Here it comes. The meat and potatoes of the season. Starting tonight in Chicago the San Francisco Giants play 26 straight games against teams with records above .500. Every one of the teams is in contention for either the wild card game or a division championship. It’s such a rough stretch of games that LOLKNBR has dubbed it #ScheduHell.
Here’s the way this gauntlet lays out with records as of the beginning of play on Thursday the 6th.
4 @ Cubs 58-48
2 v Houston 60-49
4 v Washington 55-51
3 @ St. Louis 68-39
4 @ Pittsburgh 62-44
3 v Cubs 58-48
3 V St. Louis 68-39
3 @ Dodgers
There are 2 days off sandwiched in there. This coming Monday after the Cubs series and one after the road trip to Pittsburgh and St. Louis. I feel like they catch a break here as the final game in Pittsburgh is an ESPN Sunday night game and the Giants have to fly back west after an east coast night game. Unlike earlier this season when the team twice came home and played the next day, this time they get a day off to freshen their bodies.
There’s a light at the end of this tunnel. After the Dodgers series the Giants have what can be called an easier September/October. The farthest east they have to travel is Denver. The only time the Giants play an opponent that is over .500 is 4 games at home against LA during the final week of the season.
The beginning is in Chicago. I’ve paid a lot of attention to the Cubs this season. As some of you may remember I’m from Chicago originally and going to Wrigley Field is how I grew up watching baseball. You can read about that over at 2outhits.com if you’d like. It’s the genesis of me joining TortureCast in the first place.
I’ve always been a Giants fan but I rooted for the Cubs as well. I wasn’t some jerk that wanted to see the team all my friends root for be a failure every year. That’s just how it worked out. While a lot of people remember 1989 because of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which is a good reason by the way, I remember that year because the Giants beat the Cubs in the NLCS. It gave me bragging rights over all my friends from the age of 10 on. No matter what my Cubs fan friends tell you, the tie-breaker in 1998 did not make up for 1989.
It’s not often that both the Cubs and Giants are good at the same time. At least not recently. So I’m a little extra pumped about this weekend. Here’s some notes I dug up about these two teams.
- The Giants start this series a half-game ahead of the Cubs for the 2nd wild card spot and 2 games behind the Dodgers for the division.
- The Cubs recently won 6 straight games before falling to Pittsburgh last night.
- Four of the six wins came in a sweep at Milwaukee. We know how bad they are, the Giants swept them this year as well.
- The Giants haven’t lost a series at Wrigley Field since 2008.
- Kyle Schwarber is the hot phenom tearing it up for the Cubs right now. In 24 games he’s batting .342 with 5 HR and an OPS at 1.031. Nine of his twenty six hits have gone for extra bases.
- Sunday starter Jake Arrieta has been the stud of the Cubs rotation. He’s 12-6 with a 2.50 ERA and averages just over 1 strikeout per inning. Arrieta’s WHIP is 1.002 and he’s only given up 9 home runs in 147.2 innings.
- This is a homecoming for Angel Pagan, he broke in with the Cubs back in 2006. Don’t expect him to go crashing into the ivy to celebrate.
- Buster Posey likes Wrigley Field. He’s hit .354 with 3 HR’s and 3 2B’s there in 14 career games.
- The Giants are 29-12 in games Hunter Pence has appeared and 30-36 without him this season. It sure is nice to have him back and healthy.
- If you haven’t read it yet, go check out this USA Today article on Matt Duffy. Great to see him getting some national love.
I’m sure I’ll have more through the weekend. Like I said I’m a little excited to watch these 2 teams go at it. It’s either that or I have become afflicted with KelbyMania.