You did not predict, before the 2021 season began, that the Giants would be in first place in the NL West with 90 wins in mid-September. (Seriously, you didn’t. No one did.)
Plus, this will be “reunion weekend” for three former Cubs: Kris Bryant, Tommy La Stella and José Quintana. I’d expect a tribute video to Bryant to be played for fans at Wrigley before Friday’s game.
For more on how the Giants got to this point, here’s Brady Klopfer, managing editor of our SB Nation Giants site McCovey Chronicles:
The Giants have exceeded preseason expectations as much as any team in recent memory. And an enormous part of that has been the contributions that few would have seen coming when the season started. The Cubs are pretty familiar with those contributions. As you know, they traded one of them, Kris Bryant, to the Giants at the deadline.
Before the season, the Giants were expected to be sellers at deadline, unloading veteran rentals for projects in late July. Instead, the opposite happened, and Bryant has been everything San Francisco wished and hoped for, playing all over the diamond, hitting all across the order, and fitting seamlessly into the organizational philosophy of wait for the right pitch and hit it over the fence.
Less heralded but also familiar to Cubs fans is José Quintana, who recently joined the Giants as a waiver wire claim. Quintana, like so many pitchers the Giants have picked up this year, seemed to magically turn things around when donning the orange and black. He’ll likely pitch at some point this weekend given the team’s injuries in the rotation.
And that’s been the story of the year. From the heralded players like Bryant (and Buster Posey, Kevin Gausman, Brandon Crawford, etc.), to the tweaked and fixed players like Quintana (and Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani, Darin Ruf, etc.) the Giants have found gold at the top of the roster, at the bottom of the roster, everywhere in between, and trickling all the way down to the Minors.
It’s not an equation that anyone predicted would put San Francisco neck-and-neck with the behemoth Dodgers in the NL West, but with less than a month remaining, it’s working.
It has been 750 days since the Giants last played at Wrigley Field. Curiously enough, the same Cubs pitcher who’s opening this series, Kyle Hendricks, started that game August 22, 2019. The Cubs won 1-0. Only three other Cubs who played in that game are still on the Cubs’ active roster — Jason Heyward, Ian Happ and Rowan Wick.
Fun Giants fact:
Elias Sports says this is the the sixth time the Giants have been the first team to 90 wins.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 8, 2021
Probable pitching matchups
Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (14-6, 4.65 ERA, 1.357 WHIP, 4.96 FIP) vs. TBD
Saturday: Zach Davies, RHP (6-10, 5.16 ERA, 1.518 WHIP, 5.31 FIP) vs. Kevin Gausman, RHP (13-5, 2.58 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 2.96 FIP)
Sunday: Justin Steele, LHP (3-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 5.08 FIP) vs. Scott Kazmir, LHP (0-1, 6.43 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 7.17 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Giants market territories)
Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Giants market territories)
Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
This would appear to be a mismatch, and the Giants took three of four from the Cubs in San Francisco in June. On the other hand, those were the pre-selloff Cubs and the current bunch seems to be coming together as a team, and has won two series from the contending Reds in recent weeks.
The Cubs should win at least one of these three and I would not be shocked if they won two.
The Cubs have Monday off, then travel to Philadelphia for a three-game series against the Phillies beginning Tuesday evening.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Giants?