Cubs vs. Giants Game 3
By: Willie Bee
Winning consecutive games once again proved too much for the Cubs, and the San Francisco Giants now look to end Chicago's W-L carousel with a series-deciding victory in the finale of their 3-game set.
Wednesday's rubber game between the NL rivals gets underway at 3:45 PM (ET), and the MLB odds are definitely in San Francisco's favor to show Chicago the door with a losing sendoff. Edwin Jackson and Tim Lincecum make up the initial mound duel, with Timmy and the Giants drawing -160 to -170 chalk for the clash. A 7.5 run total that leans strong to the 'under' is also available for wagering.
Chicago bats went silent Tuesday, largely due to the job turned in by Tim Hudson and a pair of San Francisco relievers. Hudson tossed seven shutout innings in the 4-0 decision, and a couple of Buster Posey sac flies turned out to be all the Giants really needed.
The Freak Set To Make
4th-Straight Home Start
Jackson appeared to be turning things around earlier this month when the posted three consecutive quality starts. Granted, neither his bullpen nor his lineup provided much help as the Cubs lost two of those games, but the veteran righthander did pitch to a 1.80 ERA in a stretch against the White Sox, Braves and Brewers.
That all came to an end last Friday in San Diego where the Padres knocked him around with a pair of homers and eight runs in Jackson's four frames. He's 1-1 in three career starts at AT&T Park with a 2.28 ERA.
Lincecum managed to work around six walks last Friday against the Twins to pick up his fourth win of 2014. Wednesday will be his fourth consecutive start at home where his ERA is more than a half-run lower than on the road, and the Giants split his two assignments vs. the Cubs a year ago when The Freak allowed Chicago six runs in 12 IP.
Umpire Notes, Mother
Nature & A Free Pick
'Over' bettors have been very pleased to see Chris Segal behind the plate in 2014, six of his seven games under the mask skipping past the total with plenty of room to spare. He made his MLB debut in mid-April after spending the previous three seasons working in the Pacific Coast League, and his contests are so far averaging 12.5 runs per game.
Take your sunglasses if you're heading to AT&T Park this afternoon. Clear skies and the mid-60s on the thermometer are what the weatherman is calling for in the San Francisco area, along with NW winds in the 12-16 mph range (out to right, right-center).
There isn't anything about either starting pitcher that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling in this one. San Francisco has been a good bet when Lincecum's on the mound, but this is the most Giants backers have been asked to lay on Timmy, and it's too much for me. I'll bite on the high side of the total for my free baseball pick.
My pick: Cubs-Giants Over 7.5 (+115)
Season: 48-48 (-1.05)
Cubs vs. Giants Game 2
By: Willie Bee
Run support has been an issue for Jeff Samardzija this season, but Chicago Cubs bats finally delivered Monday to help their ace pick up his first win of the season in the series opener at the San Francisco Giants.
Now the Cubs look to stop a win-lose trend Tuesday when they continue their series in San Francisco. Giants righthander Tim Hudson is expected to deliver the first pitch at 10:15 PM (ET), and he is pronounced -175 to -180 chalk against Chicago's Jake Arrieta. A 6.5 run total that leans to the high side is showing up on SBR's live baseball odds.
After plating eight runs in Samardzija's previous five starts combined, Chicago hitters broke lose with eight plate crossings to upset San Francisco on Memorial Day. Samardzija struck out a season-high 10 while the Cubs came back from a 3-1 hole to stop the Giants' 4-game win streak.
Arrieta Facing G-Men
For 1st Time In 5 Years
Slowly building up arm strength since joining Chicago's rotation in early-May, Arrieta is coming off his longest outing of the season with six innings and 94 pitches in last Thursday's 5-1 win at San Diego. Seth Smith's solo blast was the only run the former TCU standout allowed, and the only homer on his 2014 ledger.
Arrieta is seeing the Giants for the first time since his '09 rookie year with the Orioles, and he was solid in that appearance with seven frames of 1-run baseball at AT&T Park.
Hudson missed a start a couple of weeks ago with a strained hip, then saw his outing last week vs. the Rockies shortened by rain, a game ultimately suspended. He hasn't seen the Cubs much, with Tuesday's tilt just his third appearance vs. Chicago since 2008. The former Auburn Tiger is 3-1 in seven career assignments against the North Side 9, with a 3.11 ERA.
