After both teams have off-days on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs will meet for a three-game set at Wrigley Field this weekend. All three games have fascinating pitching matchups that should lead to a competitive series in the Windy City.
Friday, June 7 – Projected Starters: Francisco Liriano @ Travis Wood: Liriano has pitched well for the Pirates since he came off the disabled list. Liriano has had past issues with walks, but he will attempt to keep up his high strikeout rate without the walk regression. The Cubs’ hitters are not particularly patient, so he may get some help.
Travis Wood has pitched relatively well this year. As the Cubs do not generate much run support, the Cubs’ starters tend to wind up being hurt by the porous bullpen.
Saturday, June 8 – Projected Starters: A.J. Burnett @ Jeff Samardzija: This is a matchup of each team’s respective ace. Burnett has been exceptional this season for the Pirates. His strikeout tendencies should find success against the Cubs lineup.
Samardzija has been a little inconsistent, but generally strong for the Cubs. He has enjoyed success against the Pirates and this should be a true pitcher’s duel.
Sunday, June 9 – Projected Starters: Jeff Locke @ Edwin Jackson: This is a matchup of pitchers whose underlying numbers do not match their performance. Locke has outperformed all of his underlying metrics, to the tune of a sub-3 ERA thus far in 2013. He is due for moderate to substantial regression, and the Cubs will look to begin the process.
Jackson’s standard numbers have been poor, but his FIP and xFIP are both under four. He is due for much improvement, and his performance should even out in the coming months.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.