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Series preview: Pirates host Cubs for first home series

It’s a quick two-game set.

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, April 12-13, 2022

Location: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA

TV: AT&T Sports Pittsburgh

Radio: KDKA-AM

Cubs SB Nation Site: Bleed Cubbie Blue


The Pirates play in Pittsburgh for the first time this season, hosting a quick two-game set against the Chicago Cubs.

Here’s a look at what we can expect:

Projected Starters

Tuesday, 4:12 p.m. EST

Drew Smyly vs. Jose Quintana

Wednesday, 12:35 p.m. EST

Kyle Hendricks vs. Zach Thompson

Projected Lineups

Cubs

  1. Rafael Ortega, LF
  2. Nick Madrigal, 2B
  3. Willson Contreras, C
  4. Ian Happ, LF
  5. Frank Schwindel, 1B
  6. Seiya Suzuki, RF
  7. Jason Heyward, CF
  8. Patrick Wisdom, 3B
  9. Nico Hoerner, SS

Pirates

  1. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
  2. Bryan Reynolds, CF
  3. Michael Chavis, 1B
  4. Yoshi Tsutsugo, DH
  5. Diego Castillo, 2B
  6. Kevin Newman, SS
  7. Jake Marisnick, RF
  8. Roberto Pérez, C
  9. Ben Gamel, LF

Here’s a look at what Bleed Cubbie Blue managing editor Al Yellon had to say about the Cubs heading into the series:

These are not your father’s Chicago Cubs, or your older brother’s, or heck, even yours if you were around last year.

The Cubs had a massive selloff at the trading deadline in 2021, trading away beloved World Series stars Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Báez, among others.

They had a rough last two months last year, but did get a good performance out of Frank Schwindel, who hit .342/.389/.613 over the last two months. That was good for 33 extra-base hits, 1.7 bWAR, a 165 OPS+, and NL Rookie of the Month awards in August and September. Also, Patrick Wisdom set a Cubs rookie record with 28 home runs (eclipsing Bryant, who set that mark with 26 in 2015).

It’s sort of a transition year for the Cubs while they wait for all the prospects they got in those deadline deals to pan out, but they did make two splashy free agent signings, one before the lockout, one after. Marcus Stroman, one of the better starters on the FA market, signed a three-year contract (with an opt-out after year two), and the Cubs also inked Japanese star Seiya Suzuki to a five-year deal, betting that the 27-year-old will still be producing when the Cubs are ready to contend again. Both had good performances against the Brewers over the weekend. Stroman threw five strong innings and Suzuki hit his first MLB homer, a three-run job, even though the Cubs lost their series finale to Milwaukee.

Taking two of three from the Brewers on Opening Weekend was unexpected and the team is doing many things well, especially working counts and taking walks (they’re fifth in MLB in walks through Sunday, but all four teams ahead of them have played one more game).

So there’s cause for some optimism on the North Side of Chicago heading into this brief two-game series in Pittsburgh, where you’ll see newcomer Drew Smyly as well as longtime Cub Kyle Hendricks start for the Cubs.