Series Preview: Pirates v. Cubs, May 15 – May 17, 2015

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Series Preview: Pirates v. Cubs, May 15 – May 17, 2015

Chicago Cubs

pirates parrotWas it just a Mets thing, or are the Cubs really on fire? Is it the appearance of the bleachers?

We shall see.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs may have dropped a couple in Milwaukee at the tail end of an ugly stretch, but they’re on a new hot streak, having just swept the Mets in four games. That took the Cubs to 19-15, which looks great to me.

It looked like the Pirates were finally turning things around, winning four in a row this week, including two against the Cardinals. But then they just dropped the final two games of their series against the Phillies, which is like losing a bunch of games to the Brewers. *silence*

At 17-18, the Pirates are 2.5 games behind the Cubs.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, May 15 at 1:20 CT on CSN, MLBN.
  • Saturday, May 16 at 3:05 CT on ABC-7, FoxSports1.
  • Sunday, May 17 at 1:20 CT on WGN-9, MLBN.

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: Kyle Hendricks (4.65 ERA, 3.98 FIP; 2.88 K/BB), Jon Lester (4.10 ERA, 3.41 FIP; 3.33 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (3.00 ERA, 2.32 FIP; 4.36 K/BB)


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


Starters: Jeff Locke (4.71 ERA, 3.78 FIP; 2.36 K/BB), Gerrit Cole (2.32 ERA, 2.63 FIP; 3.75 K/BB), A.J. Burnett (1.60 ERA, 3.05 FIP; 2.77 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

Yes, the HBPs are helping – though some of those otherwise would have been walks or hits – but Anthony Rizzo’s OBP this year is just insane. It’s now up to .470, which is the best. Like, literally. The best in baseball. He’d have to fail to get on base for the next 87 STRAIGHT PLATE APPEARANCES for his OBP to fall under .300.

I’d feel much better about my growing Travis Wood concerns if Kyle Hendricks put together a great outing today.

Chris Coghlan’s peripherals are all essentially the same as last year, except that he’s got a better ISO and he’s making more hard contact. And yet his line – .202/.275/.394 – demonstrates that the BABIP gods hate him (.219). It’s gotta be so frustrating, but just keep doing what you’re doing, man. Don’t change a thing.

I’d grumble about the Cubs having to face Gerrit Cole again, but, hey, the Cubs did just win games involving Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey.

You knew it would come eventually, and it’s coming at the wrong time for the Cubs: Andrew McCutchen’s hot streak. He’s hitting .400/.467/.680 over the past week.

Not unlike the Cubs’ own heralded, powerful, young right fielder, Gregory Polanco is struggling a bit, hitting .266/.313/.371 on the year (87 wRC+).

Overall, as a team, the Pirates continue to be terrible offensively (80 wRC+), but excellent pitching-wise (3.06 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 3.44 xFIP).

Author: Brett Taylor

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