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If you stayed up late enough last night you saw a great game between the Giants and the Cubs as San Francisco fought to stay alive. They were down in the eigth but were able to get through against Aroldis Chapman, the big time closer the Cubs added at the deadline. Then the Cubs were able to strike back in the ninth and that sent the game into extra innings where Joe Panik was able to play the hero in the bottom of the 13th. These two teams are probably tired, but will play again tonight with the Giants season once again on the line.
We’ll also have a game between the Dodgers and Nationals tonight as the Dodgers fight for their postseason life. There has been a slight delay with this line this morning as the Dodgers ponder whether or not to go with Clayton Kershaw in what could be the deciding game. We saw what happened last night with Madison Bumgarner going on shorter rest (he didn’t look sharp and gave up a three-run homer to the opposing pitcher), but when your season is on the line sometimes teams feel better losing with their ace than going with the unknown. The unknown in this case would be rookie Julio Urias who was very good as a 19-year old rookie this year. His 3.39 ERA/3.17 FIP/1.45 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 77 innings show us a pitcher who will be very good in the years to come. They should go with him. Short rest never works out.
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The Cubs/Giants one is a tough one. The last time that John Lackey pitched in the playoffs in San Francisco was the 2014 NLCS when he allowed four runs in six innings of work. That was a slightly different Giants team (Travis Ishikawa had 3 RBIs), but the make up is pretty similar. For his career, he’s only pitched at AT&T Park twice in the regular season and has an ERA of 6.00 in those games. Small sample size applies, but if I am picking a Cubs pitcher to have a rough outing it would be the one who is 37-year old and has struggled in the past here.
The Giants pitching situation is interesting as well. Matt Moore has either been sublime or terrible in all of his Giants starts. In 12 games with the Giants he has three starts allowing 5+ runs and eight starts allowing two runs or less. Trick or treat. The Cubs were the second best team in all of baseball against left handed pitchers this year so if the bad Moore shows up, things could get really bad. For what it’s worth, Matt Moore has never pitched against the Cubs in the regular season.
The Cubs bullpen really struggled yesterday while the Giants bullpen outside of Romo looked sharp. It was only one game, but last night opened the window for the Giants to get back in this series. Chicago wants to close it out here, but only Baez, Contreas and Bryant are hitting for them right now. Anthony Rizzo is 0-13 in the series. The window is definitely open for San Francisco +122 to make this a series.