Cubs/Giants series preview

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The worst part is that the Cubs don't even invite us to their loser parties because we were stuck up or something last year, so whatever.

The Giants have played 57 seasons in San Francisco. In that time, the Giants have finished over .500 at the same time as the Cubs 12 times, and under .500 at the same time as the Cubs 13 times. That leaves 32 seasons in which the Cubs were up and the Giants were down, or the Giants were up and the Cubs were down. Usually one team is doing well, and the other team isn't. Especially recently, considering that five of the dual over-.500 finishes came consecutively from 1967 through 1971.

And lookie here, the Giants and Cubs are bad together for the first time since 2006. They get to engage each other like old people complaining about their sciatica.

Giants: My Zito is acting up again.

Cubs: You think that's bad? This Starlin is killing me, just killing me.

Giants: No matter what I do, the Zito keeps me up at night.

Cubs: And this pain in my side, it's shaped like a young first baseman who is mildly disappointing relative to expectations.

Giants: Oh, cheese and sprinkles, don't get me started on that.

If you want perspective on the trading deadline, here you go: The Cubs are 45-55 and trading all sorts of players. Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, and Alfonso Soriano are already gone. The Giants are 46-55 and saying, hold it, let's see how this plays out. Now part of that has to do with their respective divisions. The Giants are just seven games back, after all. Of course, if they came back to make the playoffs, they would have one of the more impressive comebacks in the Wild Card era, even considering the weak division.

Basically, the Cubs are the Giants and the Giants are the Cubs this year. The Cubs have had the stronger pitching, and the Giants might have the better lineup after you adjust for park. Nate Schierholtz is leading the Cubs in OPS+, you know. Of course, he'd be behind only Buster Posey on the Giants. Have a season, Nate. But the two teams are evenly matched.

So here's what I want from two evenly matched and bad teams: Three games in which both teams show off just how bad they can be, with the Giants winning each time.

In the first game, Matt Cain and Edwin Jackson miss with hanging slider after hanging slider ... and the other teams can't touch them they each leave after six innings after throwing more than 115 pitches. Then the bullpens each allow three runs to send the game into extras. The Giants win in the 12th when someone throws a pickoff throw into right field.

In the second game, the Giants shouldn't hit Chris Rusin, who is really a method actor studying for a movie role. This shouldn't be a big problem for them. The Giants, down 2-0 late because Madison Bumgarner dared to allow three hits in one inning, rally in the ninth with three runs (none of them earned).

In the third game, the final score should be 11-10 on five combined hits for each team.

The Giants sweep, everyone's happy, but at no point do they look like a team that's a barf bag away from an airplane. They still look like a flawed team, and everyone's content to take it easy at the trade deadline, and listen to all the offers that come their way.

What can't happen is this: Cain mows through the Cubs in the first game, Bumgarner and Lincecum do the same, and the Giants do that thing with runners in scoring position where they put the ball in play and reach first base safely without the other team catching it.

Oh, that would be confusing. And while it's happening, we would get lost in the moment. It's not like I'd remember what i wrote in the series preview by Monday; I don't remember a couple paragraphs ago. Maybe the Giants would be in this thing? Just maybe?

So if the Cubs could do the Giants a solid and lose while looking really, really bad, that would be super. The Giants would look really bad as well. You guys get the better chance at a higher draft pick, and we get to remember what it's like to watch a team that's barely better than another team, even just for three games.

The important thing is that we're talking about the Giants being like the Cubs the season after one team won the World Series and the other lost 100 games, and this season is horrible.

Hitter to watch
Welcome back, Nate Schierholtz. We always liked you and rarely made fun of you.

Nate-wall_medium

Much. Also, I couldn't find the GIF of him swinging at a slider that hit him, but that's probably for the best, now. He seems like a much better hitter, or at least the same hitter, just removed from AT&T Park.

Pitcher to watch
Edwin Jackson has been Matt Cain this year.


Source: FanGraphs -- Edwin Jackson, Matt Cain

They've had oddly parallel careers for a while, but Cain was always much, much better. Now? It's been a tough season. A tough season all around, y'all.

Prediction
Bad baseball. But baseball that's still way, way better than the typical minor-league game, at least from an aesthetic standpoint. So there's that.

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