Pittsburgh Pirates: Q&A With Cubbies Crib About The 2019 Cubs

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 30: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs has words with Joe Musgrove #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third inning at PNC Park on May 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 30: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs has words with Joe Musgrove #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third inning at PNC Park on May 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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A Q&A with the Chicago Cubs site regarding their club in 2019 and how they feel the National League Central Division will shake out this season.

The 2019 season is in full swing, with the Pittsburgh Pirates starting the year off with a 5-3 record.  Today they’ll be playing on the North Side of Chicago to take on the 2-7 Cubs in what is their home opener.  With this game in mind, and the first series between the two clubs getting underway, we had a chance to pick the brain of the Cubs site here at FanSided, Cubbies Crib.  Below are questions that we at Rum Bunter asked in bold with their answers underneath.

The Cubs bullpen has been a train wreck thus far, how concerned are you about the bullpen continuing to be a problem this season?

It’s the most I’ve been concerned about the pitching staff, as a whole, in the Joe Maddon era.  If we’re being honest, it’s not just the bullpen that’s struggled.  Aside from two solid outings from Jon Lester and another from Cole Hamels, no Cubs starter has pitched effectively yet this season.  When you’re regularly putting up 10 or more runs and losing half those games, it’s clearly a major problem.

Are Cubs fans in panic mode yet about Yu Darvish and what’s left on his contract?

Fans are split on this.  You’re either ready to chalk him up as a complete and total failure, a waste of time, money and resources – or you’re in the same camp as myself.  I believe the right-hander has the stuff to be what he once was, it’s a matter of confidence and repetition.  That being said, there’s a very real chance he never anchors the rotation in the way Theo Epstein believed he would when he signed him to that six-year deal.

Am I wrong for thinking the Cubs have depth issues and that their lineup would be in deep trouble if something were to happen to Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, or Kris Bryant?

Personally, I’d say yes.  I mean, it would definitely hurt the lineup, sure – but no more than any other team losing a cornerstone player.  Chicago has great versatility again this year.  Victor Caratini catches and plays first, David Bote plays all over the diamond, as does Ben ZobristDaniel Descalso can handle most infield positions and the Cubs are stashing Ian Happ down at Triple-A Iowa and he represents yet another versatile piece.

What’s your prediction for the NL Central this season?

I’ll tell you what I told Reviewing the Brew.  It’s hard to put my thumb on how this will shake out, but I will say this.  If the Cubs don’t get their pitching figured out, there’s no way they win this division.  Milwaukee is locked and loaded and playing with a purpose and Paul Goldschmidt makes St. Louis’ lineup much deeper and more powerful than in recent years.  I think the Cubs will hit, but we’ve seen historically bad pitching so far this year – and it’ll eventually make or break their season.

Next. 3 Takeaways From Sweeping The Reds. dark

Jameson Taillon will take the hill for his third start of the season, coming off a seven pitch one run performance against the Cincinnati Reds.  He’ll be opposed by veteran left-hander Jon Lester, with the Pirates putting out this lineup

  1. Adam Frazier, 2B
  2. Starling Marte, CF
  3. Francisco Cervelli, C
  4. Josh Bell, 1B
  5. Jung Ho Kang, 3B
  6. Melky Cabrera, RF
  7. Pablo Reyes, LF
  8. Kevin Newman, SS
  9. Jameson Taillon, P

First pitch is at 2:20, with Fangraphs putting the Pirates odds of winning at 45.9 percent.