The San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs close out a four-game set Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field
San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs
San Francisco had its season-high seven-game winning streak snapped last night in a 2-1 defeat to the Chicago Cubs. The Giants have now reached the regular season’s halfway point with a 46-35 record and a 2 1/2-game lead in the National League West. Much of the team’s recent success has been based on the bullpen’s performance over the month of June, fashioning the Majors’ lowest ERA this month at 1.79. The unit ranks first in the NL with 18 wins and 28 saves. It’s also important to note that the club has had 66 of its first 81 games be decided by three runs or less. San Francisco is 14-16 in day games this season and 30-29 versus right-handed starters.
Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain is 7-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 16 starts this season and is coming off a brilliant performance last time out. The right-hander picked up a 1-0 home victory over the Indians, tossing seven shutout innings and giving up just four hits. He will be looking to improve upon his 3-3 record and 4.04 ERA on the road, as he’s issued 14 walks and registered 45 strikeouts in 55 2/3 frames. In 10 career outings versus the Cubs, Cain has posted a 5-2 mark and 2.38 ERA, as they are hitting just .178 against him. That .178 mark against Chicago is his lowest versus any NL opponent.
Chicago is now 2-2 on its current eight-game homestand and will look to even its record against the Giants this season in the series finale. Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez played hero in the ninth inning Wednesday, driving in the winning run with a pinch-hit single with two outs. The Cubs are still just 10-18 in June and will be playing its 28th game in a stretch of 38 games in 38 days this afternoon. Chicago is 14-22 in day games this year and 22-35 when facing a right-handed starter.
Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano is 6-4 with a 4.38 ERA in 17 starts this season and has pitched fairly well over his last two outings. The right-hander has allowed five runs and 15 hits over his last 15 innings of work against the Royals and White Sox on the road. Zambrano will be aiming to even up his home record, coming in with a 1-2 mark and 3.91 ERA in seven outings at Wrigley Field. In 11 career appearances (10 starts) against the Giants, he is 5-1 with a 2.58 ERA, including a 2-0 mark and 2.55 ERA in six games (five starts) at Wrigley Field.
Bettors will be interested in backing the Giants due to their 6-1 mark with Cain on the hills as a road favorite, while the Cubs are 2-5 in Zambrano’s last seven outings as an underdog