Thursday night will feature a National League matchup of first-place teams as the Chicago Cubs (32-23) take on the San Francisco Giants (34-21). The Giants will host this one at Oracle Park, with first pitch scheduled for 9:45 pm ET.
This will be the first of a four-game series between the two teams.
For the Cubs, they come into this one having just finished a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres. On Wednesday, they beat San Diego 6-1.
In the win, Javier Baez hit his 14th home run of the season while Adbert Alzolay went five innings allowing just one run and striking out seven.
The Giants had the day off on Wednesday after splitting a brief, two-game series with the Los Angeles Angels earlier in the week. In their last game, an 8-1 loss to the Angels, starter Alex Wood was roughed up for seven runs in just 3.2 innings pitched.
San Francisco is the favorite in this one playing at home. They are -126 to win while the Cubs’ moneyline sits at +108. The runline features Chicago +1.5 (-194), and the over/under for total runs is 8.5 (-105).
Chicago will send righty Zach Davies (2-2, 4.65 ERA) to the mound Thursday. Davies was phenomenal in May as he had just a 1.72 ERA in a total of six starts for Chicago.
San Francisco will counter with Anthony DeSclafani (4-2, 3.56 ERA). In his last outing, an 8-5 win over the Dodgers, he went just 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, four walks, and struck out three.
By The Numbers
Offensively, both of these teams are pretty similar. The Giants rank 10th overall averaging 4.76 runs per game. The Cubs rank 12th averaging 4.61 runs.
Both of the teams are in the top ten on defense. The Giants rank fifth in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 3.64 runs per game. The Cubs rank ninth, allowing four runs a game.
Cubs Look To Stay Hot
After going 19-8 in May, the Cubs have started June off hot winning two in a row. Now 9-1 in their last ten games, they will look to stay hot as they travel to San Francisco.
Traveling has been a bit of a concern for Chicago. While they are 21-10 at Wrigley Field, they are just 11-13 on the road.
Offensively, the team has been led by shortstop Javier Baez. With his home run Wednesday, he now leads the team in home runs (14), runs batted in (38), and stolen bases (8). On the year, he is hitting .255/.294/.516.
Several players have had luck against DeSclafani in their careers. Kris Bryant, Joc Pederson, and Anthony Rizzo have all taken him deep twice. Javier Baez and Willson Conteras have homered off of the right once apiece.
Giants Try To Stay Dominant At Home
While the Giants are thanking the Cubs for sweeping the Padres, they also know they don’t want to follow suit with their N.L. West rivals. Luckily for the Giants, they are playing at Oracle Park, where they are 15-8 on the year.
Leading the way offensively for San Francisco is Brandon Crawford. He has gotten off to an electric start as he leads the team in home runs (11), runs batted in (32), and runs scored (29).
While he is hitting well this year, Crawford has not hit well in his career against Davies. In fact, in 12 at bats, he is hitting just .167 with a single run batted in.
While Giants’ players have a hit here or there, Zach Davies hasn’t been roughed up by San Francisco as no Giant has a home run against him.
Taking The Cubs To Win
After getting off to a rough start, many started calling for an early fire sale by the Cubs. With how they have played over the last month, they are all of a sudden buyers.
While the Giants have been exceptional this year, it is hard to ignore the type of hot streak the Cubs are on right now. Especially getting them at +108, the Cubs seem like a strong bet right now.