The Pirates (7-2) head to Chicago for their first real test of the 2018 season, facing the Cubs in a battle for National League Central supremacy (in early April, at least).
The Cubs split their four-game season-opening series in Miami, then lost one at Cincinnati before a rainout. They got rolling this past weekend, though, taking three of four from the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Monday, 2:20 p.m. — Ivan Nova (0-1, 6.10 ERA) vs. Tyler Chatwood (0-1, 1.50), TV: AT&T SportsNet, MLB Network (out of market)
Wednesday, 8:05 p.m. — Steven Brault (2-0, 1.13) vs. Jon Lester (1-0, 2.89), TV: AT&T SportsNet
Thursday, 2:20 p.m. — Trevor Williams (2-0, 1.59) vs. Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 4.09), TV: AT&T SportsNet, MLB Network (out of market)
Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber share the team lead in home runs with two apiece. Bryant is getting on base half the time (.364/.500/.697). Addison Russell (.308/.438/.423) and Ben Zobrist (.333/.440/.381) are off to hot starts, while Ian Happ (.179/.233/.286) and Anthony Rizzo (.107/.219/.214) are cold.
Tyler Chatwood walked six Reds in his first start, but when he’s your lowest-rated starter, you’re looking pretty good. Between rainouts and game circumstance, new closer Brandon Morrow has only made three appearances this year. He’s notched saves in the Cubs’ last two games, though, so he may get Monday off, too. Another new reliever, Steve Cishek, has seen a good bit of work, with five strikeouts and two walks in 5 1-3 innings.
Well, isn’t this nice? The Pirates are looking pretty good heading into their first series with the Cubs. Fingers crossed the Pirates’ pitching can survive Wrigley Field, but the bats have been churning, and they could get a boost, too. We can certainly dream.
Who takes control in this NL Central showdown?
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