I like to think of the Cubs as *far* better than the San Francisco Giants, but the truth is the Giants are just 4.5 games behind the Cubs … and that’s obviously including the Cubs extremely hot start to the second-half of the season (7-2).
I suppose that’s because the Giants have gone an even more impressive 9-2 in the second-half, even playing their way back into the playoff picture (they’re just 2.5 out of the second Wild Card and 3.0 out of the top spot). They won’t win their division this season, but they have been extremely hot lately and could make an argument to buy at the deadline instead of sell if they keep this up. Given that the Cubs could actually have interest in some of their available relievers, I’d say beating them this week could be doubly-important.
Relatedly, and for whatever reason, the Giants have actually been worse at home than on the road this year. Of course, the Cubs are WAY worse on the road, so I think that definitely tilts in the Giants’ favor.
P.S. I hope you have plenty of coffee, because we’re in store for some late ones this week!
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (54-45) have won three straight series coming out of the All-Star Break and have a 2.0 game lead in their division.
The San Francisco Giants (50-50) have won 9 of their first 11 games out of the break and are tied for second in the NL West!! … They’re 16 games out of first, but hey! That’s second place!
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
- Monday, July 22nd at 8:45 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
- Tuesday, July 23rd at 8:45 CT on ABC-7, 670 The Score
- Wednesday, July 24th at 2:45 CT on NBCSCH, MLBN, 670 The Score
Game 1: Alec Mills (R) v. Shaun Anderson (R)
Game 2: Yu Darvish (R) v. Madison Bumgarner (L)
Game 3: Jon Lester (L) v. Tyler Beede (R)
- C – Martin Maldonado
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo
- 2B – Robel Garcia(?)
- 3B – Kris Bryant
- SS – Javy Baez
- LF – Kyle Schwarber
- CF – Albert Almora Jr.
- RF – Jason Heyward
Unavailable: Willson Contreras (who could return Wednesday), Xavier Cedeno, Cole Hamels, Brandon Morrow, Allen Webster, Ben Zobrist
San Francisco Giants
- C – Buster Posey
- 1B – Brandon Belt
- 2B – Joe Panik
- 3B – Pablo Sandoval
- SS – Brandon Crawford
- LF – Alex Dickerson
- CF – Kevin Pillar
- RF – Mike Yastrezemski
Unavailable: Evan Longoria, Travis Bergen, Johnny Cueto, Nick Vincent
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Alec Mills is getting another spot start tonight – it’s likely to be his last one for now, with Cole Hamels set to return soon after the calendar flips to August (thank you, off-days), and I’m pretty excited to see what he can do. Mills got great results in his last outing (6.0 IP, 5H, 3ER, 1BB, 6Ks) and has always flashed Major League stuff (outside of the fastball). If he can deliver another good start, the Cubs might feel more confident that they can take their time with Hamels and make sure he’s really ready when he finally returns.
Cubs Player: Javy Baez was a guy we were watching for the wrong reasons before this past series, but he’s clearly breaking back out with the bat: he had six hits in the Padres series, including a double and two homers. Overall, he’s working on a five-game hitting streak dating back to the Reds series, and I remember there were at least two hard-hit line drives in that set that unfortunatly found gloves (meaning that he probably could’ve had a couple more hits). If he’s really about to go off on another tear, he couldn’t have picked a better time.
Giants Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner will take the mound against the Cubs on Tuesday and although he’s not quite his formerly dominant self, he’s still pretty good this season: 3.65 ERA, 3.70 FIP. The bigger problem, of course, is that the Cubs have been so bad against left-handed pitching this season. And since they’re probably not going to make a move before tomorrow, I just don’t love that matchup.
Giants Player: Brandon Crawford has been streaking in the second-half of the season, with a .310/.396/.643 (168 wRC+) slash line and four home runs. He’s not usually this good offensively, but right now … he’s hot.