Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs 4/1/21 MLB Picks and Predictions
Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Cubs (0-0) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (0-0)
Game Info: Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 2:20 pm (Wrigley Field)
Kyle Hendricks (0-0) (0.00) vs Chad Kuhl (0-0) (0.00)
Betting Odds: Chicago Cubs -225 / Pittsburgh Pirates +204 --- Over/Under: Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The Pittsburgh Pirates face the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, April 1st for an MLB Opening Day NL Central matchup.
The Pittsburgh Pirates were the worst team in baseball in 2020, as they were the only team in the league that did not reach at least 20 wins. The Buckos went 19-41 in 2020, putting them 15.0 games behind the division-leading Cubs. The Pirates are a very young team that is still in the midst of a rebuild that has taken quite a long time. The Pirates are projected to struggle both offensively and in the pitching/defense department. The Pirates projected starting rotation is one of the worst in the MLB and the lineup is not much better. Youngsters in Ke'Bryan Hayes and Mitch Keller bring some excitement to the table in Pittsburgh, but certainly not much.
The Chicago Cubs were the champions of the NL Central in 2020, posting a 34-26 record. The Cubs led their division in runs scored and run differential as well. Chicago's lineup will feature a new slugger in former Dodger, Joc Pederson. Pederson had a down year in 2020, but hit 36 home runs in 2019 for LA. The Cubs starting rotation will be without NL Cy Young runner-up in Yu Darvish. Darvish is a member of the Padres, therefore Kyle Hendricks will be the Opening Day starter. The Cubs' starting rotation is not as good as we have seen in recent seasons, and that could hurt them in what could be a loaded NL Central.
The Pirates are projected to bring right-hander Chad Kuhl to the mound on Opening Day. Kuhl went 2-3 with a 4.27 ERA in 2020 through 11 games and nine starts. Kuhl is more than likely not going to be the Pirates ace by the middle-to-end of the season, but he had a decent spring and earned the Opening Day start nonetheless.
The Cubs will bring right-hander Kyle Hendricks to the bump for this game. Hendricks had a nice year in 2020, posting a 6-5 record with a 2.88 ERA through 12 starts. Hendricks has quietly put together a stellar career through his seven years with Chicago, as he has never had a season with a 4.00 or higher ERA.
I hate laying run lines on Opening Day, but I have no choice in this matchup. The Pirates should be at the bottom of the NL Central standings yet again this season and although I think we see a down-year overall by the Cubs, I think they roll on Opening Day.