Umpire Notes, Mother
Nature & A Free Pick
Andy Fletcher is in line to call balls and strikes for this game, and brings a 2-5-2 (O/U/P) mark into Game 2. Home chalk bettors have been cashing tickets when Fletcher is behind the plate, seven of those nine proving to be winners (4-0 at -140 or higher).
It should be another clear, sunny day in Golden Gate City, with afternoon highs reaching the mid-60s and a first pitch thermometer reading right at 60º. It should also be another breezy day in San Francisco with WNW winds in the 16-22 mph range (out to right-center).
Betting the Cubs to win consecutive games has been a losing proposition this season. Chicago has only strung together two modest 3-game win streaks to go with one 2-gamer, yet I still lean the Cubbies' direction today. I also lean to the offensive side, and that's the way I'm sending out my free MLB pick for Game 2.
My Pick: Cubs-Giants Over 6.5 (-115)
Season: 47-47 (-1.20)
Cubs vs. Giants Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Polar opposites in the current National League standings, the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants also bring contrasting streaks into their series opener at AT&T Park on Monday.
Chicago has the better arm on the hill for the 4:05 PM (ET) contest as Jeff Samardzija heads to the bump for his 11th starting assignment of the year. But it's San Francisco, with Yusmeiro Petit on the hill, getting respect on the MLB odds board as a low-130s favorites. Seven is the magic number for scoreboard wagering, the 'under' juiced a bit higher.
The Cubs and Giants are meeting for the first time in 2014, but there's plenty of history between the clubs with Monday's altercation No. 2,217 going all the way back to 1883. It's absolutely level so far in the 21st century, each club winning 48 times, splitting the 46 contests played at Wrigley and the 50 that have taken place at AT&T Park.
Last year's season series went to the Chicago, 4-3, the Cubs pulling off a sweep in San Francisco. All four of the games played in the Windy City went 'over' the total and all three in San Fran fell short of the figure.
Cubs Move North From San Diego On Long Road
Chicago (18-30, -8.7 units, 22-23-3 O/U/P) spent last week in win one, lose one mode, first opening with a 2-game split at home against the Yankees before beginning a 3-city tour by halving a 4-game series in San Diego. The Cubs have been getting pretty good pitching so far, their 3.59 staff ERA ahead of both Detroit and Toronto, two of the AL's division leaders, but the lineup isn't producing enough (3.88 rpg) to keep the club from bringing up the rear of the National League.
At the other end of the NL spectrum is San Francisco (32-18, +13.9 units, 22-26-2 O/U/P). The Giants own the best record in all of baseball and are enjoying a 5-game lead in the NL West after winning four straight, that streak slightly interrupted by a suspended game in the series finale at Colorado this past week. Success on the mound has been the story for Bruce Bochy's bunch, a team 3.05 ERA accented by the bullpen's 2.26 mark.
Petit Once Again
Filling In For Injured Cain
You won't find a better winless pitcher than Samardzija right now; in fact, you might not be able to find a better pitcher, period. The former Notre Dame star leads all MLB starters with a 1.46 ERA, has not surrendered more than three earned runs in any assignment and has given up just two home runs along the way.
Monday will be Samardzija's third career start against the Giants, and second in San Francisco. The Cubs lost both of the previous starts by identical 3-2 scores.
Petit is making his fourth start of the season, and third in place of Matt Cain who is being skipped in San Francisco's rotation due to a hamstring injury suffered last Wednesday at Coors Field. Petit came on in relief of Cain that night, tossing three scoreless frames to earn the dubya. His previous outing was a May 16 start at home vs. the Marlins, a 7-5 decision for the Fish with Petit allowing four earned runs in five innings.
This will be the Venezuelan's first appearance vs. the Cubs since his days with the D-Backs in 2009; Petit is 2-1 with a 5.22 ERA in three starts and two relief outings against Chicago.
Rain isn't expected to bother this series, but baseball bettors still need to keep an eye on wind in the forecast the next few days. A 12-15 mph blow out of the WNW (out to right-center) is being listed for Monday's first pitch, and getting stronger as the game progresses.
Logic says take San Francisco in this one, the convergence of the Giants' 4-game win streak and Samardzija's winless run huge reasons to play the home team. But I'm not always smart enough to follow logic, and will instead make Chicago my free pick in Game 1.
My Pick: Cubs +125
Season: 46-46 (-1.20)