San Francisco (73-62) at Chicago Cubs (87-48)
When: Sunday, September 4th 2016
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Time: 2:20 ET | TV: TBS
The San Francisco Giants aim to gain a split in their four-game series with the Chicago Cubs on Sunday after winning Saturday’s game 3-2. All three games of this series have been decided by a run and the season series is tied at 3-3. The Giants snapped the Cubs’ nine-game home winning streak Saturday with the victory, increasing their lead atop the NL wild-card standings to 2.5 games over St. Louis. The loss was only the third in the last 12 games for the Cubs, who own the majors’ best record and a 16.5 game cushion over the Cardinals in the NL Central. The Giants are still taking aim at the NL West crown and will start the day just two games back of the Dodgers, who they still play six more times. The Cubs could wrap up their division on their next road trip that takes them to Milwaukee, Houston, and St. Louis. Chicago’s relievers have pitched eight perfect innings during the series.
Pitchers: Giants – Johnny Cueto (14-5, 2.98 ERA) | Cubs – John Lackey (9-7, 3.41)
Johnny Cueto is 0-2 in his last two turns despite pitching well in one of those. He allowed just one run in six innings of work in a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers, then came back and was ripped for four runs in 4.2 innings against Arizona. Cueto is 8-2 on the road this season and the Giants are 11-3 when he starts away from AT&T Park. Cueto is 9-8 with a 3.34 ERA in 23 career starts against the Cubs.
John Lackey will be making his first start since August 14th after landing on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain. He has currently run off five straight quality starts and is on pace for his best strikeout rate of his 14 year career. Lackey is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts against the Giants.
I don’t normally like taking pitchers coming off the DL, but I feel confident in Lackey today. The Cubs have seen Cueto plenty of times when he was with the Reds and I feel they will hit him this afternoon. San Francisco just doesn’t score enough runs to match the Cubs offense.
Pick: Cubs -135