The Cubs (17-17) swept the Dodgers and took two of three from the Pirates to get back to the .500 mark for the first time in what feels like forever. Chicago’s pitching had another good series and a more contact-heavy approach at the plate keyed the wins. Now it’s off to Cleveland for a pair of games starting Tuesday.
The Cubs famously swept a two-game Tuesday-Wednesday set at Progressive Field in 2016 as part of a longer event a lot of you may remember. Cleveland’s (18-14) 2021 edition is not as good as that World Series runner-up squad, but they aren’t pushovers. Pitching is their strong suit, with a 3.51 ERA that stands eighth-best in the majors.
The ace of the staff is reigning Cy Young winner Shane Bieber, who will face the Cubs Tuesday in the series opener. That might have seemed like a taller task prior to the tilt with LA in which the Cubs defeated three of the best pitchers in the game consecutively. As good as Bieber has been, he isn’t getting much support from an offense that has struggled to a .210 batting average that is the worst in baseball.
Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes are the only above-average run producers and have combined for 17 homers with wRC+ marks north of 140. Ramirez is doing all that damage with just a .228 BABIP, so there’s reason to believe he could really explode if fortune starts smiling on him.
The Cubs are a disappointing 4-9 on the road so far in 2021, so that will have to change if they want to stay in the playoff race. Upcoming games in Pittsburgh and Detroit could help improve that or maybe they can rekindle the Cleveland magic and win these two.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Tuesday, May 11 at 5:10pm on Marquee
- Wednesday, May 12 at 12:10pm on MLB Network and Marquee
What to Watch For
- Jake Marisnick, Jason Heyward, and Javy Báez all suffered injuries against Pittsburgh. Only Marisnick’s hamstring strain appeared significant.
- Davies had a quality start his last outing that may provide some momentum to get him back to his old self.
- Joc Pederson had six hits against the Pirates to pull his batting average over .200.