It’s Opening Day in Major League Baseball, always one of the best days of the year. Even if some other sports have passed baseball up in terms of popularity, there is something special about the first day of the MLB season.
The Chicago Cubs will host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon at historic Wrigley Field. Chicago is the defending champion of the National League Central, while the Pirates were a last-place team a season ago.
It will be Chad Kuhl opposing Kyle Hendricks in the season opener, and this could turn into a pitcher’s duel. The weather in Chicago is expected to be cold, and that could turn this into a low-scoring affair.
The Chicago Cubs are -210 in this season-opening matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
Pittsburgh Playing For Future
The Pittsburgh Pirates were a playoff contender just a few seasons ago, but they will have an entirely new look this season. Pittsburgh has dealt a number of their best players away, and scoring runs could be a major issue for the team.
Chad Kuhl went 2-3 with a 4.11 earned run average a season ago, one year after missing the entire 2019 season. Kuhl has had some solid performances against the Cubs in the past and will be looking for another one on Thursday.
Gregory Polanco and Ke’Bryan Hayes are now the two biggest bats left in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they will need to produce. Pittsburgh will have a ton of young talent in the everyday lineup, and facing Kyle Hendricks is a tall task.
Cubs Need Core to Produce
Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora are no longer with the team, but the rest of the World Series champion core is back for another run. The Cubs have the ability to score a ton of runs, but they just continue to lack consistency.
The addition of Joc Pederson gives the Cubs another powerful bat in the middle of the lineup, and he had eight home runs in Cactus League play. If Ian Happ can set the table at the top of the order, Chicago could do some serious damage on offense.
Kyle Hendricks will be making his second-straight Opening Day start, and he just continues to find ways to win games. Hendricks will need to go deep in the game as the Cubs do have some bullpen concerns.
Cubs Win Season Opener
Both teams will begin the 2021 season with plenty of optimism, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to be in for a long year. Facing one of the top pitchers in baseball won’t help matters on Thursday as the Pirates won’t do much on offense.
The Cubs will need to find a way to give Hendricks some run support, but they have the lineup to get the job done. Look for the Chicago Cubs to be sharp in the season opener as they begin the 2021 season on the right foot.
Bet the Chicago Cubs -210 over the Pittsburgh Pirates as the home team starts off the 2021 season with a victory.