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new york san francisco giants logoThe Cubs continue their West Coast swing up into San Francisco after splitting down in San Diego. The Giants have pulled ahead of the pack, and now sport the best record in baseball.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs won solidly on Thursday, lost solidly on Friday, won by one on Saturday, and lost by one on Sunday. They’re 3-3 in their last six games.

The Giants are fresh off of sweeping the Twins, and have won five of their last six. They’ve got a comfortable five-game lead atop the NL West, though I suspect they’ll still be looking to add a piece or two in the coming months, figuring that the Dodgers and Rockies could make a charge at any moment.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, May 26 at 3:05 CT on WGN.
  • Tuesday, May 27 at 9:15 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, May 28 at 2:45 CT on CSN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.

Cubs

Starters: Jeff Samardzija (1.46 ERA, 2.86 FIP; 2.57 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (2.33 ERA, 3.05 FIP; 2.22 K/BB), Edwin Jackson (4.94 ERA, 3.44 FIP; 2.36 K/BB)

Lineup (with obvious rotations in place):

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
  2. Junior Lake, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Mike Olt, 3B
  9. Pitcher

Giants

Starters: Yusmeiro Petit (4.76 ERA, 3.43 FIP; 4.13 K/BB), Tim Hudson (2.13 ERA, 3.06 FIP; 6.50 K/BB), Tim Lincecum (4.55 ERA, 3.97 FIP; 2.33 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Angel Pagan, CF
  2. Hunter Pence, RF
  3. Buster Posey, C
  4. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
  5. Michael Morse, 1B
  6. Tyler Colvin, LF
  7. Brandon Hicks
  8. Brandon Crawford, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

The Cubs’ team leader in wOBA and wRC+. Who is it? Can you guess?

It’s Luis Valbuena at .370 and 132. His batting line is a fantastic .261/.389/.445, and he’s making you think things.

The overall numbers are still atrocious, but maybe Nate Schierholtz is turning a corner? In his last six games, he’s hitting .261/.346/.348, which includes an 0-4 yesterday.

If you want something that more closely resembles a legit hot streak, check this out: since the last day of April, Junior Lake is hitting .329/.354/.579(!) Better (for him), he’s struck out just 22 times in 82 plate appearances over that stretch. I really don’t know if some changes were made after his early whiff problems, but I continue to be hopeful that something legitimate is happening here.

The Giants, known for their pitching in recent years, are really doing it with the offense right now. All of Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Michael Morse, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford have wOBAs over .330. The only notable bat that is struggling is Pablo Sandoval, who’s hitting just .233/.284/.394.

The Cubs will miss Matt Cain in this one after he was scratched with a hamstring issue.

Familiar face alert! Tyler Colvin has entered the starting lineup with regularity for the Giants after being picked up following the Brandon Belt injury (which shifted Michael Morse to first base). So far so good: Colvin is hitting .289/.341/.579 over 41 plate appearances with the Giants. *Insert obnoxious comment about the Cubs outfield*

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