Game One Hundred Thirty-Three: Cubs (85-47) vs. Giants (72-60)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus, MLB Network – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 89, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Mike Montgomery, LHP (4-5, 2.60/1.20/3.48) vs. Jeff Samardzija, RHP (11-9, 4.00/1.20/4.17)
The Cubs begin a four-game series tonight with the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs are coming off a sweep of the Pirates and will look to keep it going against the Giants. The Cubs begin play tonight 15 games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central. The Giants have struggled in the second half. The Giants enter tonight’s game the leader in the NL Wild Card race, two games ahead of the Cardinals. The Giants have their sights set on the NL West but are currently 1 ½ games behind the Dodgers in the division.
This is an important series for the Cubs after dropping two of three to the Giants back in May (May 20-22) at AT & T Park. The Cubs will face the top three pitchers in Bruce Bochy’s rotation and a staff that many of ‘experts’ feel will shut down Joe Maddon’s team when the games count the most.
The Cubs will see a familiar face in Jeff Samardzija tonight. Samardzija makes his first start at Wrigley since the front office traded him to Oakland two years ago. Samardzija struggled with the Cubs last summer on the South Side when he pitched for the Sox. Samardzija has turned his season back around and is looking forward to shutting the Cubs down tonight in what will be a playoff atmosphere.
After tonight’s matchup of Mike Montgomery and Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester will likely face Matt Cain on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). The Giants have not officially announced Cain will start Friday. Jake Arrieta and Madison Bumgarner are scheduled for Saturday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). And if all goes well with his bullpen on Thursday, John Lackey is expected to be activated from the DL and take on Johnny Cueto in the series finale on Sunday afternoon (1:20pm CDT).
Joe Maddon should have a left-handed heavy lineup tonight behind Mike Montgomery, and that includes Chris Coghlan. Left-handers have a .796 OPS against Samardzija this season with 36 extra base hits (22 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs) and a .271/.320/.476 slash line. Right-handers have hit .230/.278/.386 against Samardzija with a .665 OPS (11 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs). Coghlan hit two homers off Samardzija at The Cell last August and is supposed to be reinstated from the DL, along with RHP Joe Smith, at some point before Thursday’s game.
Tonight all starts with Mike Montgomery …
Mike Montgomery makes his third straight start tonight, first at Wrigley, and he is looking for a better outing than his last. Montgomery was effective but not sharp against the Dodgers. Montgomery allowed six hits and walked four in five innings. And somehow he limited the Dodgers to three runs, all on groundouts to Addison Russell.
Montgomery showed how good he can be in Denver when he is able to command his fastball. Montgomery must find a midway point tonight from his last two performances.
Mike Montgomery is 1-0 in his last five games, two starts, with a 2.51 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. And at Wrigley this season, Monty is 1-0 in five games with a 1.13 ERA and 1.63 WHIP.
Mike Montgomery makes his second career start against the Giants tonight. Montgomery gave up four runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout in 7 1/3 innings. The Mariners lost the game 7-0 a year ago June 18 in Seattle to the Giants. And Montgomery was hung with the loss with Ryan Vogelsong taking the win.
Giants Career Numbers against Mike Montgomery
- Angel Pagan: 2-for-4
- Joe Panik: 1-for-4 with one double
- Brandon Belt: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Buster Posey: 0-for-2 with one walk
After a rather rough stretch, Jeff Samardzija is coming off four very strong outings. Samardzija returns to Wrigley for the first time since he was traded to the A’s, along with Jason Hammel, for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily and cash.
Samardzija was horrible in June (1-2, five starts, 6.83 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) and not much better in July (1-2, five starts, 5.64 ERA, 1.42 WHIP). Samardzija has shown steady improvement since the break. And he’s been really good of late.
Jeff Samardzija is 2-2 in his last five starts with a 2.76 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. And on the road this season, Samardzija is 6-5 in 15 starts with a 4.31 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
Samardzija takes on the Cubs for the second time since he pitched his way to Oakland. The Cubs beat Samardzija on the South Side last season. Samardzija gave up six runs, all earned, on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings. The Cubs launched three home runs. Anthony Rizzo took him deep and Chris Coghlan went yard twice in the 6-5 win for the good guys.
The Cubs must make Samardzija work early. He will be out to prove something in the first couple of innings. If he works and he is not allowed to settle in, the Cubs will be able to rattle him. The Cubs know how to beat Jeff Samardzija.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Dexter Fowler: 6-for-22 with one double, two triples, one home run and one walk
- Miguel Montero: 3-for-11 with one triple and four walks
- Jason Heyward: 1-for-11 with one home run and one walk
- Chris Coghlan: 3-for-9 with two home runs
- Ben Zobrist: 0-for-6 with one walk
- Kris Bryant: 2-for-3 with one double
- Anthony Rizzo: 1-for-2 with one home run and one walk
- Addison Russell: 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …