Monday, August 9, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Giants

The Cubs are headed back to the West Coast, where they will meet the Giants late tonight. The Cubbies offense has done nothing lately, and they will face very good pitching in the next seven games.

Four in San Fran starts tonight for a team that is coming off a 1-5 homestand and a sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs come in at a new low water mark for the season, 17 games under .500 at 47-64. They are in fifth place, 16.5 back of first and 0.5 back of fourth. The Boys in Blue have dropped nine of their last ten.

The Giants come in after losing three of four in Atlanta in a big series this weekend. Tonight they will start a stretch of seven straight at AT&T Park, where they host the Cubs and the Padres this week. It will be an important week for San Francisco, because they are two games back of San Diego for the top spot in the NL West.

A 63-49 overall record puts the Giants atop the Wildcard standings in the National League. They will look to catch the Pads down the stretch, but at the same time they're trying to fend off the Phillies and Cardinals in the Wild Card race.

This series will be the first one between the two teams this season! This is the Cubs only trip to the Bay Area all year but the Giants will come to Wrigley September 21-23. The two teams haven't seen each other since a few Cactus League battles back in March.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who's having a tough summer personally and professionally, will not be with the team for this series. Sweet Lou's mother is in the hospital and he will head to Tampa, Florida to take care of her. He hopes to rejoin the team in St. Louis. For the time being, Alan Trammell will serve as the acting manager once again. Tram will get another chance to get his first W of the year after going 0-3 when Lou left the team for his uncle's funeral.

The Giants have couple of former Cubs farmhands on their roster in pitcher Todd Wellemyer and outfielder Andres Torres. Manager Bruce Bochy hopes his team can take advantage of the slumping Cubs and win this series before battling the first place Padres this weekend.

WGN Radio broadcaster Ron Santo has been skipping many of the Cubs road trips lately in order to stay healthy. Santo is a 70 year old type 1 diabetic. Dave Otto will join Pat Hughes on the broadcasts in San Fran.

Carlos Zambrano will make his return to the rotation tonight. Big Z hasn't made a start since the late June game against the White Sox where he exploded in the dugout on his teammates and ended up suspended for three games and then placed on the restricted list. Since then, Zambrano has undergone treatment from doctors, minor league rehab outings, three big league relief appearances, and is finally set to return to the rotation.

Both teams are expected to have their regular catchers back in the lineup on Monday. Buster Posey of the Giants received Sunday's game off but did pinch hit in the 9th. Geovany Soto missed the games on Saturday and Sunday due to a mild ligament sprain in his right shoulder.

Game 1: Monday at 9:15 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano, RHP (3-6, 5.61 ERA)
Giants Starting Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner, LHP (4-4, 3.20 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN+/WGN Radio

Game 2: Tuesday at 9:15 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Ryan Dempster, RHP (9-8, 3.76 ERA)
Giants Starting Pitcher: Tim Lincecum, RHP (11-5, 3.15 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio

Game 3: Wednesday at 9:15 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (6-6, 3.51 ERA)
Giants Starting Pitcher: Barry Zito, LHP (8-6, 3.35 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN Radio

Game 4: Thursday at 2:45 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Randy Wells, RHP (10-5, 4.37 ERA)
Giants Starting Pitcher: Matt Cain, RHP (9-9, 3.06 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio

Have the Cubs hit rock bottom yet?

Let's play the role of spoilers!

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