They did meet in a winner-take-all game in 1998, the wild-card tiebreaker game, won by the Cubs 5-3.
This year? If you believe the results of the most recent contests, the Cubs should win this series, as they stopped the Giants offense at Wrigley in early September. On the other hand, the Cubs couldn’t do much in San Francisco.
Here’s a look at the seven games between the two clubs this year.
May 20 at AT&T Park: Cubs 8, Giants 1. Kris Bryant hit a three-run homer to highlight a five-run second inning and Jake Arrieta threw seven innings and allowed just one run, while striking out eight.
In the bottom of the first inning, Jason Heyward raced back on a ball hit to the deepest part of right-center field hit by Denard Span:
Heyward caught the ball, but slid into the wall just next to the 421-foot sign. At first it appeared he’d dislocated his shoulder and could be out for quite a while. Turned out it was just a “contusion” and he missed only three games.
May 21 at AT&T Park: Giants 5, Cubs 3. A stinker by Jon Lester, who allowed five runs in 2⅔ innings. Joe Maddon came and got him after he’d thrown 75 pitches -- a huge number to record eight outs. Kudos to the bullpen on this day: they threw 5⅓ shutout innings, allowing just three singles and a couple of walks, trying to give the offense a chance to come back. Bryant and Dexter Fowler hit solo homers in the eighth and ninth, but this game wasn’t nearly as close as the 5-3 score would hint.
May 22 at AT&T Park: Giants 1, Cubs 0. Tough luck to Kyle Hendricks, who at the time had just 22 total runs scored in his eight starts, resulting in a 2-4 record despite a decent 3.30 ERA. Madison Bumgarner was the story in this game, throwing 7⅔ shutout innings and driving in the only run of the contest with a double.
September 1 at Wrigley Field: Cubs 5, Giants 4. Mike Montgomery started this game and immediately put the Cubs in a 2-0 hole by allowing a homer to Hunter Pence in the first inning. The Cubs came back with three in the bottom of the inning off our old buddy Jeff Samardzija, who threw 50 (!) pitches in the first inning, including a 13-pitch walk worked by Fowler. Shark was lifted after four innings and 87 pitches, and since Aroldis Chapman was not available (having thrown in the three previous games), Carl Edwards Jr. threw a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 ninth for his first career save.
September 2 at Wrigley Field: Cubs 2, Giants 1. Lester was much, much better than he had been in San Francisco. He issued a two-out walk to Buster Posey in the first inning, then retired 18 in a row before Hunter Pence broke up the potential no-no and Lester’s potential shutout with a solo homer with two out in the seventh. Lester wound up with a 103-pitch complete game in which he allowed just three hits and a pair of walks. He was helped out by strong defensive plays from Bryant and Fowler, as well as this nice catch he made himself:
September 3 at Wrigley Field: Giants 3, Cubs 2. MadBum again. The Giants ace threw six solid innings, striking out 10, and an unearned run scored in the first inning on a throwing error by Tommy La Stella proved to be the difference in the game. Anthony Rizzo led off the ninth with a walk and was sacrificed to second... but overran the base, perhaps thinking he could take third, and was tagged out, ending the rally.
September 4 at Wrigley Field: Cubs 3, Giants 2 (13 innings). This was about the time when the Giants began suffering major bullpen meltdowns. They nursed a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth, when Addison Russell led off with a single and was wild-pitched to third. Heyward singled him in to tie the game. The Cubs got out of jams in the 11th and 12th innings. In the 13th, Rizzo led off with a single and advanced to second on a groundout. Russell was intentionally passed, and that brought up Heyward again:
The pure joy on Heyward’s face when he got that hit reminds you of what fun it can be to play this game.
The Cubs outscored the Giants 23-17 overall in the seven games, but all of that difference is accounted for by the 8-1 win in the first game. Five of the other six games were decided by one run, including all four at Wrigley. It could be that kind of series.