The Chicago Cubs will look to build upon their fast start when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday evening in the second installment of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
At 5-2, Chicago sits atop the National League Central division with more than 10 percent of the abbreviated season complete. The Cubs are coming off a 6-3 win over the Pirates in the series opener on Friday night.
Next, right-hander Tyler Chatwood (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will take the mound for his second start of the 2020 campaign. He will try to build upon a strong season debut in which he limited the Milwaukee Brewers to one run on three hits in six innings last Sunday.
The 30-year-old Chatwood walked two while striking out eight, his best total since June 3, 2017, while with the Colorado Rockies. The Cubs beat the Bewers 9-1.
"His journey here as a Cub has had some ups and downs," Cubs manager David Ross recently said to reporters. "I think he has a ton of confidence from all he's been through and come out in a really good place. Mechanically, emotionally, mentally, all those things seem to be lining up for him."
Chatwood remains in search of his first career victory against the Pirates. He is 0-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 10 games (four starts) against Pittsburgh, with 11 walks and 19 strikeouts in 28 innings.
The California native said he feels rested and ready as he looks to change the narrative on his bumpy Cubs tenure, which began in 2018.
"I just think all the work I put in, especially that offseason, I knew that I was back to what I could be," Chatwood told reporters. "So I think now it's just the best version of me."
The Pirates will turn to right-hander Mitch Keller (1-0, 1.80), who will look to stay sharp after earning a 5-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in his season debut last Sunday. He gave up one run on two hits in five innings.
The 24-year-old grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he acknowledged that he had a soft spot for the Cubs as a child.
"I just remember having this Cubs hat that I would wear all the time, probably when I was like 10 or something," Keller recently said to reporters. "I honestly have no idea."
Keller has started twice against the Cubs, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 9 1/3 innings. But he never has started at Wrigley Field, and he is looking forward to experiencing the historic venue even if it does not have the typical sellout crowd in attendance.
"I'm excited about it," Keller said. "It's going to be different than a normal one here, because the whole thing about Wrigley is the fans and the atmosphere it brings," Keller said. "It's not going to be the same, but it'll definitely still be a cool experience."
Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo will look to stay hot for the Cubs after driving in two runs apiece in the series opener.
Meanwhile, Colin Moran will try to maintain his strong start for the Pirates. The third baseman has four home runs in seven games this season after clubbing 13 home runs in 149 games a year ago.
--Field Level Media