The Chicago Cubs (4-2) will host the Pittsburgh Pirates (2-4) for their first showdown of the abbreviated season. Their game will take place on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:15 pm. Both of these teams call the NL Central home, though they find themselves on opposite sides of the standings. The Cubs rank first in the division, while the Pirates sit at the bottom of the division in 4th place. Saturday will be the second game of a three-game series between these teams, with all the games taking place in Chicago. The last time these teams met was on September 25th of last year. In that game, the Pirates sent the Cubs packing after winning all three games in that series. Overall, though, the Cubs beat the Pirates eleven out of the nineteen games that they played last season.
Pirates Struggle To Find FootingAfter playing for just over a week, the Pirates have yet to see the results that they might have hoped for. The team, who is currently at the bottom of the division with the Reds, has failed to find much success at home or on the road. Their problems started in the preseason, where they lost all three of their summer camp games to Cleveland. They were unable to get within one run in any of those games, and the closest they got to a victory in summer camp was a 3-5 loss. Moving into the regular season, their luck hasn’t changed. Out of the six games that they’ve played at the time of writing this article, they’ve only managed two victories. They’ve played two series thus far, one on the road and one at home. Both saw them being beaten twice and winning once.
Their most recent completed series was against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers, who are a central division rival, played them in Pittsburgh. The home-field advantage didn’t change the outcome of the series from the one they played in St Louis, though. In their home opener, the Pirates dropped the game to the Brewers by a single run. Single run games seem to be becoming a specialty of the Pirates, as that’s been the outcome of three of their six games played. Their second match saw them coming away with their second victory of the season. They beat the Brewers 8-6 after a two-run home run was hit by Adam Frazier. Despite that high energy ending to their game, the Pirates were unable to take that momentum into their next match and ended the series with a 0-3 loss.
Cubs Continue Positive PlayThe Cubs had an interesting advantage as far as summer camps went. Rather than playing one, two, or even three games against a single opponent, they had the benefit of playing against two different teams during their regular season warm-up. They played their first two preseason matches against the White Sox, before having a single game against the Twins. This varied schedule gave them the chance to play against different teams in different divisions and leagues. That gave them game-time experience against a variety of play styles and skill levels that seems to be serving them well so far in the season. Chicago has been playing regular-season games for a week now, and they’ve only dropped two of those six games. They had a match scheduled for Thursday that would’ve closed out their series with the Reds, but it was postponed due to rain. A makeup date hasn’t been announced at the time of writing this article.
Much like the Pirates, the Cubs have had a series at home and a series on the road. And, much like the Pirates, the Cubs have found themselves with a 2-1 record in both of those series. Their record goes the opposite direction from the Pirates, though, as they won two and lost one, rather than losing two and winning only one. This puts the team in a good position, as they sit alone at the top of the NL Central for the time being. They are only a single win ahead of the number two team. Their gap might’ve been larger if their match on Thursday against the Reds hadn’t been rained out. First baseman Anthony Rizzo took to Twitter to air out his complaints about how the league handled the situation. Rather than call the game, the players were made to wait in the clubhouse for a reported eight hours. Amidst virus concerns in the league, this evidently ticked off the Cub’s star. Soon after his tweets, the game was officially called off and the players sent away.
- The Cubs were 51-30-0 when playing at home in the 2019 season.
- The Cubs were 75-71-0 when having equal rest with their opponent in the 2019 season.
- The Pirates were 29-47-0 when playing division games in the 2019 season.
- The Pirates were 59-80-0 when having no rest in the 2019 season.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Chicago Cubs have clearly been the stronger team thus far in the season. They haven’t made league-high numbers when it comes to their offense or defense, but they have something arguably more important over the course of a baseball season, even one as abbreviated as the 2020 season. They have consistency. From their first summer camp game to this match against the Pirates, they’ve been a consistently steady team, able to control themselves and their play on either side of the field. They also have the benefit of that postponed game against the Reds. While they still went to the field and were prepared for the game, they didn’t expend that energy actually playing. That is all the more energy that they’ll bring to their game with the Pirates.
Prediction: Chicago Cubs -160
Full-Game Total Pick
The more games that are played in the 2020 season, the stats of games played this season become more and more useful. The data gathered from two or three games can’t be used very reliably without feeling like you’re jumping to conclusions, but after seeing teams play six or more games, trends start appearing. Both of these teams have a trend in common. They’ve both been tending towards over rather than under. Out of their six games played, the Cubs have gone over in four. The Pirates have had the same results. That means 66.6% of games that these teams have played so far have ended in the score going over. That’s a big enough number to comfortably assume that Saturday’s game will go over as well.