Cubs @ Pirates: Series Thread (Games 4 & 5)
The Cubs took two out of three from last year's NL Central champs and nearly pulled another from the grip of a Brewer's staff that put a lot of hurt on the 2021 team in the early going. In their first away series of 2022, they'll take on some softer competition from fellow NL Central basement dwellers, the Pittsburgh Pirates. See below for the daily matchups.
Game 4, Tuesday, April 12, 3:12 pm central
CHC: LHP Drew Smyly (0-0, -.--)
PIT: LHP Jose Quintana (0-0, -.--)
Smyly made 23 starts with Atlanta in 2021 and put up numbers slightly above replacement level. In his best years, he's been a bit better than league average, but he's also struggled to stay on the field consistently. He should have been pitching depth for the Cubs, but with Miley, Alzolay, and Mills all out in the early going, the Cubs push him into regular rotation work for the time being.
Quintana will take on a lineup in familiar blue pinstripes, but few current Cubs have had a look at the veteran lefty. Contreras, of course, knows his repertoire as a receiver. Jonathan Villar is 5/14 with a homerun off of Quintana and could find his way into the mix.
Game 5, Wednesday, APril 13, 11:35 am central
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 1.69 ERA)
PIT: RHP Zach Thompson (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Hendricks gets his second go-round of 2022 as the Cubs can pass without a 5th starter for now. He struck out 7 Brewers on opening day but also allowed 8 baserunners in 5.1 inning pitched.
Zach Thompson made 26 appearances, 14 of them starts, for the Miami Marlins as a rookie in 2021. The then-27-year-old rookie put up solid numbers and was traded in the off-season as part of a package that send Jacob Stallings to sunnier climes. The Pirates rotation offers less competition for starts and should give Thompson a chance to establish himself as a back-end starter.