Series Preview: Pirates v. Cubs, April 27 – April 29, 2015

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Series Preview: Pirates v. Cubs, April 27 – April 29, 2015

Series Previews

pirates parrotThe Cubs couldn’t pull off the series win last week in Pittsburgh, but now they get the Pirates for three at Wrigley Field.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs took two from the Reds this weekend, bumping their record to 10-7, a couple games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central.

The Pirates swept the Diamondbacks (which, like, whatever – the wins count, though) after taking the final two against the Cubs last week. That means they’re riding a five-game winning streak, and they’re essentially tied with the Cubs, at 11-8.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, April 27 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
  • Tuesday, April 28 at 7:05 CT on WPWR.
  • Wednesday, April 28 at 7:05 CT on CSN.

And, if you’re not in the blackout region, you can always watch on

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.


Starters: Jason Hammel (5.19 ERA, 3.78 FIP; 16.00 K/BB), Travis Wood (3.24 ERA, 3.63 FIP; 2.83 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (5.74 ERA, 3.22 FIP; 13.00 K/BB)


  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Jorge Soler, RF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Kris Bryant, 3B
  5. Starlin Castro, SS
  6. Chris Coghlan, LF
  7. Miguel Montero/David Ross/Welington Castillo, C
  8. Pitcher
  9. Addison Russell, 2B


Starters: Vance Worley (4.00 ERA, 3.42 FIP; 1.88 K/BB), Jeff Locke (3.32 ERA, 2.24 FIP; 3.75 K/BB), Gerrit Cole (2.55 ERA, 2.22 FIP; 3.86 K/BB)


  1. Josh Harrison, 3B
  2. Gregory Polanco, RF
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. Starling Marte, LF
  6. Pedro Alvarez, 1B
  7. Francisco Cervelli, C
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

It’s a bummer that the Cubs will have to use three starters that all faced the Pirates just last time out – it’s tough to succeed when guys are seeing you so much, so quickly. For the Pirates, they at least get to shift one pitcher, and the Cubs will face tough righty, Gerrit Cole in this one. Hopefully they can beat up on Vance Worley and Jeff Locke this time around.

Jason Hammel’s and Kyle Hendricks’ K/BB numbers are just silly, even this early in the year.

Jorge Soler’s recent cold streak has his strikeout rate up to 35.9% and his line down to .257/.321/.414.

He sure doesn’t get a lot of love from fans (still), but the Cubs’ second best hitter since the start of the year among the regulars (so, not counting Kris Bryant) is Chris Coghlan, who’s hitting .245/.315/.510. Only Anthony Rizzo has been better by wOBA or wRC+.

Welington Castillo’s only bad number is the one that probably isn’t entirely in his control – the .188 BABIP. Otherwise, I see a guy with a 8.3% BB rate, a 16.7% K rate, and a .318 ISO and I think: can he get some more starts?

I know the Cubs’ bullpen has been maligned, but would you believe me if I told you they have six guys down there with a FIP of 2.53 or better?

Andrew McCutchen is hitting just .186/.315/.322 on the year, though it’s entirely due to a sub-.200 BABIP and his power being down a bit. Doubt that lasts, and here’s hoping he doesn’t start getting better bounces this week.

Arquimedes Caminero is as hard to hit (100+ mph fastball) as his name is to type.


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.