Chi. Cubs Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates Picks and Predictions May 16th 2024

Chi. Cubs Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates MLB Thu, May 16, 19:40 pm.
Chi. Cubs Cubs
ML: -125
Pittsburgh Pirates
ML: 105

Andrew McCutchen will attempt to keep turning back the clock on Thursday when the Pittsburgh Pirates open a four-game road series against the Chicago Cubs. McCutchen, 37, has been on a tear lately, and his performance will be crucial for the Pirates as they face a tough Cubs lineup.

Andrew McCutchen’s Recent Performance

Andrew McCutchen has hit safely in four of his past five games, going 8-for-20 (.400) with two home runs, three RBIs, and six runs during that span. Despite the Pirates’ 10-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, McCutchen was a standout, collecting three hits, including a solo shot.

“It’s really good to see. He has hit a lot of barrels and not had success in terms of getting hits,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of McCutchen. “It was good to see him get rewarded and get some knocks (Wednesday).”

Jared Jones and Run Support

Offensive production from McCutchen — or anyone — would be a welcome sight for Pittsburgh rookie right-hander Jared Jones (2-4, 2.68 ERA). Jones is scheduled to make his ninth start of the season on Thursday, and the 22-old-year has been the victim of a Pirates lineup that has provided him with little run support.

Pittsburgh has scored more than two runs in just two of the eight games Jones has started, and the California native hasn’t surrendered more than three runs in an outing.

In his most recent start, Jones took a loss against the Cubs on Friday after giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits in six innings. That was his first career appearance against Chicago.

“Honestly, he’s got really good stuff,” Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger said of Jones. “And as a young kid, he showed good poise up there.”

Chicago Cubs’ Recent Performance

Bellinger went 2-for-3 with a home run against Jones during last week’s meeting, and he put together another solid performance on Wednesday, hitting a double and a single in Chicago’s 7-1 road victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The Cubs avoided a three-game sweep with the win. They were shut out in the first two games of the series.

Chicago right fielder Seiya Suzuki was able to shake off some rust on Wednesday, clubbing his first homer since April 13. Suzuki, who missed 24 games due to an oblique strain before returning last weekend, hopes to ride the newfound momentum into the series with the Pirates.

“My swing was really good and I felt really good, so it was just about staying persistent,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “But I’m glad it finally went over (the fence).”

Pitching Matchup: Justin Steele vs. Pirates

Chicago’s outfield duo will be back left-hander Justin Steele (0-0, 4.73 ERA) on Thursday. Steele managed to escape with a no-decision against Pittsburgh on Saturday despite being lit up for six runs and six hits in four innings. He yielded three homers as part of the shellacking.

In seven career appearances (six starts) against the Pirates, Steele has struggled, going 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA. This history suggests the Pirates might have an opportunity to capitalize on Steele’s vulnerabilities.

Head-to-Head and Historical Performance

Thursday marks the fourth meeting of the season between the teams. The Cubs are 2-1 against Pittsburgh this year. The Pirates have only three wins in their past 11 games at Wrigley Field, a rut that dates back to May 2022.

Key Players to Watch

  • Andrew McCutchen: With his recent hot streak, McCutchen will be a key player to watch. His leadership and batting prowess could spark the Pirates’ offense.
  • Jared Jones: The rookie pitcher has shown promise despite the lack of run support. His performance against the Cubs will be crucial.
  • Cody Bellinger: Bellinger’s recent form, including his performance against Jones, makes him a significant threat.
  • Seiya Suzuki: Having found his swing after returning from injury, Suzuki could be a pivotal player for the Cubs.

Game Outlook

The series opener will be an interesting matchup, with McCutchen’s form and Jones’ pitching against a Cubs team looking to build momentum. Both teams have their strengths and vulnerabilities, making this a series to watch.

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping
Wed, May 15, 22:55 pm.
Chi. Cubs Cubs
O 8
Pittsburgh Pirates
U 8
Marco D'Angelo | Handicapper

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Marco D’Angelo has been a professional sports handicapper and bettor since 1980.

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