With their backs against the wall, down 0-2 in their NLDS against the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants are hoping that Madison Bumgarner going back to the mound will help keep their season alive a little bit longer.
The Giants’ offense has been clanky for a number of months. They still got into the playoffs and even won the wild card game thanks to Bumgarner and Conor Gillaspie. But against the team with the best record in the majors, it might not be enough anymore.
Previous game: The Cubs won 5-2 to take the 2-0 series lead. The Cubs led by four runs within two innings, with RBIs by Kyle Hendricks (better than his pitching), Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant. The Giants began making their way back, but the Cubs turned to their bullpen, and especially Travis Wood, who didn’t just earn the win for his 1.1 innings and two strikeouts, but also hitting a home run to make it a 3-run game again.
Starting pitchers: Jake Arrieta will be on the mound for the Cubs. Arrieta was terrific in the start of the season, posting a 2.10 ERA through the first three months. But his ERA in the second half of the season was just 4.20. He’s still very difficult to hit, but when it comes, it usually floods. He’s had two appearances against the Giants, one fantastic including 8 strikeouts, the other filled with strikeouts but also ending in a loss. No one on the current Giants lineup has hit a home run against him.
Bumgarner takes the mound for the second time in this postseason. He threw a complete game in the wild card, allowing only 4 hits while walking two and striking out 6. He’s been on the winning side in both his appearances against the Cubs, allowing 8 hits combined. He’s had trouble with Ben Zobrist in the past. Jason Heyward and David Ross are the only players with home runs against him.
Hot bats: Javier Baez is the only Cubs player batting over .300 at the moment. He’s .500 with a 1.571 OPS, mostly thanks to his game winning home run in game 1. Kris Bryant is doing alright too. Conor Gillaspie and Angel Pagan have been hitting well for the Giants in the postseason, but it hasn’t been generating anything.