Chicago Cubs: Previewing the home opener series with Rum Bunter

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs: Pirates’ offense hasn’t been up to the challenge so far

Really, this series will be a tale of antitheses. Chicago boasts a potent offense, but the pitching has failed to live up to even the lowest of expectations. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, brings in one of the league’s best staffs but has an offense that ranks near the bottom of the league in most statistics.

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The Pirates enter the series ranked ninth in the NL in terms of OPS and eighth in average. Still, they’ve averaged just over four runs per game so far this season, scoring 34 times in eight games.

Q: The offense hasn’t been great so far – is that going to be the story of this team?

A: The Pirate offense has struggled with RISP this season. However, that, for now at least, should be no surprise. 3 of the team’s top 4 outfielders are all on the IL, as is Elias Diaz who is their best bench bat. 

Help is coming, though. Diaz and Gregory Polanco both began a rehab stint over the weekend and will give the offense a big boost soon. Getting Corey Dickerson back will help, too.  

The offense, and in turn the season, could hinge on Josh Bell and Jung Ho Kang. Both players have the potential to hit 20+ home runs, something no one else in the lineup outside of Polanco and Starling Marte brings to the table. Bell is off to a scorching start this season and Kang is hitting for power. 

Next. Cubs' pitching nightmare have afforded new chances. dark

Chicago (2-7) needs to find some degree of level play this week at home. They’ll battle Pittsburgh throughout the week before welcoming Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. All eyes will be on the pitching staff and a struggling Kris Bryant, with hopes some home cooking gets things turned around.

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