The Cubs are playing their best baseball of 2022 after winning two series in a row on a brief West Coast road trip. Starting pitching has improved recently, putting the offense in position to capitalize on late opportunities. Now the Cubs return home to Wrigley for three games with the surprisingly spry Pirates.
Pittsburgh is playing better than expected but is still not a very good team. They are ranked in the bottom third of the league in most offensive categories, due largely to a pronounced lack of power. Daniel Vogelbach, Ben Gamel, and Ke’Bryan Hayes are the only regulars performing above replacement level, though Roberto Perez has played well in limited action and Michael Chavis has a 100 wRC+ over 88 plate appearances.
The biggest surprise has been Bryan Reynolds being a below-average producer to this point. Perhaps the likelihood of being traded is getting to him in the early going.
Pirates pitching also has been iffy so far this season, with the starters blowing up early and often. Now the bullpen, which was so good against the Cubs in April, has fallen on hard times as well. Despite this, the Bucs are somehow still winning more games than expected. That includes Sunday’s victory over the Reds in which they did not record a hit.
The Cubs haven’t fared well against the Pirates in their previous matchups this season, but maybe the success in San Diego and Arizona will carry through.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, May 16 at 7:40pm CT on Marquee Sports Network
- Tuesday, May 17 at 7:40pm CT on Marquee Sports Network
- Wednesday, May 18 at 7:40pm CT on YouTube
What to Watch For
- Seiya Suzuki is back in the lineup after his ankle injury and put a couple good swings on the ball.
- Miley is making his second start of the season after getting roughed up a bit in his first outing.
- Andrelton Simmons made his Cubs debut on Sunday and should at least solidify the infield defense with Nico Hoerner on the injured list.