The Cubs (33-38) just took two of three from the Orioles to complete a very successful 5-1 homestand and get themselves back into the race in the National League Central. An offensive explosion was a key factor in the recent streak of improved play with an average of 7.3 runs a game. Chicago now he heads out on a very unusual road trip to Pittsburgh and London beginning with a set of three at PNC Park.
The Pirates (34-36) were swept at Wrigley Field less than a week ago and then suffered the same fate in Milwaukee. Those six consecutive defeats have dropped them to third in the very crowded division. A big issue has been repeated bullpen collapses, including a four-run meltdown Sunday afternoon against the Brewers.
Pittsburgh still has a winning home record, so they should be a tougher opponent in the Steel City. Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes has been very good the last month in an otherwise recently cold lineup. The Bucs are trying to jump-start their flagging offense by recalling Henry Davis, the power-hitting catcher who was the top overall pick in the 2021 draft and was briefly up earlier in the season.
Pirates starters have struggled to get deep into games recently and it is putting a ton of pressure on the overused bullpen. Expect manager Derek Shelton to try and push his rotation a little bit deeper to try and protect the relief corps.
The Cubs are definitely playing much better recently and it’s great to see after they appeared dead in the water. They are back in the race at this point, but they could easily fall right back out if they can’t maintain their improved effort. This series is a good test to see if this is really sustainable success or just a flash in the pan. Here’s hoping it is here to stay, it certainly would be nice if that’s the case.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, June 19 at 6:05pm CT on Marquee.
- Tuesday, June 20 at 6:05pm CT on Marquee.
- Wednesday, June 21 at 11:35am CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Christopher Morel had two more homers against the Orioles as he stays hot.
- Miguel Amaya had to leave the game Sunday after getting hit by a pitch in the right wrist.
- The Cubs faced Bido and Oviedo last week, knocking both of them out of the game early.
- Stroman continues to make a case for the Cy Young award with his terrific pitching.