Trevor Williams (0-1, 7.36 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (0-1, 6.75 ERA)
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs will open a three-game weekend series at Wrigley Field on Friday evening. The Cubs were unable to conclude their series against the Cincinnati Reds because of poor weather. They were winners by final scores 8-7 and 8-5 in the first two games, and then the Reds fought back for a 12-7 win Wednesday.
The win was highlighted by a Nick Castellanos grand slam against Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks was rolling before running out of steam halfway through the game. It doesn’t take much time in baseball to go from lights out to getting drilled. His numbers went from fantastic to pretty dreary in a hurry.
The Cubs enter the weekend with a record of 4-2 for the lead in the NL Central. It’s a little early to be talking about divisional winners, but the Cubs have to be in the discussion. In fact, I’d say that the NL Central is one of the most wide-open divisions in baseball.
The Cubs, Brewers, Reds, and Cardinals are all going to be in the mix. This shortened season is going to make it one exciting race to the finish line in a couple of months. I want to include the Pirates as well, and who knows in just 60 games, but they will likely fade.
Pittsburgh are coming off two of three losses against the Brewers. They had the day off on Thursday following a 3-0 loss the day before. The highlight of the series was a 8-6 win Tuesday. The bats came out to play for the Pirates, as they staged an impressive come from behind effort to beat the Brewers.
Derek Holland was serviceable enough to hold the Brewers at bay for the first half of the contest. It was a good effort by the Pirates, but coming from behind like that to win isn’t going to be a common occurrence for the Pirates. Yu Darvish was scheduled to pitch on Thursday, but is being pushed back to take Tyler Chatwood’s spot today. The Pirates will counter with Trevor Williams on the hill. Head below for our free Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs pick for July 31, 2020 in MLB.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs MLB Baseball Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs Prediction:
Trevor Williams had a breakout season in 2018. It was his third season with major league experience, and that’s what you wanted to see from a guy in his second full season. However, all of the momentum that Williams built up has gone to the wayside. Williams posted an ERA of 3.11 and 1.18 WHIP in 2018, but he tailed off and didn’t follow up with success. He notched a 5.38 ERA and 1.41 WHIP last season in 26 starts.
In one outing in 2020, Williams is on the same wrong track. He was roughed up against the St. Louis Cardinals on the road with 5 hits and 3 earned runs conceded in 3.2 innings. Williams left the game with a 7.36 ERA and 1.64 WHIP. The Cardinals were hitting .313 before Williams was pulled. Other than striking out three hitters, Williams didn’t do much else.
The Cubs have done big damage against Williams in past meetings. They’ve nailed Williams for 9 home runs and 27 runs in 147 at-bats. The Cubs are hitting .289 with a .339 OBP against Williams in his career. They were heating up in Cincinnati at Great American and I could see it carrying over to Wrigley Field versus Williams. If the Cubs want to play today, they should be able to do damage on Friday night under the lights.
I’m not the biggest Yu Darvish supporter, and see him as one of the most overrated pitchers in the major leagues. He got off to a rough start in 2020, as Darvish was dinged for a 6.75 ERA and 1.50 WHIP against the Brewers in his opener of 2020. That said, Darvish has dominated the Pirates, as they’re hitting just .113 with 1 home run and 3 runs in 52 at-bats. Darvish recorded a WHIP of 0.83 versus the Pirates last year. He should be able to bounce back against this opponent on Friday at Wrigley.