Pittsburgh Pirates v. Chicago Cubs – The Intangibles

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Sep 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) slides safely under the tag of Chicago Cubs shortstop

Starlin Castro

(13) for a stolen base during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Intangibles

There are a number of immeasurable or intangible factors that could influence the outcome of this game. First and forement, home field will be a huge benefit for the Pirates, regardless of what Arrieta or any Cubs’ player will have you believe. We saw what it did to Johnny Cueto in 2013, so it is possible that it could affect this game. The key for the Pirates will be to get a run or two on the board as early as possible. That will keep the crowd in the game longer. We don’t want the crowd to be neutralized early like it was against the Giants last season.

The arms of Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco could change the game as well. We know that both can gun guys out at any base, including first and home, so don’t think any Cubs’ single will automatically score a run from second. Their arms are better than those of the Cubs’ outfielders, which is a nice advantage.

The youth of the Cubs will be interesting to follow over the course of Wednesday night. This will most likely be the craziest, loudest crowd that many of these young guys will have ever played in front of. These young Cubs could try to do too much with their swings, leading to more strikeouts. The crowd at PNC will become a bigger factor if the Pirates get a lead, so it will be a testament to Maddon and the Chicago team as a whole if these young guys can keep their composure under the pressure.

And we need to keep an eye on the base-paths as well. Since runs will be at a premium, we could see a number of players try to steal bases and create any extra opportunities that they can.

Both the Cubs and the Pirates have guys who can change the game in a number of ways. But the Cubs inexperience, along with home field for Pittsburgh, has to give the Pirates the edge here.

Verdict: Pirates

Next: Conclusion