"Pivotal," "crucial," and "must-win," are terms that define everything related to Giants baseball at this point in the season. They hold a slim lead in the NL West and will be going game-for-game with the Padres and even the Rockies for the division lead. The Padres, after losing on Saturday moved a half a game back due to the Giants 9-2 victory over the Brewers. The Rockies sit one-and-a-half games back of the division lead. The Giants will play the Rockies in Colorado after this three-game set with the Cubs.
Jose Guillen is coming off a good game, alongside the seemingly always solid Buster Posey. Guillen busted a grand slam in the first inning of their most recent win against the Brewers, Posey scored three runs with two doubles, while Pat Burrell also added a three-run homer. Those bats will need to be just as effective in Tuesday evening's game with the Cubs, as they'll be sending the recently-sensational Carlos Zambrano to the mound.
Zambrano is 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA over eight starts since being inserted back into the Cubs rotation in August. He boasts a 5-1 record with a 2.83 ERA in ten games against the Giants lifetime and is coming off a great start (and five start winning streak) against the Cardinals.
Matt Cain will be the counter to Zambrano for the Giants, and he's been having himself a pretty good streak as well. Cain has gone 3-0 in his last five starts (all Giants wins), with a 2.97 ERA. Cain's last two starts saw him handily dispatching the rival Dodgers and rival Padres, giving three hits over seven shutout innings in the former, while allowing three runs and striking out eight over eight innings in the latter.
Cain boasts a 5-2 record with a 2.61 ERA in nine games lifetime against the Cubs. In his last meeting with them, he struck out nine in six innings, allowing three runs.
The Cubs are out of the playoff race, but are right in the middle of a six game winning streak and are just coming off an impressive 8-1 road trip. This could be trouble for the Giants, who need a lot of things to work for them tonight.
3 game series vs Cubs @ Wrigley Field
|Wed 09/22 - Jonathan Sanchez vs Randy Wells
|5:05 PM PDT
|Thu 09/23 - Madison Bumgarner vs Ryan Dempster
|4:05 PM PDT