The San Francisco Giants are playing weird baseball. They snapped a seven-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak. Then the promptly turned around and started a four-game losing streak in which they looked completely and utterly lifeless.
There aren’t all that many reasons to watch the Giants right now. They’re firmly out of the postseason race. They’re playing sensationally bland baseball. And they don’t even have very many young or intriguing players to keep tabs on as you shift your focus towards 2023.
On the bright (maybe?) side, the Chicago Cubs are in a similar boat. So .... uhh .... enjoy. Or don’t enjoy. Or don’t watch.
But whatever you do, laugh. Because Sunday’s game is Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN for ... reasons.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago Cubs
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
When: Friday (1:05 p.m. PT), Saturday (11:20 a.m. PT), and Sunday (5:08 p.m. PT)
National broadcasts: Friday (MLB Network, out of market only) and Sunday (ESPN)
Friday: Carlos Rodón vs. Drew Smyly
Saturday: Logan Webb vs. Marcus Stroman
Sunday: TBD vs. Wade Miley
Where they stand
Record: 65-72, 4th in the NL West
Run differential: +3, 8th in the NL
Postseason standing: 3rd team out, 10 games back in the Wild Card
Momentum: 4-game losing streak, 4-6 in their last 10 games
Record: 57-80, 3rd in the NL Central
Run differential: -102, 11th in the NL
Postseason standing: 5th team out, 18 games back in the Wild Card
Momentum: 2-game losing streak, 2-8 in their last 10 games
Season series: Giants lead 3-1
Three Giants to watch
David Villar: Villar should be an every day player through the end of the season. He’s coming off his second consecutive phenomenal Minor League season, and the organization is openly very high on him. He’s auditioning for a spot on 2023’s Opening Day roster, and he’ll get every chance to earn that. Since returning to the Majors he’s been oh so hot and oh so cold. He got called up for the series against the Philadelphia Phillies and hit 0-7 with 2 strikeouts. Then against the Los Angeles Dodgers he put on an absolute show, hitting 6-8 with 3 home runs, 1 walk, and 0 strikeouts. And then against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday he hit 1-6 with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. He’s one to watch. And what a beautiful swing he has.
Lewis Brinson: Brinson’s path to sticking on the roster long term is a little bit murkier than Villar’s. But there’s no denying that the Giants see a lot of intrigue in the tall, powerful, and speedy centerfielder, a 3-homer series in LA only added to that intrigue. The Cubs are using two lefties in this series, so Brinson will get an opportunity to further state his case for having a role with the Giants going forward. And when he plays well, he’s a lot of fun to watch.
Carlos Rodón: There are three reasons to keep an eye on Rodón. First, he’s chasing a Cy Young award. He leads the league in FIP and the Majors in strikeouts per 9 innings, and he’s second in NL fWAR, just 0.1 behind Aaron Nola. He’s in the discussion. Second, it’s officially health watch time. Rodón is 7.2 innings away from his career high, and if he suffers a serious injury between now and the end of the season he’ll presumably opt into the second year of his contract, putting the Giants on hook for a lot of money and not a lot of player. And third, he’s oh so fun to watch ... and the words “fun” and “the Giants” really don’t go together very often.
Three Cubs to watch
Drew Smyly: The Giants get a peek at old friend Smyly in the first game of the series. He’s not pitching nearly as well as he did with the Giants, as he has a 3.84 ERA and a 4.47 FIP, and has given up 15 home runs in 91.1 innings. But when he’s on he can be excellent, as he gave up just 22 hits, 6 walks, and 3 runs in 30 August innings. He then turned around and got destroyed in his lone September outing, so the Giants will hope it’s a month thing.
Marcus Stroman: In addition to a peek at an old friend, the Giants get to check in on an almost friend. They were heavily linked to Stroman over the offseason, as he seemed to fit what they were looking for, both on the field and contract-wise. Stroman has also been open about his affection for the organization and front office. But he signed with the Cubs (no good offer from the Giants was ever reported), and after a rocky start to that campaign, he’s started to sort things out. He has a 3.72 ERA and a 3.73 FIP and, given how bad the Cubs are and how long they’re likely to be bad, could be a trade target for the Giants down the road.
Seiya Suzuki: No free agent that didn’t sign with the Giants was linked to them as much as Suzuki, who ended up signing with the Cubs largely because he and his wife felt at home in Chicago. Suzuki hasn’t been the star that some predicted, but he has been a quite good player for the Cubs, hitting .264/.337/.436, good for a 117 OPS+ and a 115 wRC+.
Let’s see those predictions!
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Cubs win 2-1