Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates – Series Preview (May 10-12): Overview, Game and Broadcast Info, Starting Pitchers, W2W4

The Cubs (22-16) lost two of three to the Padres at Wrigley Field, but it wasn’t all bad news with the return of Justin Steele and Cody Bellinger to the active roster. Chicago held up pretty well without them and Seiya Suzuki has been activated from the IL and will be available for the three games in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates (17-21) got off to a very nice 10-4 start to the season before hitting a 7-17 skid to fall well behind the Cubs and Brewers in the NL Central. The main culprit behind their slide is a team OPS of .630 that sits third worst in all of baseball.

Connor Joe is the only Pirate hitter with an OPS over .800 and only three are over .700, so this is a team-wide funk. Outfielder Bryan Reynolds is still the most dangerous bat in the lineup and towering shortstop Oneil Cruz is brimming with talent even if he hasn’t really tapped into it yet.

The Pirates’ pitching staff has been the stronger aspect of the team through the first month of the season with a squad ERA of 3.70, 11th in MLB. Rookie Jared Jones, who is just 22 years old, has been their best starter so far in 2024 with a 2.63 ERA and 52 strikeouts in just 41 innings.

Aroldis Chapman and David Bednar have both struggled at the back end of the bullpen with numerous blown saves, but the rest of the relief pitching has been pretty good. Perhaps the biggest news in the Steel City is that 2023 first-overall pick Paul Skenes will make his major league debut Saturday against the Cubs. The former LSU ace routinely hits triple digits with his fastball and had huge strikeout numbers in the minors.

Chicago went 10-3 against Pittsburgh last season after struggling with them the previous few seasons. There aren’t as many division games with the new balanced schedule so the Cubs really need to make the most of these contests.

Game Time and Broadcast Info

  • Friday, May 10 at 5:40pm CT on Marquee.
  • Saturday, May 11 at 3:05pm CT on Marquee.
  • Sunday, May 12 at 12:35pm CT on Marquee.

Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L FIP K/BB
5/10 Javier Assad 26 R 1.66 3-0 3.24 2.58
Jared Jones 22 R 2.63 2-3 3. 28 10.40
5/11 Justin Steele 28 L 0.96 0-0 2.09 4.00
Paul Skenes 21 R N/A N/A N/A N/A
5/12  TBA
 Mitch Keller 28 R 4.41 3-3 4.12 2.75

What to Watch For

  • Bellinger had three hits including a home run in his first game back before going hitless in his second game.
  • Just as it seemed they were getting healthy, Dansby Swanson has been placed on the IL with a right knee sprain.
  • The Cubs have not named a starter for Sunday’s game after pushing Jameson Taillon back from a planned Friday start, but he feels he’ll be good to go for the series finale.
  • Steele was very sharp in his first start back against the Padres and should have a higher pitch count in this start.
  • Thursday was Chicago’s first off-day since April 22, breaking up a streak of 16 consecutive games.
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