So Far, So Good, But Here Comes the Road: Cubs at Giants, June 3-6, 2021

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So Far, So Good, But Here Comes the Road: Cubs at Giants, June 3-6, 2021

Chicago Cubs

Okay, well, so far so good, right?

The Cubs kick-started their toughest and most important part of the 2021 schedule with three straight wins over one of the best teams in MLB, the San Diego Padres. Their reward? Four games on the road against another one of the toughest teams in baseball, the San Francisco Giants. And their reward if they do well this week against the Giants? Another three games against the Padres!

But perhaps more challenging than the talent of their opponents is the location and timing of these games. These West Coast road trips are ROUGH. Tonight and tomorrow, the Cubs and Giants will have a first pitch at 8:45 pm CT. And next week those games start at 9:10 pm CT. So get yourself some coffee and get ready for some late-night baseball. Hoping the Cubs do the same.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (32-23) have won 9 of their last 10 games, including three straight against the Padres. They are a season-high 9 games over .500 and have their biggest first-place lead of the season (1.5 games). The San Francisco Giants (34-21) may be just 6-4 in their last ten games, but they also have more wins than any team in the National League.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Thursday, June 3rd at 8:45 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Friday, June 4th at 8:45 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Saturday, June 5th at 6:15 CT on FOX, 670 The Score
•   Sunday, June 6th at 3:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Zach Davies (R) vs. Anthony DeSclafani (R)
Game 2: Jake Arrieta (R) vs. Kevin Gausman (R)*
Game 3: Kohl Stewart (R) vs. Johnny Cueto (R)*
Game 4: Kyle Hendricks (R) vs. Alex Wood (L)*

*Technically TBD at the moment, but these are my guesses.

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Anthony Rizzo
•   2B – Eric Sogard/Sergio Alcantara
•   3B – Patrick Wisdom
•   SS – Javy Baez
•   LF – Joc Pederson
•   CF – Ian Happ
•   RF – Kris Bryant

Unavailable*: Jake Marisnick, Alec Mills, Jason Heyward, Justin Steele, Matt Duffy, Nico Hoerner, David Bote, Trevor Williams, Rowan Wick, Jonathan Holder, Austin Romine

*Jason Heyward and Jake Marisnick could be back sometime over the weekend.

San Francisco Giants

•   C – Buster Posey
•   1B – LaMonte Wade Jr.
•   2B – Donovan Solano
•   3B – Even Longoria*
•   SS – Brandon Crawford
•   LF – Alex Dickerson
•   CF – Steven Duggar
•   RF – Mike Yastrzemski*

Unavailable: Aaron Sanchez, Brandon Belt, Darin Ruf, Caleb Baragar, Curt Casali, Tyler Beede, John Brebbia, Jaylin Davis, Dedniel Nuñez, Reyes Moronta, Sam Delaplane, Tommy La Stella

*Mike Yastrzemski and Evan Longoria are both battling injuries, but could be available throughout the weekend. It’s just unclear at the moment.

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: +38 (9th)
Giants: +62 (t-4th)

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.64 (11th)
Giants: 4.76 (9th)

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 3.95 (9th)
Giants: 3.64 (5th)

Keep An Eye Out For …

Coordinating playing time. Jason Heyward and Jake Marisnick are expected to return to the Cubs at some point this weekend, and that could kick-start the playing time crunch we’ve been anticipating. It should be easy enough to get the duo into the outfield, where I prefer them over Rafael Ortega as a starter. But with Anthony Rizzo already back, and with Joc Pederson and Ian Happ also playing well in the outfield, you might see Kris Bryant have to return to third base … where Patrick Wisdom has been playing so well. How will the Cubs find time for all these guys? And this is the Cubs *without* Matt Duffy and Nico Hoerner. I’m not actually concerned about all of this, because it’s a good problem to have (and someone has to turn back into a pumpkin at some point, right?), but it’ll just be fascinating to watch David Ross make his decisions.

NL Pitcher of the Month. Ryan Tepera may have been the NL Reliever of the Month for May, but Giants starter Kevin Gausman won the award for starters and is scheduled to pitch in this series. And I’ll point out that his entire season has been just as impressive as his last month has. For example, Gausman has failed to go at least 6 innings in just 1 of his 11 starts this year, and even that game was really good: 5.0 IP, 5H, 0ER, 2BB, 9Ks. Overall, he’s recorded 83 strikeouts in 70.2 IP and he’s allowed just 11 total earned runs. It is possible for batters to elevate Gausman, but San Francisco isn’t the easiest place to hit homers, so… Good luck, Cubs! (Remember when we really wanted the Cubs to trade for him (but the Giants did) and then to sign him (but he accepted the qualifying offer)? Is it cold comfort to know that the Cubs at least had their sights correctly trained on a great target, even if they didn’t get him?)

Evan Longoria. After a slow start, Evan Longoria has 15 hits including 5 homers in his last 40 PAs, for a slash line of .405/.450/.865 (254 wRC+). With that said, Longoria sat out the Giants last game with a right intercostal strain. The belief is he can return as soon as tonight, but it remains unclear – to say nothing of how that injury might affect his recent hot streak.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami