are yet to be made aware of. Since returning from the injured list James Taillon has been phenomenal for the Cubs with four games started, winning three of the four. He has pitched in 24 innings this year giving up 16 hits, three earned runs, five walks, and striking out 16 batters. He has a 1.13 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP so far this season. Taillon did start his career in Pittsburgh so this will be an interesting matchup for him.

Team Stats

Chicago CubsPittsburgh Pirates
Batting Average.233.220
Home Runs4027
On Base Percentage.314.301
Slugging Percentage.387.329
Earned Run Average3.753.70
Walks Plus Hits Per Inning Pitched1.261.20
Opponent Batting Average.236.231
Team Stats

Team Leaders

Chicago Cubs

  • Home Runs: Christopher Morel (8)
  • Batting Average: Nico Hoerner (.273)
  • RBIs Christopher Morel (24)
  • Wins: Shota Imanaga (5)
  • ERA: Shota Imanaga (1.08)
  • K’S: Shota Imanaga (43)

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Home Runs: Oneil Cruz (5)
  • Batting Average: Connor Joe (.288)
  • RBIs Bryan Reynolds (17)
  • Wins: Mitch Keller (3)
  • ERA: Jared Jones (2.63)
  • K’S: Shota Imanaga (52)

Wrap Up:

The Cubs and Pirates series this weekend is one I intend to watch every inning. The Saturday game in my opinion is the best of the three pitching matchup-wise. The call-up and debut of Paul Skenes is the most highly anticipated pitching prospect debut from maybe the likes of Stephen Strasburg years back. I am very interested to see how the Cubs hitters make adjustments as they get their looks at him. I also want to see how Skenes does the second time through the order as he, himself adjusts to the hitter’s approaches. This series is going to be a fun one to watch with some great pitching matchups across the board. Look for the starters for each team to battle back and forth and each game could come right down to which bullpen can perform the best when it counts.

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