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Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants preview, Wednesday 7/11, 2:45 CT

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The Cubs go for the series win in San Francisco.

Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

After 89 games in 2016, the Cubs were 54-35. They enter this afternoon’s contest just two games worse than that at 52-37.

Of course, that 54-35 record included a pair of wins after a 5-15 stretch. This year’s team has gone from 42-34 following a five-game losing streak to the 52-37 mark, so they’ve won 10 of their last 13. That’s a nice little stretch they can begin building on in the last four games before the All-Star break.

I’m still not certain why the ASB is a week later than usual this year. Normally, this week would be All-Star week. It will return to the week-earlier position in 2019. What this means is that the Cubs will go into the break with 93 games played, but some teams will have close to 100. There’s still a five-game gap between the clubs with the most games played (94, Tigers, Astros, Marlins, Padres, Giants) and the fewest (89, Cubs, Twins, Mets).

Some of this is by design, with the addition of more off days; some teams have more of those early, others later. Some of it is due to postponements.

Hopefully the schedule-makers do better in 2019.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Giants lineup:

Mike Montgomery, LHP vs. Johnny Cueto, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Montgomery entered the Cubs rotation May 28 and has made eight starts this year.

First five starts: 1.21 ERA, 0.843 WHIP in 29⅔ innings
Last three starts: 5.63 ERA, 1.625 WHIP in 16 innings

Cause for concern? Has he reached the limit of games he can be in the rotation before he needs a break? Or is this just a blip?

Montgomery has four career appearances against the Giants. Two of them have been starts, one while he was with the Mariners in 2015, one as a Cub in 2016. He did have a four-inning, one-hit relief appearance against them May 25, 2017 at Wrigley Field, a save piggybacking on an Eddie Butler start.

Eddie Butler. Remember him?

Anyway, no current Giant has more than five career AB vs. Montgomery, so maybe that’s to his advantage.

Johnny Cueto was supposed to have started last night, but got pushed back to today because he’s just coming off the DL and was shaky in his first start back. The Giants are hoping the extra rest day will help him.

The Cubs last faced Cueto May 23, 2017 at Wrigley Field. They scored four runs in six innings, and Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward all homered off him.

Now that would be nice to repeat this afternoon.

Cueto made five starts this season and was really good, then went on the DL with an elbow strain, missing two months. He’s made one start since returning, July 5 vs. the Cardinals, and the results were not good: five innings, 10 hits, five runs, two home runs. How about another one of those, Johnny?

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and San Francisco markets).

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Giants site McCovey Chronicles. If you do go there to interact with Giants fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. Here’s how it works.

You’ll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads” so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game’s StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.