The Pittsburgh Pirates poured it on early and often on Monday night, as they jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the 2nd inning. Adbert Alzolay was in shambles with the first bad appearance of his young career. The rookie was making only his second start and third appearance on the bump in his career. It went horribly wrong, getting bulldozed by the Pirates for 10 hits and 7 runs in 2.2 innings of play.
Alzolay put the offense in a tough spot, but they clawed back with a 3-run 3rd inning to get back in the game. All Trevor Williams had to do was stay the course on the mound, but he had to put work to avoid any more damage. The Cubs had the bases juiced with 2 outs and he worked his way out of it.
Pittsburgh did the exact same thing in the next half inning, loading the bases with 2 outs. However, pitcher Trevor Williams, came up with a clutch single to add another run for the Pirates. Adam Frazier followed it up with a double and the Pirates were suddenly up 10-4 after the Cubs just got back into the contest.
There were only six games on the card yesterday, and we’ll get back to regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday. The All-Star Game is right around the corner and teams have one final week to make a strong push leading up to the break. Some teams, like the Phillies, are just counting down the days until the break gets here.
If Bryce Harper is who he is supposed to be, he should explode in the second-half and earn his paycheck. Then for teams who get hot this week, they likely don’t want to see a break. It can be a momentum breaker. The trade deadline is expected to be pretty wild with the pitchers out there, so this gives management an opportunity to process everything and continue to look at their options. There is no break for them. The Cubs are likely going to be in the market, especially with the Cole Hamels’ injury. Kyle Hendricks will make his return to the bump after his last start on June 14th. Joe Musgrove is expected to get the nod for the Pirates. Head below for our free Cubs vs. Pirates pick.
Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Last night snowballed out of control for the Chicago Cubs quickly. After closing the gap to a 3-run game, it all went downhill for the Cubs from there. The final result was an absolute drubbing of 18-5. The Pirates scored in every inning except the 3rd for their biggest win of the year. They’re hanging around in the NL Central, as they’re 5 games behind the Brewers for 1st in the division. That’s what a record of 40-43 gets you in the NL Central. Things are close and interesting, but no one is taking command. We’ll see how much that changes after the All-Star break.
Kyle Hendricks will be making his first start since having to sit out for a couple of weeks. Tyler Chatwood was immediately promoted to the rotation in his absence. Hendricks was tagged for 5 runs and he was shut down for two weeks right away. His overall production in 2019 has been quite impressive, though.
Note that Hendricks holds an ERA of 3.36 and 1.14 WHIP, which has been consistent with his career average. His best season was in 2016 when he quietly posted an ERA of 2.13. The guy got zero attention in the media, and wasn’t even the most talked about pitcher on the team, but he pitched as an All-Star would.
He has had a rather successful career against this lineup. The Pirates are hitting .238 with 3 home runs in 147 at-bats. You can’t really fault that. Hendrick’s numbers on the road don’t suggest anything special, but there is one start that skewed it all of wack. He got smacked for 7 runs against the Diamondbacks, ultimately driving his ERA on the road up. However, Hendricks also has some dominant performances, including just 1-run allowed against the Reds and Astros on the road. Expect the Pittsburgh offense to regress after getting the run fest out of their system Monday.
Musgrove has been adequate for the Pirates this season, posting an ERA of 4.27 and 1.25 WHIP. He is on a nice little run with only 1-run allowed in his previous two starts. He’s coming off a scoreless performance against the Astros in Houston. However, can we trust Musgrove to keep it going? He has been shaky at home, with an ERA of 4.97 and 1.27 WHIP. He has allowed just 1 deep ball on the road, but at home he has allowed 7 of them. After getting embarrassed last night, expect the Cubs to fire back and show more life on Tuesday night.