10:15 pm ET, Monday, 8/9 TV: CSN+, CSBA
Probable pitchers: Carlos Zambrano (3-6, 5.61) vs Madison Bumgarner (4-4, 3.20)
10:15 pm ET, Tuesday, 8/10 TV: WGN
Probable pitchers: Ryan Dempster (9-8, 3.76) vs Tim Lincecum (11-5, 3.15)
10:15 pm ET, Wednesday, 8/11 TV: CSN, CSBA
Probable pitchers: Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 3.51) vs Barry Zito (8-6, 3.35)
6:45 pm ET, Thursday, 8/12 TV: WGN, CSBA
Probable pitchers: Randy Wells (5-10, 4.37) vs Matt Cain (9-9, 3.06)
2010 season matchups
The Cubs and the Giants have not met so far this year. After this four-game matchup, they will play three more games in Wrigley Field from September 21 to 23.
Chicago is 11-8 facing teams from the NL West, the only division they have a winning record (.579).
San Francisco, on the other hand, has an impressive 19-7 (.730) against teams from NL Central.
In the 2009 season, the Cubs edged the Giants winning four games out of six.
Chicago Cubs (47-64)
The Cubs have lost 10 games out of 12 and have just experienced a sweep courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. They had been outscored 7-18 including a 3-0 shutout defeat on Friday. In each of those games, they have allowed their opponents to score first.
There is not much positive to be mentioned. They are in no position to threaten any major league team right now.
The biggest issue is finding out why the Cubs are hitless and fixing it immediately.
First baseman Derrek Lee was hitting .190 last week and was completely shut down by the Reds pitching staff. His batting average this season is .246, the worst in his career since 1999.
Marlon Byrd, the most productive in the Cubs’ lineup this year, was in a slump. He went 2-for-13 (.154) during the weekend with no extra-base hit and striking out four times.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez hits safely in his last five games, including a go-ahead, three-run pinch homer against the Milwaukee Brewers.
During the weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds, the Cubs only had one home run, which belonged to second baseman Jeff Baker in a rare start
The good (or bad) news for the Cubs is that Carlos Zambrano has finally been inserted in the starting rotation. Manager Lou Piniella announced earlier last week that Zambrano would start on Monday night in AT&T Park.
The Cubs had no other alternative than putting the right-hander in the starting spot as Ted Lilly was traded earlier and Carlos Silva went on the disabled list with heart problem.
Zambrano’s current return as a starter marks his third time doing so this season. He was demoted to the bullpen in late April. His second return to the rotation fell short in June when he was suspended after a verbal altercation on the day he gave up four runs in one inning to the Chicago White Sox at home.
He pitched out of bullpen last week, allowing two earned runs in 3.2 innings.
Ryan Dempster, who will start on Tuesday night, was the only winning pitcher last week. He pitched through six innings, allowing three unearned runs and striking out five on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Don’t count on him this week, though. His lifetime record of 3-7 with an ERA of 4.11 against the Giants is not impressive.
Tom Gorzelanny will start on Wednesday. The left-hander is the most consistent pitcher in Cubs rotation. His previous outing resulted in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds but he did not have any run support. In fact, he is having a streak of five consecutive quality starts. He is also perfect in his career facing the Giants (3-0) with an ERA of 1.29.
Thursday’s starter for the Cubs will be Randy Wells who lost three of his last games. He has served up home runs to opponents in each of the previous three starts.
San Francisco Giants (63-49)
The Giants come home after splitting a two-game series in Colorado and losing three games out of four in Atlanta. They are looking for the victory Monday night to snap a two-game losing streak.
They are in the middle of the NL West pennant race, only trailing the leaders, San Diego Padres by two games. And they also rank first in the wild-card standings, with half a game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Once the Cubs leave town this week, the Giants stay home to kick-off a crucial series with the Padres.
The Giants are not qualified as a home run hitting team this season, only ranking 10th with 100 home runs in the National League (the Cubs at sixth with 112).
They were having trouble sending the ball out of the park in Atlanta. First baseman Travis Ishikawa hit the only one on Sunday.
Aubrey Huff leads the team with 20. He also has the team best batting average (.304) and RBI (67).
Their leadoff center-fielder Andres Torres had most hits among his teammates last week with nine, and had the .333 batting average. He hit in four of his six starts including three multi-hit games.
The Cubs should be aware of the rookie sensation, catcher Buster Posey. He already has eight home runs since joining the Giants at the end of May. He finished with 24 RBI in the month of July.
The Cubs will need to face three Giants ace starters: Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Matt Cain.
Lincecum leads the team with wins (11) and strikeouts (159). His five-game unbeaten streak (three wins and two no-decisions) was halted in Atlanta after losing 3-2 to the Braves. But still, the right-hander only gave up three runs and struck out seven in 6.1 innings.
Zito would like to get the 2010 season back on track starting with the Cubs this week. He went 4-0 in April, but his last victory came on July 16 against the New York Mets. He has lost three out of the last four. The left-hander is 1-3 against the Cubs in his career, with a mediocre ERA of 4.66.
Matt Cain’s record of 9-9 is misleading. It does not necessarily reflect what the right-hander has done so far this season. In fact, he has the team best ERA (3.06), the most complete games (three) and the most shutouts (two). In his nine losses, the Giants scored less than three runs in eight of those games. He always pitches well against the Cubs (5-2) with ERA of 2.41 and WHIP of 0.93.
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