The Cubs have been playing some of their best baseball of the year, but they’re going to be up against a very tough test this weekend as the Giants come to town sporting the best record in baseball. Oh, and they’re bringing a former Cubs great with them. Kris Bryant is back at the Friendly Confines for the first time since being traded, so a lot of folks are going to be all up in their feels.
Kyle Hendricks needs to get all up in the feels for his fastball and curve if the Cubs are to have a chance in this one. The would-be staff ace did okay out in San Francisco when these teams met back in June, but he’s given up 28 runs in his last five starts (10.08 ERA) and he has 17 strikeouts to nine walks over that time. Other than a very good start in Cincy, Hendricks has been very bad over the last month.
Rafael Ortega will lead off in center, followed by Frank Schwindel at first, Ian Happ in left, and Willson Contreras behind the plate. Patrick Wisdom is at third, Jason Heyward is in right, David Bote is at second, and Sergio Alcántara is the shortstop.
The Giants are reportedly opting for bullpen games on Friday and Saturday and will be starting righty reliever Dominic Leone to open the series. The 29-year-old has made one previous start out of 44 appearances this season, but that was only a single inning of work so he’s serving as an opener in this one.
Leone has only recorded more than three outs in one appearance this year and has pitched only 40.2 innings total. His sterling 1.55 ERA is offset a bit by a 4.63 xFIP because he walks a lot of batters and hasn’t allowed many homers. He throws a fastball/cutter/slider combo, with the latter standing out as his best pitch, and he has dominated left-handed hitters on the road.
Not that any of this makes much difference since he’s only going to be in there for an inning. If you’re a fan of seeing the Cubs get into the opposing team’s bullpen, this is the game for you. Same for those who like nostalgia. First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 10, 2021