Pirates at Cubs Preview and Pick: It’s Opening Day of the 2021 Major League Baseball season, and there are few days that are better than this one. It will be the Chicago Cubs hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon for a National League Central Division matchup.
The Pirates and Cubs have developed a pretty good rivalry in recent seasons despite not being close to each other in the standings. Both teams will begin the 2021 season with plenty of optimism, but the Pittsburgh Pirates have a false sense of hope.
Pittsburgh is going through a rebuilding phase, and it’s hard to see them being competitive at all this season. Anything can happen in Major League Baseball, but the Pirates are seriously undermanned.
The Chicago Cubs will once again try to turn things around with much of the same roster, but this is likely the final shot. Chicago will either win with the core, or they will become sellers at the trade deadline.
Pirates at Cubs Preview and Pick: Unfamiliar Faces Facing Cubs
The only people that can name more than ten members of the Pittsburgh Pirates team are the manager and the most die-hard of fans. This roster has seen a ton of turnover since the beginning of the 2020 season, and it wasn’t a good roster, to begin with.
Pittsburgh will be trotting out a ton of young “talent” to begin 2021, and it’s unclear how many of these players are ready for the Major League level. The Pirates are not expected to be a good offensive team, especially when it comes to the power department.
Chad Kuhl will make the Opening Day start for Pittsburgh, and it’s not like the team had many other options. Kuhl has pitched well at times at Wrigley Field, but it’s not likely that he will go very deep in this game.
Pirates at Cubs Preview and Pick: Can Cubs Compete in Central?
The National League Central Division is going to be bad, and that’s putting it kindly. Most experts believe that the St. Louis Cardinals are the team to beat, but they don’t exactly scream World Series contender.
Chicago won the National League Central a season ago, and this team still has plenty of talent to get the job done. Manager David Ross looks like he could be one of the best in baseball, and there is the motivation for many players to have a bounce-back year.
Joc Pederson should provide a lift to the Cubs lineup, but this season is all about Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo. Those three former superstars need to produce, or this will be their final season playing in a Cubs uniform.
Kyle Hendricks will make the start for the Cubs on Thursday, and all he does is win baseball games. Hendricks is the clear ace of the Cubs pitching staff and is one of the best in the league.
Pirates at Cubs Preview and Pick: Hendricks Helps Cubs Win Opener
Last season, Kyle Hendricks pitched a complete game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the season opener, and he could easily duplicate that performance in this game. He likely won’t have to go all the way as the Cubs should have a comfortable lead late in this one.
Pittsburgh is not going to be a good team in 2021, and they are going to have a ton of bad losses. The Pirates just don’t have the talent in their lineup to compete at the Major League level, especially against a guy like Hendricks.
The Chicago Cubs still have plenty of questions to answer themselves, but they are clearly the better team in this game. Look for the Cubs to play long ball a few times off of Chad Kuhl, as they will win this game with ease.
Bet the Chicago Cubs -1.5 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon.
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