Chicago Cubs (17-6) at Pittsburgh (15-10)
When: Monday, May 2nd 2016
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: ESPN
The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates meet for the first of 19 times this season when they meet Monday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Jake Arrieta and the Cubs beat Gerrit Cole in the Wild Card game last season and Pittsburgh will be looking for a little revenge. Chicago enters the week with the best record in Baseball and are three-games ahead of the second-place Pirates in the N.L. Central. The Cubs’ four-game winning streak came to an end Sunday with a 4-3 extra-innings setback against Atlanta. The Pirates are also coming off an extra-innings loss – 6-5 to Cincinnati. Pittsburgh had won six in a row before yesterday and have scored four or more runs in seven straight. The Pirates offense leads the majors in batting average (.290) and is second in OPS (.821). Chicago third-baseman Kris Bryant returned from an ankle injury on Sunday and went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
Pitchers: Cubs – Jason Hammel (3-0, 0.75 ERA) | Pirates – Gerrit Cole (2-2, 2.78)
Jason Hammel is doing his best Jake Arrieta impersonation this season with a 3-0 record and stellar 0.75 ERA. Hammel has thrown exactly six innings in each of his four starts and has allowed one run or less in each of them. He has not been as impressive in his career against Pittsburgh, going 5-5 with a 4.03 ERA in 12 games (11 starts).
After a rough start to the season at Cincinnati, Cole has put together three straight quality starts and picked up the win in each of his last two outings. Cole gave up four runs – two earned – and eight hits over six innings Tuesday at Colorado but got plenty of run support in a 9-4 win. Cole has been dominant against the Cubs, going 7-1 with a 2.88 ERA in nine career meetings.
This should be one of the more entertaining season series this season in all of baseball. Hammel has lost the last two starts against Pittsburgh and Cole has beaten the Cubs in his last two regular season starts. He lost the Wild Card Game, but I have to give him a pass on that one as Arrieta was just unstoppable last season. I like the way the Pirates are playing right now after a rough stretch in the middle of April. Cole will get his revenge tonight.
Pick: Pirates -105