The Pittsburgh Pirates‘ next six games consist of three games against the 11-30 Houston Astros and the 17-23 Chicago Cubs, both series’ coming at PNC Park. You’re probably wondering why six games against terrible teams are so crucial; the answer is simple: The Pirates need to dominate weaker competition.
At 24-17, the Pirates find themselves with the seventh-best record in all of MLB, but sit third in the NL Central. With dominant teams like the 26-14 St. Louis Cardinals and the 25-16 Cincinnati Reds ahead of them, the Pirates can’t afford to lose games to lesser competition.
The Astros come to PNC Park tied with the Miami Marlins for the worst record in all of baseball. The Astros’ pitching staff ranks last in MLB in ERA (5.76), quality starts (10), WHIP (1.65) and batting average against (.298). Not only has the pitching staff struggled, but the Astros might not even have their best offensive player, Jose Altuve, available for the three-game series against the Pirates. Altuve dislocated his jaw a few days ago during a collision with his teammate Jimmy Paredes.
The Cubs have a few games with the New York Mets before they come to Pittsburgh, but they currently rank at the bottom half of the league in several offensive categories. Based on the pitching statistics, it is hard to believe the Cubs are only 17-23. Their pitching staff has a very good 3.72 ERA and ranks second in MLB with a .233 batting average against.
I think the Pirates should be able to at least win four of these six contests. They should shoot for 6-0, but settle for nothing less than 4-2. Winning both series’ 2-1 shouldn’t be too much to handle for the Pirates with how they are currently playing and quite frankly, the Astros roster is made up of fringe MLB players.
The Cubs series worries me a little, I fear the Pirates may drop two of those games. For some reason, I just picture Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo hitting four home runs in that series. I’ll stick with my predictions I made a few weeks ago and go with a 4-2 end to the homestand.